Knowing where you come from, knowing where you are going

Norma Sturley, Ngāti Whakaue koeke, talks about how important it is to know about stories from the past in helping to build confidence and an understanding about being Māori in the world today.

Key idea

Rangatahi need to develop knowledge about the past, to build confidence about their place in the world.

Professional learning conversations

  1. Discuss what Māori history means to you. Is there a difference between New Zealand history and Māori history?

  2. How can rangatahi learn about the past so that it is relevant for them today?

  3. Discuss with your colleagues the links you can make to national and international themes and events through exploring local history.

Māori history is an important kaupapa to me. I've always grown up knowing that to know where I'm going to, I have to know where I come from. And I suppose in terms of my mahi on this marae, I stand to karanga on this marae, I stand to karanga knowing that my kuia and my grandmother, my parents, my mother, stood on this marae to karanga and it gives me the confidence to do the mahi that they did.

So knowing the history I'm a firm advocate of knowing about my tūpuna. I love to read the stories, I love to tell the stories and it gives me the confidence to stand here in the Ngāti Whakaue knowing that, knowing where I have come from, knowing where I'm going to go to in terms of, I guess, the past.

My work within the Iwi, and I do quite a bit in terms of the mahi on the marae. It helps me to stand with confidence knowing, I guess, my history is a part of my nature. How I present myself to the people, to the Iwi, I guess is, comes from the nature of the tupuna that has been handed down to me. It means a lot, it means everything, it means that my grandchildren, my children, they inherit what our tūpana and what our ancestors have done.

I think it's important to teach Māori history to our rangatahi because it gives them, once having learnt their history, gives them confidence. I think our young people need that in this day and age, it gives them confidence because they know where they've come from and it enables them to stand empowered to know where they are going to in terms of being Māori in this day and age.