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Q&A with Matamata-Piako 2014 Tuia delegate

Bryan Rawiri, 25 years old, was born and raised in Matamata and belongs to the eastern Waikato iwi of Ngati Haua.  He is currently completing his apprenticeship in Baking. Bryan was the TUIA delegate in 2014 for the Matamata-Piako District, where he was mentored by the Mayor.

Bryan Rawiri, 25 years old, was born and raised in Matamata and belongs to the eastern Waikato iwi of Ngati Haua.  He is currently completing his apprenticeship in Baking. Bryan was the TUIA delegate in 2014 for the Matamata-Piako District, where he was mentored by the Mayor.

TUIA is a leadership development programme that is an intentional, long term, intergenerational approach to developing leadership capacity of young Maori in New Zealand through a one-on-one mentoring programme with the local Mayor.

Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes says Bryan was an absolute pleasure to work with, and that she sees him as a future councillor one day.

“I can see Bryan as being a future elected member and this TUIA programme has certainly enhanced his growth  as a future leader in our community. He is the Club Capitan of the Matamata golf club and an active member of Matamata Lions,” Mayor Barnes says.

Bryan accompanied her to various speaking engagements, where the community was always very interested in his developments.

“Bryan’s exceptional music ability is well known throughout the community and he shares his talent for fundraising events. My husband Rex is also a musician and we have been able to involve Bryan in different functions we have attended,” Mayor Barnes says.

“ I look forward to supporting Bryan for his future endeavours going forward. Bryan will still be available to support our next TUIA candidate and has already attended the first wananga in 2015 in his own capacity.”

Daniel Henderson spoke to Bryan Rawiri about his journey with TUIA and how else he contributes to his community.

What does TUIA mean to you?

With my exposure to TUIA, I quickly observed that for one to effect positive change in a family, community or organization, one has to take an ownership or have a sense of vested interest in order to carry out these changes with any credibility.

This has helped me gain clarity as to why we do the things we do and helps me move forward with the relationships that have been formed, nurtured and utilized to achieve certain goals within aspects of my community.

I believe that as we develop through the TUIA leadership programme, we take a keen interest in the contributions made in communities that affect positive change, but also we take ownership of our communities and issues within them. For me, taking ownership of issues and trying to help affect positive change has given me a deep love for my community.

Explain your experience on TUIA and your interactions with the other rangatahi at the various wananga?

My experience has been a very positive impact on my life. Being able to meet up with like minded individuals and exchange thoughts and ideas about affecting positive change within their community. This gave me courage and motivation as it made me aware of other rangatahi taking ownership of issues within their own communities and are motivated to actually do something about it.

The diversity in the range of TUIA rangatahi also means that we have all come from different backgrounds and grown up in different lifestyles. Everyone has been affected by loss or heartache in our lives in someway, and we may or may not have been exposed to the best role models in life…. And yet… here we all are! It has also exposed me to people whom have similar values and it has been an inspiration to have met them all. TUIA has allowed this to occur and encouraged this process throughout every interaction through wananga and being able to rendezvous at our own accord without having to leave it until next time to catch up.

TUIA has allowed a sense of independence through the relaxed way in which things are undertaken and has really exemplified itself when we look at the network of relationships that have been created by all of the different youth from across the country. This has allowed me to put aside any preconceived notions that I may have had about an individual so I can really get to know someone, their story and where they come from.

How has your relationship developed with the Mayor throughout your time on TUIA, and how has that continued post-2014?

The relationship that I have made with my Mayor Jan Barnes has been one of mutual benefit and equality. I was lucky enough to have known Jan before she became involved in politics. I met Jan and her husband through our church. Jan’s husband and I are both musicians and perform within our community for different charitable events.

The exposure to the different people, groups and organisations through the relationship I have had with the Mayor have allowed me to gain respect from and for my community and enlightened me to other motivated rangatahi wanting to affect positive change.

How has TUIA influenced your contribution to the Matamata-Piako District?

TUIA has allowed me to form relationships with people in my community and it has made the District Council more accessible and co operative. It has also enabled me to relate to people knowing that we all have different backgrounds and this gives me an understanding that allows me to put aside any preconceived notions about anyone’s life story.

TUIA also provides an extensive resource in the way that we rangatahi converse and keep in touch with each other through social media. Should we have an issue, there is typically someone within TUIA that can relate to or provide some insightful feedback or encouragement that helps me go about affecting change within my community.

What other organisations and initiatives are you involved with in your community?

I am involved in my community through different groups that I have a very keen interest in:

  • Matamata Presbyterian Church - I am on the board of Managers and in this role we oversee the operational procedures/costs involved with running a church.  We, as a team aim to support the church in the ways that allow it to operate in a business sense so that people who look after the spiritual direction can do so without having to concern themselves about operational matters.
  • Matamata Golf Club - I am the Club Captain of the golf club. This role entails the administration and implementation of Club events, tournaments and weekly competitions. I am also the chair of the Clubs ‘Match Committee’.  In this role I am also a part of the Clubs Executive committee and here we discuss more of the operational side of the club. I am also the captain of all representative teams that attend inter-club match play competitions.
  • The Lions Club of Matamata - This organisation is known for its involvement in the community both domestically and internationally. We undergo constant fundraising projects that allow us to generate revenue in order to pass it on to individuals or organisations within our community.  The projects we undertake has given me an opportunity to further develop my leadership, communication and administration skills due to the overall success of a project being dependent on how well everything is executed from planning to executive of the projects. Examples of projects that we do in Matamata are the Casualty Calf Collection (Slinks), Balloons over Waikato, and I have recently been tasked with the job of raising funds to enable the installation of solar powered street lighting to one of Matamata’s most popular walkways.

Why are you so heavily involved in your community?

I have felt that if one happens to be in the position to give back to their community, I believe that it is their obligation to do so; although this is my opinion.

I had my father pass away when I was quite young so I have taken it upon myself to try and be the example in life for others that I feel I had been deprived of. Life is hard and I feel if there is anything I can do by way of service or inspiration for others; this is something that I aspire to do.

It has been a real challenge for me to extend myself out to those whom I do not know. However, with my association to other rangatahi on TUIA, I genuinely feel that they all have a place in my heart, because of the way they have influenced my life for the better. The impact that these fine people have had on me cannot be quantified and my gratitude is immeasurable.

What is your overall vision for young people in your community, and New Zealand?

My hope for Matamata-Piako District is that we can all take ownership of the problems and issues within our community and we can all set aside some of the barriers/visions that we have psychologically and so we as a community and country can move forward.

There has been the notion that all Maori should unite in order to present a stronger front in order to address issues that affect us (as Maori). And as I do agree, I think we are more capable of achieving a lot more for ourselves, our youth, our communities and for our country. Being more humanitarian and helping out our fellow man is an awareness that i'd like to encourage more people to aspire to do, and in doing so I am hoping that I am leading by example in this change.