Our people were at Waitangi representing Oranga Tamariki and sharing aroha as thousands of people gathered for our national day.
Leading the taki
Isaiah Apiata, our Youth Justice Coordinator in Whangārei was “honoured” to lead the taki (challenge) at the pōwhiri to welcome the Prime Minister and other guests. Isaiah was asked to do this as he is affiliated with local iwi Ngāti Kawa and Ngāti Rahiri, and because of his skill and experience in te ao Māori. ”I was proud to represent my iwi and Oranga Tamariki at the pōwhiri whilst also supporting the Waitangi National Trust and Ngāpuhi.”
Aroha Tahere, Kaikohe Site Manager, helped organise our stall at the treaty grounds alongside other staff in Te Tai Tokerau, and ensured we were promoting our positive message 'tamariki first', informing whānau, and building relationships with other organisations.
Tamariki and whānau were in high spirits at the treaty grounds as we painted tā moko and gave out our bags and sunblock and a range of other gifts including colouring pencils and bubbles. Minister for Children, Tracey Martin also visited the space and engaged with tamariki and whānau alongside our staff.
A heart-warming interview
Aroha spoke from the heart when she was interviewed live by Radio New Zealand at the upper treaty grounds. When asked, ‘What is working well to help get our young people to a better place in life?’ she responded “We are fortunate enough to have strong relationships with our iwi partners.”
“Some examples include local mentoring programmes and local marae programmes where we encourage mokopuna Māori to attend so they can learn about whakapapa and the great chiefs they descend from ... It is really crucial that mokopuna learn where they come from. I have a whakapapa, you have a whakapapa. It gives them a sense of pride.”