January 01, 2022
Ahi kaa built on strong embers
A Te Tairawhiti kaumatua feels his new honour is for all pakeke who keep the home fires burning.
Victor Walker from Tolaga Bay has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honour’s list.
His activities include facilitating hui and marae-based wananga programmes in Uawa since 1985, chairing Te Aitanga a Hauiti Centre of Excellence Trust which has designed and implemented learning pathways for iwi, hapu, marae and schools, chaired haka groups and composed songs based on tradition and history, and worked to ensure the survival and revitalisation of te reo Maori.
He says when the time came for his generation to be at the marae there was a sense of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga istilled by the elders.
“Our elders taught us to manaaki our visitors and to shower them with everything we had. It was with a sense of honour and humility,” he says.
Mr Walker says Ūawa and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, which comprises over fifty hapu from Te Whānau-a-Te Aotawarirangi in Tokomaru Bay to Ngāti Oneone in Gisborne, have developed a shared strategic vision so that they can move forward together.
He says the recognition “is an honour for our people and those who came before us, our kaumātua and pakeke who helped us retain our reo and tikanga:.