This email is to update you all of developments with Te Whaainga Wahine since the Hauraki hui and our apologies for being late with this report back. It seemed that the hui was over, there was a flurry of activity on facebook, wahine groups establishing and resurfacing and then Christmas and the Tauiwi New Year took over. That aside, it is quite amazing that in less than 2 months so much has happened – if these last few weeks set the pace for Te Whaainga Wahine in the future then we need to prepare well for what is on the horizon and beyond.
Central Coordination, Communication & Support
Because of the flurry of activity after the Hauraki hui, Denise in conversation with some of our tuakana held a conference call on 13 Dec 2010. In discussion we agreed that:
1. Te Whaainga Wahine is a loosely organised, organic network of wahine Maori, that is gathering momentum and needs to be supported to grow.
2. each roopu who aspires to the kaupapa of Te Whaainga Wahine is independent and will organise and operate in ways which are most appropriate for them
3. we will be connected through our kaupapa and a common set of principles. A first draft of those principles where developed by some or our wahine at the Hauraki hui. Those principles need further work and will no doubt be part of our conversations at the next hui in Feb
4. wahine are also asking for support, guidance and mentoring from those who have years of experience in dealing with colonisation, neo-colonisation and advocating for Tino Rangatiratanga. The term wahine are using for those who are in this category is tuakana, which goes without saying that those who don’t are teina
5. there was an immediate need for central coordination to respond to the activity that has followed the Hauraki hui, so we can move with the flow of Te Whaainga and responsd to calls from wahine for support, guidance, comment and action as they arise. In this context, we decided to form a Roopu Whakahaere. The wahine who make up this roopu are essentially those who can volunteer some of their time to this mahi. They are; Stephanie Harawira, Marama Davidson and Tracy-Lee Rapia from Tamaki, Denise Messiter and Irene Kereama-Royal from Hauraki, Tere Harrison from Poneke, who also suggested that Te Ao Pritchard, from Papaioea be invited to be participate. The main functions this roopu will undertake are:
• Seed Funding
• Regional Coordination
• Contacts Database
• Email, Facebook & Blogspot Admin
• National Hui Coordination
• Regional Roopu Support
• Information Dissemination
• Media Management
In terms of Te Whaainga being a loosely organised network, our network looks like this:
1. National network is Te Whaainga Wahine
2. Local and regional groups
3. Roopu Whakahaere
4. Guiding the Roopu Whakahaere and Te Whaainga Wahine are our tuakana
Email, Facebook, Blogspot and Webpage
Within 24 hours of the hui in Hauraki finishing, an email address and blogspot had been set up by Tere Harrison. And within 48 hours Stephanie Harawira had set up a facebook page and website. Absolutey amasing insight and mahi Tere and Stephanie.
For those of us who have not yet checked out the blogspot you can do that by going to www.whaingawahine.blogspot.com and the website address is http://www.wix.com/stephanieharawira/te-whainga-wahine-2010.
We have two email addresses:
1. firstname.lastname@example.org is linked to our facebook page
2. email@example.com is linked to the blogspot
In less than 2 months new ropu have established and are beginning to hui and network within their regions. They are: Taitokerau Wahine, Ngati Hau Wahine, Tainui Waka, Ngati Maniapoto Wahine, Kirikiriroa Wahine. The existing groups are: Poneke Wahine, Te Whaainga Wahine o Hauraki, Te Wharepora Hou (Tamaki), Kahungunu Wahine and Papaioea Wahine. That’s 9 regional roopu and at least another 4 establishing (EBOP, Tuhoe, Rotorua & Taranaki). Feedback from these groups has been astounding in that they have come together out of their own initiative, provided a forum for wahine to meet and rallied to hui and network and join the call from Te Whaainga Wahine to regroup, reconnect and revitalise those things of importance to us as Wahine Maori.
Development of Objectives, Guiding Principles & Support Infrastructure
From the korero coming in from facebook, email and regional hui, we are starting to see some common threads of whakaaro which we will capture into draft objectives, principles, strategies and plans for workshopping at the Feb Hui. Some of that korero includes:
1. Te Whaainga Wahine as a national network for Maori women is providing a new ‘space’ for wahine around the motu through loosely convened regional roopu (easily accessed) to share and network on matters of relevance and importance to them. Unstructured organisation at both the national and regional levels allows wahine to engage more freely and openly without boundaries.
2. There is a need to maintain the integrity of Te Whaainga Wahine as a collective voice for wahine; within a short time we have gained political integrity and resonated with wahine Maori from a diverse range of backgrounds, generations and tribal affiliations.
3. There is a need to develop further the principles that were presented at the Hauraki hui and confirm these at the next TWW hui in Feb
4. There is a need for mentoring, moral support and guidance between those who have travelled this journey for a long time and those who are more recently involved. The Tuakana Teina relationship is important and is a unique form of leadership that is missing in our tribal organisations. We need to have access to our Tuakana leadership and we need to support and mentor new leaders with their guidance.
5. Regional Roopu need support from Tuakana and the roopu whakahaere to establish and to access the information about TWW kaupapa, whakapapa and whaainga.
Roopu Establishment & RAM Support
Irene and I went to Tamaki on 16th Dec to tautoko a Te Wharepora Hou hui. Whaea Titiwhai came to the hui and gave her tautoko to Te Whaainga Wahine and said she hasn’t been so excited since Nga Tama Toa and that it was comforting to see wahine starting to organise again. We have also been asked to attend the first hui of Kirikiriroa Wahine to talk about the kaupapa and provide guidance for their establishment. There is also the grandmothers spirit walk that Deidre is organising which needs our support. We are taking her lead on this as well as ensuring any regional RAM's (Random Acts of Mana Wahine) are supported.
Recent Media Releases
Media statements on the Taku Tai Moana Bill and one critiquing the gender equality report released last month by the Ministry of Womens Affairs have been released. Te Wharepora Hou has released several press statements including one about the proposed constitutional review process.
Developing the Kaupapa of TWW
We believe the kaupapa of TWW is being created and developed by wahine as they continue to interact and engage with each other on facebook and in their hui, which probably means it isn't waiting for the next hui to be convened in order to move forward and develop further. We believe we must move with the momentum and actively respond to calls for support, guidance, comment and action. If you check the FB info page you will see the kaupapa has been forming through a myriad of issues and dialogue since the Hauraki Hui so it will be a matter of gauging where we are up to with that by Feb to ensure the hui in Papaioea is as responsive to the movement as the mahi in between is. We will support the programme to provide enough flexibility to canvass the topical issues of that time.
We recognise that some seed funding, which is not dependent on any government scheme or service. would assist with the establishment of Te Whaainga Wahine and would help achieve some of its plans for the future. As things seem to be happening with Te Whaainga Wahine, an opportunity has opened up for us to consider applying for seed funding from an an International Humanitarian Projects Fund. Te Roopu Whakahaere and some of our tuakana will meet with representatives of the fund on Jan 18th and will report back on the outcome of that meeting at the next national hui of Te Whaainga Wahine in February.
Prior to Christmas there was a lengthy facebook message discussion about registering a wahine Maori NGO with the UN – it was unclear whether Te Whaainga Wahine was being asked to be that representative voice. Essentially our repsonse to this is that Te Whaainga doesn’t fit the criteria to be registered as an NGO with the UN. We will we tautoko other wahine organisations if they wanted to go down that track.
Next National Hui of Te Whaainga Wahine
The next national hui of Te Whaainga Wahine is in Papaioea from Fri Feb 25th to Sun Feb 27th and is being hosted by wahine from Papaioea. The hui will be at the marae at Massey. More details will be available from Papaioea shortly and will posted on our blogspot, FB and emailed out to those on our mailing list.
Denise & Irene