We are Mana Whenua and Tangata Whenua in Māngere. As Mana Whenua we have a long history of being connected with this land. We know that our responsibilities to own our health include the health of the land and all the people of Māngere.
The iwi and hapū who are Mana Whenua in Māngere are: Waiohua, Te Ākitai, Te Ahiwaru.
Te Ākitai Waiohua
The people of Te Ākitai and Te Ahiwaru are descended from the earliest inhabitants in the area. We are part of the Waiohua Confederation which is itself closely associated with the Tainui Waka. These iwi are called Te Kei o te Waka Tainui (the stern of the Tainui canoe).
For more information see the Te Ākitai website: www.teakitai.com
Our spiritual dimension (taha wairua) is our core
We are a spiritual people, placing central importance on our spiritual dimension (taha wairua). We assert that the provision of health services needs to address this. Otherwise the services will not be relevant and or useful to us. We express our spirituality in a variety of different ways. So we expect those who provide services to know these things and to work with us accordingly. We bring our spirituality with us when we seek the support of health professionals and other related agencies. We do not leave it at the door. We invite you to read the declaration of what we stand for.
Retaining our identity as Mana Whenua and Tangata Whenua
We further state that as our children and their children grow and become part of our communities as adults and parents themselves, they will retain their cultural identity. This needs to be acknowledged and respected when health professionals and other related agencies work with us. When cultural acknowledgement occurs in practice it enables us to have faith in the healing process. Cultural acknowledgement deepens the relationships we can have with health professionals and others.
When such an acknowledgement is absent there is a danger, well known to us, of mental health problems arising from assimilation. When this happens, a person loses contact with their base and becomes ‘not from here’, not from there,’ in fact ‘not from anywhere’. This is not a part of our future in Māngere.
Wisdom from the first Māori king
Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Māori king, wrote a proverb to guide us as we work together:
Kotahi te kūwhao o te ngira
E kuhuna ai te miro mā, te miro whero
Me te miro pango.
I muri i a au
Kia mau ki te whakapono
Kia mau ki te tūmanako
Kia mau ki te ture
Engari, ko te mea nui rawa
Ko te aroha, tetahi ki tetahi
(There is but one eye of the needle
Through which the white, the red
And the black threads must pass.
After I have gone,
Hold fast to the faith,
To hope and
To the law of the land
But most importantly
Hold fast to love for one another)