Kia ora koutou katoa,
It was with a great deal of pride that I am able to report on a very successful Te Akatea hui-a-tau. Hosted by Aka Tamaki, this conference brought together a very diverse group of educators at different levels of their educational leadership journey. The overwhelming response to my question to first time attendees, particularly those who are not Māori, asking “How was it?” included “Incredible” “Awesome” “Outstanding” or “Great”. Te Akatea conferences are different, very different. The wairua is different, the messages are different, the ahua is different. New delegates felt so welcome, like they were a part of the conference not a spectator. So many have indicated that they will be back again next year.
We were touched by the passion and energy of our speakers and particularly by our MC Moana Maniapoto who kept things rolling so smoothly despite our changes to the program. That is how we roll though, being flexible and being able to read the room so that it did not become too onerous for our delegates. Pio showed us our human side and our vulnerability to grief and loss for his beloved son Teina. We were privileged to hear from the whānau at Ihumatao who set up SOUL and to hear their undiluted kōrero on what they did and why. We were allowed to relax and enjoy being the majority in our world in an area where we are the experts, Mātauranga Māori. We got to sing and dance and to share the hā. We got to have fun.
A big mihi to Haley and her Aka Tamaki whānau who did all the heavy lifting. To our special business partners who support us through thick and thin. To all our people on the periphery who helped in any capacity and to all the delegates who made the conference so special – ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa.