Last July in Auckland there was a highly successful Leadership Conference, the first of its kind to be held there for some years, which produced a great deal of interesting and energetic discussion concerning the Maori population of Auckland. Perhaps the clearest sign of the value of the meeting, and the importance of the matters discussed is that on the last day one of the subjects debated with most vigour was: how soon would Auckland be able to have another conference along the same lines? There is so much to work out, and so many people interested in the questions involved.
After the opening ceremonies on the first evening the guest speaker. Mr C. M. Bennett, Assistant Secretary for Maori Affairs, who until recently was New Zealand's High Commissioner to Malaya, spoke on the place of Malaya, and Malaysia, in the modern world.
After the ceremonial welcome to Mr C. M. Bennett, Assistant Secretary for Maori Affairs, Adult Education Organiser Mr Koro Dewes (on floor) gets a dig from three of his fellow participants, Messrs Huta, D. Hansen, and B. Nepia.
Photography by Ans Westra
Mr Timi Paoro (Jim Paul), a leader of the Ngati Whatua people, speaking at the opening.
During the conference four speakers read specially prepared papers dealing with different aspects of Maori life in Auckland; after each paper had been given the delegates divided into groups to discuss what had been said, later bringing forward their conclusions and resolutions at a final plenary session.
All of the speakers had much of interest to say. One of the papers, ‘Maori Children in Auckland Schools’ given by Mr Roger Oppenheim, is published in a slightly shortened form on page 12 of this issue of ‘Te Ao Hou’; we only wish that we had the space to publish the other papers also.
An Inescapable Question
Mr Harry Dansey's paper, ‘Being a Maori in Auckland’ was an eloquent general discussion of the situation in which the 20,000 Auckland Maoris find themselves. After speaking of the antiquity of Maori associations with Auckland—‘one of the ancient meeting places … one of the highroads of Maori history’, he discussed some of the implications, both material and spiritual, of the Maori migration to the city. In particular he spoke of the question which, he suggested, confronted city Maoris in an especially inescapable form: ‘whether to be a Maori with all its cultural implications, whether to be what is in effect a brown Pakeha, or whether to strike a balance between the two’.
Mr W. Karaka gave an interesting discussion of the place of Maoris in trade unions. He emphasised that the role of the Maori worker in a trade union was in no way different from that of any other worker, and that any differences—such as the fact that it is rare to see a Maori in trade union leadership—are of Maoris' own making. He also discussed problems in the Pukekohe district, saying that in the opinion of the Auckland Labourers' Union the Maori workers in the market gardens there are being exploited.
Mr A. Awatere, in a paper on ‘Maori Workers in Auckland’, provided a great deal of information on the new opportunities and responsibilities experienced by Maoris coming to live in the city, and outlined the many different institutions and organisations which are working to assist them to find the most suitable employment in this new environment.
Mr Patrick Tapa has won an annual award for the best Maori apprentice motor mechanic in the Wanganui district.
Patrick is the son of Mr and Mrs J. Tapa of Wanganui. This is the second time that he has won the award.
Some of the Maori pupils at the School for the Deaf in Kelston, Auckland, are ‘breaking their hearts’ because of a lack of letters from home and someone to take an interest in them.
This was said at the Maori Leadership Conference held in Auckland recently.
There are about 50 Maoris at the school—more than half the total pupils. Many of them are from country districts. The conference urged Maori families in Auckland to fill the gap by taking one or two of the children into their homes at weekends.
Members of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board appointed by the Governor-General for three years have recently been announced.
They are: Hepi Hoani Te Heuheu, Te Takinga Arthur Grace, Robert Reremai Keepa, Turau Te Tomo, John Takakopiri Asher. Harry Rihia, Hiriweteri Mariu, Paterika Hura, Huriwaha Maniapoto and Rongomai Nana Te Heuheu.