I have been out and about in the last couple of weeks, mostly in Wellington, so I have neglected my blog. In my last blog I mentioned that I would be visiting a Marae as part of my Tikanga training. What a memorable, informative and enjoyable experience that proved to be. My wife (Angela), a visiting friend from Canada (Mary), Jonathon Gray and the colleagues whom I had met at the Mau Takitahi about two weeks previously, spent a whole day of Marua at the Pukaki Marae in Mangere. This was facilitated in a most generous, expert and enthralling way by Te Aroha Teriaki and Eric Nathan, as was the earlier Tikanga Best Practice Training (Mau Takitahi) held at Ko Awatea.
We started with a powhiri at 9.00am where we received an outstanding welcome and felt privileged to be part of this hallowed ceremony. The hospitality was tangible. I now know how to introduce myself in Maori language and, more importantly, how family, ancestors, connections with the land, heritage and belonging are so very precious in Maori core values and culture, as indeed they should be to us all.
As I am Welsh, I felt it important to say a few words in my native language and I even regaled everyone with my raucous rendering of Mae Hen Wlad Fy Naddau (our National Anthem) which may be familiar to those of you who have heard of the game, rugby. Moreover, not only was I pleased to say grace before each meal in Welsh (and to thank the cooks afterwards) but Angela, Mary and I now know the karakia for blessing food before a meal – and very much more too.
I learned much from the case studies which were discussed in the afternoon, the critical relevance of Maori Quality Standards and how these should be applied and exploited fully in our day-to-day professional practice. It was a day of joyous learning, at times solemnity and veneration, a moving experience and strong camaraderie. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I recommend this experience, knowledge and training to all staff at Counties Manukau District Health Board who have not yet availed themselves of it.
The experience and knowledge I gained helped me very considerably when I was more recently invited to speak to the Maori General Practice Faculty of the RNZCGP, which I also greatly enjoyed.
Furthermore, I now possess a valued certificate for completion of Tikanga Best Practice Training, which I can now put on the wall.