The survival of a traditional collective in the contemporary setting of the individual.
We grow up nurtured and developed by the mentality that the things we do and what we achieve will affect the collective, our whanau, our hapu and our iwi. For those of raised in whanau, hapu and iwi settings, as an “iwi mokopuna” we feel the need to achieve for the greater good of all.
What happens though when we get to University or into the workplace and the collective mentality is shunned and the individual approach, as a Western model, is shoved in front of us? Things become about “me”, “mine” and “I”. The only one that will get you through University will be yourself. All things that came before are out the window as foreign concepts of individualism, independence and conformity are the “norm” in a setting where achievement is based on how quickly you get out the doors, or rather, graduate.
This paper is developed in two parts. First it will explore the challenges to the collectives that are whanau, hapu and iwi in their need to engage with their young people. As our population becomes younger, 70% of the Māori population is aged under 34 years of age (Statistics New Zealand, 2001 Census). The challenge to our current tribal leadership, those aged over 60, will be how they engage with their young people to ensure the survival of our taonga, our reo, our whakapapa, our korero, our hitori, our waiata – our culture. All the things that make us “Māori”, will only be as good as those who learn them and are able to pass them on, in the tradition of our tipuna.
Alison Taylor (incoming Head of Youth Affairs 23/09/04 MSD Press Release) says, “…youth development is key to the whole population’s wellbeing…If you get it right for young people then you get it right for future populations”.
Second, this paper will explore the place of “young” people in Māori contemporary society in terms of where their voice is being heard, by whom and what outcomes follow. Te Puni Kōkiri and the Labour government talked about ‘Closing the Gaps’ between Māori and non-Māori but young Māori are talking about closing the gaps between themselves and those in the dominant group, tribal leaders over 60.