Iwi and hāpu leaders are often juggling a myriad of crucial kaupapa while managing personal, mahi, study and home commitments.
On any given day, marae members could be engaging with Councils on developments in the region, facilitating marae noho, supporting the community with te reo Māori and tīkanga, working through te tiriti settlements etc.
Even myself, I work full-time at Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust, am a Masters Student and also an active member of my iwi and hapū where I sit on governance boards, do working bees and attend various hui.
The complexities of wearing multiple hats and dedicating the right amount of time and energy to each kaupapa is difficult.
Yet, despite the challenges, this mahi brings a deep sense of satisfaction. It's a connection to one's whakapapa and whānau that goes beyond mere labour. It's fueled by a genuine commitment to the well-being and prosperity of Māori and te Taiao. It's a labour of aroha.
With that all being said, it's crucial for any entity seeking true collaboration with iwi and hapū to approach with sensitivity and support. You must understand the intricacies of our responsibilities and offer assistance when needed. This will foster a more balanced and sustainable partnership.
So, to my fellow hat jugglers - I salute you. Remember, success isn't solely measured by tasks completed but by the peace of mind gained from knowing we've given our best.
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei | Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.
Mauri tū mauri ora,