Representatives of the National Commission attended the Iwi Chairs Forum in Whakatane on 3 August, hosted by Ngati Awa at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae.
Thanks to an introduction facilitated by Social Sciences Commissioner Materoa Dodd, Chair Robyn Baker and Culture Commissioner Dr Arapata Hakiwai were invited to profile UNESCO and share the current priorities and work programme of the National Commission at the Forum.
The Forum is a platform for sharing knowledge and information between the tangata whenua of Aotearoa, with hui four times a year hosted at different marae throughout the country. The primary focus is for participants to educate one another about what they are doing, how they are doing it and how they can best support one another.
The Forum regularly invites Crown representatives, Members of Parliament and stakeholder and community groups to present at hui on projects and issues that concern iwi.
“We were very grateful for the opportunity to highlight our activities and there was considerable interest in various aspects of our work programme,” says Robyn.
“We discovered plenty of mutual interests, so this was a chance to highlight areas for possible engagement in the future.”
Youth Reference Group member Teina Wells-Smith was also able to contribute a UNESCO perspective as an attendee of the Nga Rangatahi A Iwi (NRAI) forum, a special workshop connected to the Iwi Chairs Forum for young Māori representatives of their iwi.
The next Iwi Chairs Forum is to take place in Wellington at Te Papa in November 2017.
Photo: (from left) Robyn Baker, Materoa Dodd, Teina Wells-Smith