Dec. 3, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
This week we acknowledge World Disability Day by taking a closer look at how we as Māori can be more inclusive of our mana whaikaha whānau.
Ike Rakena was injured in a rugby league accident and since then has been on a journey of acceptance and urges our Māori communities to be more inclusive of mana whaikaha.
“I became disabled after an accident breaking my neck playing league in 1995, it was a really hard adjustment being accepted. I went through denial and depression but once I came into our community I saw that those of similar disabilities focused on the things they could do and 25 years later that has presented a lot of opportunities.
“For a lot of Māori, our barriers are misunderstanding, the not knowing and not being included in our marae hui and kaupapa. How do we extend out our voice when it's being pushed to the side more than anything? How do we inform our whānau to look upon us not as tangata hau but as whānau who are looking to find ourselves and contribute to our hui.”
Recencia Kaka for CSS Disability also agreed and says “we as leaders need to step up and that’s my wero, what are we doing to ensure our whānau are in housing, that their marae is accessible, that their culture is accessible to them, not as tokenistic but as a valued role so they are valued in their whānau, hapu and iwi.”