Matariki--a time for reflection and renewal.
Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Maoris (Social aspects)
Nursing associations (Rites, ceremonies and celebrations)
Nursing associations (Social aspects)
Author: Annals, Geoff
Pub Date: 07/01/2012
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: July, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 6
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Organization: Organization: New Zealand Nurses Organisation; New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 298171468
Full Text: Matariki are the guardian eyes that watch over this land of Aotearoa and its people. Matariki enlightens us with vision that has seen and knows the past, looks into and promises the future, and watches over us now, as we seek to care for one another. Matariki is about people.

Matariki has grown in significance as an NZNO celebration, since its inauguration in 2004, and has become an annual highlight in our organisational calendar. Our growing appreciation for the celebration of Matariki mirrors that of wider society and reflects a growing appreciation for te Ao Maori. Many communities and organisations held Matariki celebrations and festivals around the motu this year. Once largely unknown by non-Maori, Matariki is now well recognised by Maori and non-Maori. NZNO celebrated Matariki 2012 with a hakari in the Banquet Hall of Parliament last month. (See news focus, p11.)

The star cluster whose rising calls in the season of Matariki is significant in many cultures and is known by various names--Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, Subaru. This universality links us with all peoples of the world. Its first appearance in the dawn sky of Aotearoa in late May, and the significance of Matariki to Maori marks us out as unique among the peoples of the world.

The promise of partnership

We are unique in place, in heritage, in culture and in partnership. Matariki is a reminder to all of us in Aotearoa of the promise of the partnership between tangata whenua and the people of te Tiriti. The pathway of that partnership is not always smooth and we celebrate Matariki for its promise and the light it brings to guide our steps.

Earlier this year, NZNO members voted to implement a new model of governance, a constitution for NZNO. A key attribute of this model is its attempt to better reflect our aspirations for a Tiriti-based partnership. As we begin the transition to the new model, it is appropriate we pay tribute to our past structures and those who have served in governance roles in those structures.

Our last governance model was put in place when NZNO formed from the amalgamation of the NZNU and the NZNA in 1993. Amalgamation was a strategic response by both organisations to the hostile industrial environment shaped by the 1991 Employment Contracts Act. All unions were seriously affected and many folded. NZNU president Margaret Favell, and staff, led by Steph Breen, and NZNA president Helen MacKenzie, and staff, led by Gay Williams, consulted with members of both organisations to design the governance structures put in place with the formation of NZNO. The model intended to make the new organisation as democratic and participatory as possible. By the end of the year of its formation, NZNO had 27,000 members, Nigel Kee was president and Angeline Perry was chairperson of Te Runanga.

Together, members, leaders and staff faced up to the many threats of the hostile environment and not only survived, but gradually rebuilt strength to go on and thrive and achieve great successes.

As we embark on another organisational transition, it is appropriate to recognise our past successes as the achievement of a great collective of members; a collective that is continually growing, changing and handing on. As nurses have always done, care is handed over, responsibility is handed on, and the commitment to nurture and grow others is maintained. This continuity is shown in the unbroken handover of leadership. Between Nigel Kee and Nano Tunnicliff have come four presidents: Judi Mulholland; Diane Penney; Jane O'Malley; and Marion Guy. Between Angeline Perry and Kerri Nuku have come six chairpersons/kaiwhakahaere: Dianne Irwin; Wiki Lynch; Noeline Warmington; Sharon Morunga; Nuki McNicol; and Brenda Close. Each leader would say, I'm sure, they were simply the visible expression of a collective leadership that is enduring.

Changes rooted in our heritage

Times and circumstances change and with those changes comes a need for renewal. The constitution and the new governance model it will establish are important changes that remain rooted in our heritage. As we work through the transition from the old structures to the new, let us acknowledge the richness and vitality of our heritage. Let us acknowledge the wisdom and courage of all those who have preceded us as members, officers and staff of NZNO, by ensuring we bring the new structures to life with wisdom and courage. The future they envisioned is in our hands as surely as our present has been shaped by their hands. We must embrace the opportunities they could only hope for and make NZNO's continued success our tribute to their industry and vision.

As NZNO renews itself, I am mindful of the need for our wider society to renew itself also. What would our forebears who agreed to te Tiriti o Waitangi, make of Aotearoa today? I fear we have a long way to go before we can say the hopes, dreams and promises of our tupuna for us and our offspring have been fully realised, and Aotearoa is a place of good health, prosperity and well-being for all. While we have much to be thankful for, we also have much work to do.

Matadki is the right time to renew our commitment to creating our shared future and to do so with a sincere and mindful respect for the timeless values and principles of our tupuna.

Creating a thriving future

Matariki is a time to remind ourselves it is our task to make a future of which our tupuna would be proud and in which our mokopuna will thrive. This Matariki, let us refresh ourselves with the hopefulness and strength of those who came before us, n and rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of justice and fairness and a society that cares for all its members.

By NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals
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