By Jacobi Kohu-Morris | Posted: Friday November 22, 2013
I was so lucky to be able to compete at the annual Nga Manu Korero national speaking champs in September this year! After qualifying to represent the Otakau/Murihiku region with the support of our superb Kapa Haka group, our ropu fundraised to travel to Hamilton for the flagship event for all Maori public speakers. It was an amazing experience.
I felt that it was important for me to use the Nga Manu Korero comp as a kind of forum, where we as young Maori should be recognising the issues and challenges that affect us all and offer up viable and sustainable solutions. I spoke in the Senior English division and my prepared speech topic was: “If you aspire to leadership, take off your coat." I spoke about the significance of Maori leadership during this time of hardship; a time when our people are disproportionately represented in negative health, employment and education statistics.
My solution was simple: Education. It is my philosophy that the only way for a group of people or society itself to be prosperous is through further education. The sad truth is that many young Maori just like me, don’t even leave school with NCEA Level 2. I said to the people in Hamilton that the only way that we will be truly prosperous is if we work together to build a co-operative relationship between whanau and the education system to realise and achieve our dreams. The potential is there, we just need strong Maori leadership to unlock and inspire the motivation to reach it!
All in all, I would like to sincerely thank everybody who contributed in whatever way, shape or form to our fundraising efforts. It was greatly appreciated. Thanks also to the amazing Kapa Haka group, led by Runa and Marama, Matua Tip and of course Ms Mouat for being an outstanding and invaluable speech coach!