These are the values I strive to follow and I thank those Aunties and Uncles from Hongoeka who helped me discover these. Also I would like to thank Hohepa Patea and Trevor Moeke who during my time consulting onsite at the New Zealand Treasury, helped me to understand why I think they way I do and how to approach my thoughts in a way that kept me personally accountable and ‘on track’.
One of the fundamental principles in Māori culture, manaakitanga is the enactment of mana-enhancing behaviour towards others. It is a measurement of people’s ability to extend kindness and generosity. The concept of manaakitanga includes understanding tapu sacredness and mana dignity. In our relationships, we are acutely aware of our mana and the mana of others.
The people are our wealth. Whanaungatanga is about being part of a larger whole. Māori are related to all living things and thus express whanaungatanga with their surroundings. Whanaungatanga is about knowing you are not alone, but that you have a wider set of connections that provide support, assistance, nurturing, guidance and direction when needed. Understanding of roles and responsibilities are also part of whanaungatanga. Whanaungatanga embodies the ambitions of collectivism. Interdependence with each other rather than independence is the goal.
Rangatiratanga describes the attributes of a rangatira leader and how these are given expression through humility, diplomacy, generosity, resilience and empowerment. We understand the importance of practicing what you preach, walking the talk, following through on commitments made, integrity and honesty.
Focused on developing and maintaining a unity of purpose and direction and avoiding approaches and decisions that lead to division and disharmony. A commitment through oneness of mind and action to achieving its vision emulates the practice of Kotahitanga. All are encouraged to make their contribution, to have their say. It is the consensus of the collective that determines what is best for the group.
Wairuatanga is about understanding and believing that there is a spiritual existence in addition to the physical. The physical world is represented by Te Ao Mārama which is surrounded by and connected to the spiritual realm. We represent these realms within us as we are intimately connected spiritually to our environment. The wairua of a person requires nourishment and the forms of nourishment differ among people. Wairuatanga refers to how we feel rather than how we think. Wairuatanga is about understanding your divine self.
Kaitiakitanga can be described as guardianship, protection or preservation. Māori traditionally believe there is a deep kinship between humans and the natural world. People are not superior to the natural order; they are part of it. All life is connected and to understand the world, one must understand the connections and relationships within it. Kaitiakitanga is a vehicle for rediscovering and applying these ideas.
Getting it right
It is sometimes hard to really understand if your actions are for the right reason, and do they keep to your values?
So here is a checklist a wise friend provided me which I like to think through before taking any action, especially on those big decisions in life…
Is my thinking, actions, reactions really meeting my values? are they ideal, are they …
- Tika – doing what is right
- Aroha – showing empathy and genuine concern
- Pono – have integrity and trustworthiness
- Hono – have the connection and collaboration
- Tangata – have the value and benefit to others (all)