Communication Methods for Our People

May 26, 2022, 5:12 p.m.

Moringai/Moringaehe Noho Whenua Hui, Photo Supplied: Rongo Bentson

 

Mike Te Wake (Pou Aharau, Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa) spoke to Te Hiku Radio about the importance of connectivity using technology as well as face to face communication. With our environment adapting to the effects of the pandemic over the last two years, we have seen innovative solutions put in place to serve the need for continued connectivity when faced with barriers. One example is the use of the video conferencing tool Zoom to break down communication barriers during the pandemic.

“Ko zoomngia ngā hui katoa ināianei, zoom ki kō, zoom mai, zoom atu - this is by Uncle Matiu Kingi” said Te Wake with a chuckle.

Tikanga and mātauranga Māori remain the core of our actions as Māori, so kaupapa continued electronically during the pandemic. Our elders were forced to learn new tricks to stay in contact with each other. Te Wake told Te Hiku Media's Haukāinga team that;

"We need to help our kaumātua and kuia adapt to this new way of talking. You have to say things that they'll understand like - hey let's skype your moko in Australia. And we can even help them put the scanner on their phones."

Legislation was passed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. The COVID-19 Response Act allows governance officers, administrators and beneficiaries to attend hui such as annual general meetings electronically. It also accepted voting within such forums, electronically. This is a big shift in contrast to the staunch criteria once set by our tūpuna within marae constitutions where a quorum was by physical presence only.

Because our kaumātua and kuia were missing important hui during the pandemic as well as their usual coffee with friends and family, we saw an increase in worry, they became less cheerful and they could not give their input into important discussions if they could not connect electronically. The overall well-being of our elders was challenged during the pandemic because they were not allowed to practice these things or were highly restricted in their ability to do so. They could not communicate face to face because it was unsafe to do so.

Mere Henare spoke to Te Mahara Tamehana about her role in keeping elders connected using technology during lockdown

 

Te Hiku Media's Haukāinga team spoke to Mere Henare (Marae Committee Member, Trustee, St Joseph's Church) about her role in maintaining connectivity between generations and across different kaupapa during lockdown; 

“The tikanga doesn’t change, it doesn’t matter what platform, what technology we use, even today. Even if we were to meet face to face, the process is to harirū, well at the moment we’re not encouraging that, especially for our kuia and kaumatua” stated Henare.

Alongside resilience, the pandemic taught us how to manage our social lives in a different world. Our elders were forced into learning about technology and the younger generations helped them.

As we begin to ease on COVID-19 restrictions and make progress with a kete full of new knowledge, we can begin to reintroduce face to face hui at fuller capacities. Kura Reo and Kura Wānanga ran one with record numbers in attendance since the ease of restrictions and it is likely to grow from here.

The COVID-19 Response Act has been further extended by an Order in Council by the Governor-General until 30 October 2022 states the website of Morrison Kent Lawyers who have over 90 years of legal experience in community law, whenua Māori and more. The Government also recently announced that Aotearoa will remain in the Orange Traffic Light setting for two more weeks to account for the rise in sicknesses associated with the colder months currently upon us. This reflects a transition in processes between the use of predominantly technology focussed methods, into face to face again.

 

Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ki te kāpuia e kore e whati

Alone we can be broken, together we are invincible

Kingi Tāwhiao

 

We are transitioning into the world we were once used to, showing up and acknowledging each other face to face once again. Holding tight to our values in a heavily restricted environment, during the pandemic, forced us to think of new ways to express ourselves and maintain tikanga across all age groups. Right now, we are in a time where, even our elders, are equipped to utilise both methods of communication to get their messages across more effectively and powerfully to reach an extended audience.


 

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