Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa,
Ko au te awa,
Ko te awa ko au.
The mokopuna in our kaupapa are the future of our reo. Like every mokopuna in our kaupapa, we say our pepeha and mihi to our whānau. It takes confidence and courage for our mokopuna to speak, and, when they do, it inspires others to follow their lead. The whānau have begun to follow that lead in earnest.
As acting CEO, I have had to take the lead within our kaupapa over the past 2 years. Some may say it is an unenviable task, but for me it was an easy decision. Kōhanga reo is not a 9-5 job. Rather it is your life’s work, a work of passion, a work that follows in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, those, who, without their integrity and passion, Kōhanga reo would never have become the kaupapa that it has. After 25 years, I am no less passionate about the kaupapa than when I first started in the movement.
I have always been amazed at how dedicated our kaimahi and whānau are. One of my big jobs as acting CEO was the co-ordination of the reviews. We had 3 external, as well as 2 internal reviews, all of which determined that there was no fraudulent or criminal activity within the movement. That said, we know we have our work cut out for us to improve our systems and processes.
For the last 2 1/2yrs, the finance team and the tari kaimahi have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that these processes were completed to a high standard. One review was due on the eve of a hui taumata. I cannot thank our kaimahi enough for the long hours, and for doing not only what was required when needed, but, often going above and beyond those requirements to ensure that the kaupapa and its integrity was upheld. Tēnā rawa atu koutou.
During my time I was able to attend various Korowaitanga. I relished the opportunity to be with whānau and share in their success, a success shared with the wider hapū, iwi, and, more importantly, the mokopuna. If it was not for whānau, there would be no kaupapa.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the board on a great appointment. Our kaupapa deserves the best, and Kararaina Cribb certainly fits the bill. A former kaupapa kaimahi, she has carved an impressive career through the Ministry of Education and certainly has the pedigree to be an effective leader for the kaupapa. I intend to give her my full support.
Rest assured, I will continue onwards and forward to where the need is greatest. The kaupapa has never been about one person and we all need to get in and support in any way we can. Celebrate the diversity amongst the whānau, and continue to share our aroha with the mokopuna. Nō reira e aku rangatira, ka nui aku kōrero i kōnei, tēnā koutou mō ō koutou āwhina, tautoko hoki mai i a au. Me pēnei te kōrero mō tātou katoa, ko au te Kōhanga, ko te kōhanga ko au. Kia ora!
GM Corporate Services
Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.