This week Aotearoa has borne witness to the significant uprising for the protection of sacred lands and indeed to the specific protection of the lands of Ihumātao. This is a call to halt any construction on these lands at this time and to return the land to Māori. We of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae stand in solidarity!
Just two weeks ago we hosted a group from the University of Hawai’i Mānoa lead by Professor Noe Goodyear-Ka’opua, who only days after her return to Hawai’i was seen chained to the cattle stop on Mauna Kea as part of the collective efforts to halt the construction of a thirty metre telescope on their sacred lands. We of Hoani Waititi stand in solidarity!
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae established in 1985, was borne through the considerable and concerted effort for Māori language revitalisation and reclamation. As board member Associate Professor Mera Penehira states:
“We know and understand the relationship between reo reclamation and land reclamation. They go together! We are a kura borne of political struggle for the retention of our language, we know the importance of solidatiry for all levels of reclamation, particularly land reclamation!”
Accordingly and with the blessing of whānau, the kura has committed to sending a vanload presence of faculty and students to join every day of the peaceful occupation at Ihumātao.
As the kura principal Mr Hare Rua says:
“It is imperative now that we unite as Native and Indigenous peoples to ensure the protection of our lands and waterways. Right now, and right here, it is Ihumātao, and their grievance with the council and with the crown! We call for solidarity in Aotearoa at this time to protect this scared site from the same commercial destruction other scared sites across the Pacific and beyond have and are facing.”
The students and staff of Hoani Waititi first (officially) visited Ihumātao on Thursday this week. They had prepared for the visit in no uncertain terms, having composed a haka that speaks to the current occupations of both Ihumātao and Mauna Kea, which was performed on the day. Board chairperson Mr Mahanga Pihama affirms:
“Our kura recognises the whakapapa relationships we have with Hawai’i. We teach and live this within our whānau and with our students. Hosting our Mauna Kea relations, and being present at Ihumātao, is just the embodiment of our curriculum, Te Aho Matua. Our haka reflects this!”
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae joins all kura and schools supporting the efforts of land reclamation at Ihumātao. They further call for this to be endorsed by the wider education sector. As Mera Penehira states,
“Māori and other Native or Indigenous academics need to step up and ‘be the transformative praxis’ we write about! It’s not enough to just write about land reclamation. We need to be there and do it!”