Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru.


By Huhana Watene (Tumu Arataki, Te Hautū Kahurangi)

“We cannot exist in isolation, nor work alone as leaders – we must lead collaboratively”

Tena koutou katoa e te whānau, the above quote epitomises the practice of Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru. He demonstrated and guided members of our union to embrace working together.

It is an absolute honour to share my thoughts and experiences relating to cultural leader Tauheke Huirangi Waikerepuru for firstly Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa | Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) and then Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU).

Huirangi shared his wisdom and spiritual guidance selflessly and empowered those around him. There are countless examples of his leadership, but I wish to share one that impacted significantly on those in our union.

In 2008, Te Uepū ASTE, held its final Hui-ā-Tau in Hokitika. And it was at this hui, that Huirangi uplifted our taonga “Te Maioha o Arahura” – Greetings from Arahura. It had been left on the ground waiting for the rightful recipient and Huirangi was that person.

After his passing our taonga has truly confirmed its status – the mauri of our union – and is unveiled at all National Council hui, Te Uepū Hui-ā-Motu, and annually at TEU’s National Conference.

His amazing leadership style promoted inclusivity and mana enhancing practices he mihi arohanunui kia koe e te rangatira.

The final quote epitomises his whakaaro regarding the importance of te reo and the mana attached to one’s personal growth through wisdom of the word.

“I want everyone in NZ to have the same opportunity I had – of speaking Māori and English equally well”

No reira e te rangatira moe mai ki Pōhutukawa ki te taha o rātou mā kua whetūrangitia.