Don TamihereBishop Don Tamihere, still in his mid-40s, will be installed as the Pīhopa of Aotearoa late this month at the Manutuke marae not far from Gisborne. That will also mean becoming an archbishop and taking on one of the three top jobs in New Zealand’s Anglican Church.

He’ll be in charge of Tikanga Māori while two other archbishops, Philip Richardson (Tikanga Pākehā) and Winston Halapua (Tikanga Polynesia) carry on with their separate but equal roles.

It’s a three-way set-up, launched in 1992, that reflects and extends the partnership implied by the Treaty of Waitangi 178 years ago.

Now, in this conversation with Dale, Don outlines his Ngāti Porou upbringing and some of the issues the church has been facing.

 

Kia ora, Don. Welcome to e-Tangata and congratulations for your promotion within the Anglican Church — especially for such a young man. Can we start, please, with your early years?

Well, I was born in Gisborne in 1972. My father’s name was Don Tamihere as well, and he was an apprentice mechanic for what was known as the Ministry of Works at the time. My mother, Catherine Smith, had just finished a stint in the army, in Signals.

They met in Gisborne and married — and I was born there. My father’s from the East Coast, Ngāti Porou. He’d been raised by his grandparents, Don and Kohi Hughes, in Ruatoria. My mother was born and raised in the Wairarapa. Her whānau are an interesting mix of Pākehā, Jewish, and Māori whakapapa. Through my mother we have connections to Te Rarawa and Rongowhakaata.

When my father finished his apprenticeship, we moved back up the Coast, when I was two years old, to Te Puia Springs. That’s where my two brothers, Andrew and Michael, were born. And that’s where I went to school.

We lived between there in Te Puia and the whānau home back in Ruatoria in a little place called Kākāriki, just before Waiomatatini. It’s a family farm where my father grew up, and that became my world too.

I started school in Te Puia but I ended up living on the farm with my granduncle and grandaunt, Walter and Phyllis Walker. So I went to school in Ruatoria at Manutahi, spent some time at Gisborne Boys’ High, and then finished my schooling at Ngata College when I was back on the farm.

I lived a few years in Waima, Tokomaru Bay, before moving up to Auckland. And, through those years, I was immersed in rural Ngāti Porou, surrounded by our whānau, our reo and our tikanga, and going to church.

A lot of your family have Pākehā names. Is that common in your lines? Where did the reo Māori sit with your whānau?

I guess it was a sign of the times in some ways. When you’ve got a surname like Tamihere, a point of difference would be your first names — it shows the natural blend between the Pākehā and Māori worlds that we grew up in. If you grew up on the Coast, you’re always surrounded by reo and tikanga. You’re always visiting marae. And I just took all that for granted.

I carry the name, Donald, for my great-grandfather, Donald Stanley Hughes. He was the son of Herbert Walter Hughes, of Welsh and English descent, and Rāmari Mūmū from Te Whānau a Rākaihoea, a descendant of Porourangi and Kahungunu.

My two brothers were named after my mum’s whānau. But invariably, you’re referred to in Māori ways. So, as a child, I was often called Tanara (especially when I was in trouble). My brother Anaru — we still refer to him that way. And Mikaere. So, that’s the way your culture kind of takes over things. My youngest brother, Michael, is part of the first generation that went through kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa, kura tuarua.

Our father was a native speaker of Te Reo o Ngāti Porou, having being brought up by his old people. I remember Hone Kaa, following a conversation with our dad, making the comment that “the reo is deep in this man. He’s a real Naati.”

Our mother, Catherine, was part of the small group that was instrumental in setting up the kura kaupapa in Tokomaru Bay — Te Kura Kaupapa o Ngā Taonga Tūturu o Tokomaru. She and the other mothers and nannies involved would weave kete and hats to sell every day, to help fund the school before the Ministry of Education finally came to the party and fully funded the kura.

I grew up in a time when there were people like Whāea McClutchie, Waho Tibble, Koro Dewes, Tom Te Maro, Lou Tangaere, Apirana Mahuika, and so many like them operating on our marae and in our schools. You couldn’t help but be shaped and influenced by their kōrero.

And now here you are with the top job in the Anglican Church. That’s quite a step from those early days. Did your family have a religious leaning from the start?

I wouldn’t say we were more or less religious than anyone else. We were a pretty normal family. But religion — which I’m more inclined to refer to as whakapono — is an integral part of Ngāti Porou life. It’s been blended into our tikanga to such an extent that it’s really hard to tell where Christianity begins and tikanga Māori ends.

And I’ve learned only in later life the full extent of that story. As a child, it was just part and parcel of the way things happened on the marae. People said karakia. And priests were ever present, especially when you went to tangihanga. It was part of the fabric of our life.

I remember my grandfather, Noema Te Iwi Ngaro Tamihere, bringing me an illustrated set of Bibles. And you’ve got to remember this is in the years before internet and when the East Coast had only one TV channel. So books were a big part of our lives.

And because I lived on the farm with my grandaunt who was a teacher — and my mum and dad were big on education, too — we were a household of books. My brothers and I read a lot. I had these Bible story books. I had the stories of Māui on my bookshelf, too. We had a few abridged classics and a series of Disney books. We were always reading.

Bible stories became part of the fabric of the tikanga. And, because of the way that our people adopted Christianity up the Coast, speakers would always refer to scripture and Bible stories. They’d refer to gospel principles alongside references to whakapapa, mōteatea and haka, and the stories of our ancestors.

So many of our iwi anthems in Tairāwhiti are replete with whakapono and gospel values — haka like Tihei Taruke by Rev Mohi Turei, songs like Ka Noho Au i Konei by Ngoi Pewhairangi, or Arohaina Mai by Tuini Ngāwai, are classic examples of how our tīpuna lived and expressed their whakapono and their tikanga in a seamless blend.

So I grew up with the idea that this was normal. It wasn’t until I left the Coast that I began to appreciate how unique it was. Not everywhere was there that same easy blend of culture and Christianity. And I was surprised when I’d find people who couldn’t comprehend that you could be Māori and Christian.

You were raised by older people — not your parents’ generation, but the one before that. Have you felt that was a privilege?

It was an absolute privilege. I never grew up understanding that we belonged to one physical house. We moved easily among whānau. And going back to Kākāriki to Te Maro Tarewa (where my father grew up on my great-grandmother’s land) was a regular part of our life.

If you ask me where I’m from, I’d say I’m from there more than anywhere else because of the place that it occupies in my heart. So, going back to the farm meant that I was living with my grandaunt and granduncle who were running the farm at that time.

Eventually, I learned that they were having conversations with my parents about wanting me to stay longer. It just seemed a natural thing. I stopped going there just for weekends and started living there through the week. And I just switched schools from Te Puia to Ruatoria.

It never felt like an abrupt or difficult move. It just felt natural. But I learned later that was deliberate on the part of my family. They wanted one of their boys to grow up there, to pick up, I guess, the mauri of the place and to be among the old people.

It’s only in later life that I look back now and realise the value of being with those old people. It’s not just the reo and tikanga. There’s a lot of unspoken stuff, too. Things you kind of pick up as second nature. Their method of hospitality. Their approach to life. The way that they went about things. That’s what rubbed off on me.

I’m really grateful for being raised in that environment. My mother always said to me that I was brought up “on the back of the old world”. It’s only now that I realise how true that was. That era has gone. And I was privileged to share it before it moved on.

Do you feel that the family earmarked you for a religious life?

I don’t know. My grandaunt, Phyllis Walker (a Toopi from Te Whānau a Apanui) was very religious. Very Ringatū. But she had a general whakapono. She’d often nudge me in that direction. But I can only appreciate that now that I’m older.

You can sometimes see it yourself when you look at other kids — you see their temperament, their gifts, and in a sense their calling, and you can see it early on. When I was young I certainly didn’t see it in myself. I was more inclined to be a mischief boy, like our tīpuna Māui. I thought maybe I’d be an astronaut or an architect. I thought I might become a mechanic like my dad, or a carpenter like my grandfather, or a farmer like so many tīpuna before me.

But I guess they must’ve seen in me certain characteristics that might predispose me to caring for people in this manner. Looking back and thinking of those who shaped me and led me on this pathway, I know now that they knew I was always destined to be a minister.

And, now that I’m where I am, it just feels like there’s nowhere else in the world I could ever be.

I guess the ways of your old people — including their simple acts of kindness and hospitality — could be seen as Christianity in action. Even if, at times it was no more than a cup of tea and a small kai, or just giving time and a friendly ear.

I was brought up where that was normal. Kākāriki marae is a very humble and basic marae. There’s no carving or tukutuku or any embellishments like that. It’s very simple in that sense. But it’s a place of really deep manaaki. The people there know how to provide for families.

Waimā, in Tokomaru Bay where I lived in my late teens, was another example of simple humility and profound beauty in terms of the place and the people. Our whānau there were the Baker whānau and the Tichborne whānau.

We were immersed in the life of the local hapū, Te Whānau a Te Aotāwarirangi and Te Whānau a Ruataupare ki Tokomaru. They are a people of great manaaki. So there’s always kai, there’s always a warm whare. You’re always on the lookout to make sure that everyone’s got a place to sleep and they’re all provided for.

That deeply influenced the way that I am and the way that my brothers are. And it’s not until you go out and see other places where that’s not normal, that you begin to fully appreciate the value of our people and our ways.

Our people would describe that as following gospel principles. But they’re very Māori principles as well. Manaaki i te tangata. Manaaki i te marae. Manaaki i te iwi. So, if you walk into a marae kitchen, you scan to see what needs to be done. If the spuds need to be peeled, you do that. You cut up the meat. You prepare the vegetables. You just do it without being asked. Manaaki should come naturally.

You say you were a mischief kid, whereas I had an impression that, because you’ve risen through the ranks of the church quite quickly, you’d be a Goody Two-Shoes.

Well, I’ve had all sorts of experiences. As a teenager, when you live in a rural Māori community, there are lots of options for you. Parties. Rugby. And other stuff. And I’d get into that scene. There’d even be a little bit of tāhae and other carry on. But never anything seriously bad.

Looking back, though, you can see how, if you follow those pathways to their destinations, so many of our Māori people fall into those traps. But we have to appreciate that when our communities are embedded in poverty, sometimes the only choice is to go off the rails.

With young people now, I try to mentor them and give them opportunities in the same way that I was mentored and provided with opportunities. And the more I learned about people like Apirana Ngata, who himself was mentored and developed, and the way they can end up transforming communities for the better, the more I was drawn to that pathway. So I definitely wasn’t a Goody Two-Shoes or anything like that. I was normal and no better than anyone else. I guess at some point I just wanted to start putting the work in — to serve and keep serving.

Let’s talk about that word “service”. That’s been the guiding principle all of your life?

Yes, it has. That’s set for you by your people and your tikanga. The way I was raised, we were always in the kitchen. You were there at tangihanga to serve. You might dig the grave. You might sweep the floors. Clean the toilets. It’s just what you do.

You might get hōhā and tired, but you know what the purpose of that service is. You know that you’re there in order for the marae and the community to function. I find I’m at my best as a person, and my family are at their best as people, when we’re able help others in a real way. There’s lots to learn about what you can and can’t do. But, as a principle, I just think it’s superior. It’s something we should all strive to do.

I have to say that it’s something I’ve seen in our Tairāwhiti leaders all my life – that willingness to serve people. They might be great orators, or whakapapa experts, or genius composers, but you still find them in the kitchen doing dishes, or in the marae setting up beds. I see that even today with so many of our elders here. They are just great servants of the people. You can’t help but be profoundly influenced by their example.

You’ve been strengthened, I’m sure, by the love of your wāhine, who you met, so I understand, when you were still a teenager. And she has Samoan whakapapa, ne?

Yes, she does. I met Temukisa Saifiti in Paraparaumu in 1992 when I was 19. There was a congregation and a youth group, particularly, in Tokomaru Bay and Ruatoria that belonged to the Apostolic Church at that time.

It was a really interesting movement. Huge numbers of Māori, many from Anglican backgrounds, were joining Apostolic ministries. We could move easily between our mihinare whakapapa and then our Apostolic connections. We could always tautoko that the whakapono was alive and at play. I was deeply influenced by Pastor Arthur Baker and his wife Chris, from Tokomaru Bay, who were like a second set of parents to me. Just wonderful people with a heart for whakapono and servanthood.

Through those networks, we were able to go to their Bible school, Te Nikau, at Paraparaumu. By then, my interest in biblical languages was picking up. Somehow I was just drawn to it. Learning that there was a layer of language underneath the English that not only helped explain the stories of the Bible better but were more readily transported into whakaaro Māori.

So I went down to Te Nikau. Did some biblical studies. Learned the Greek and Hebrew alphabets. And there I met and fell in love with Temukisa, or Kisa as she’s more commonly known, this beautiful Samoan girl who was there for a different course of study. We hit it off but, when the course finished, she went back to Auckland with her parents and I came back home to Tokomaru Bay.

Soon, though, I decided to move to Auckland, which was a big deal for me and my family. Apart from the few months I spent in Paraparaumu, I’d never really been away from the Coast. So it was an adventure to go to Auckland.

Kisa was born and raised in Auckland, to Samoan parents who immigrated to New Zealand in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Her father is a Saifiti and Mata’afa from Lufilufi, and her mother a Sila from Afega, both on the island of Upolu in Samoa. Kisa has huge whānau networks in Auckland and Australia, and they were blessed enough to have been raised in homes where their language was spoken, their fa’a-Samoa practised, and their whakapono lived and enjoyed.

Kisa and I have been married now for 24 years, and have three grown children. We love the fact that our kids had access to grandparents and whānau that were strong in their culture and faith. They could be going to White Sunday with their Samoan ‘āiga one day, and then be on the marae the next day.

When it comes to cultural identity, I’ve never subscribed to the idea of blood-quantum and measuring yourself using fractions. Kisa and I have raised our children to view themselves as being 100 per cent of both their mother’s and their father’s whakapapa and culture, and to love and treasure them both equally. When we shared our faith traditions with our children, we taught them of a creator who not only loves us, but who made us to be cultural beings, to speak our languages, sing the songs of our ancestors, and rejoice in our indigenous identity.

They are all gifts from God. And they unite our whakapapa and heritage in this wonderful Pacific ocean way.

We moved back to Gisborne around 15 years ago, and raising a family here has been an absolute joy. Looking back, I was perhaps a little nervous about leaving here as a young man and going to the “big city”, but it was honestly one of the best decisions of my life. I thank God every day for my wife Kisa and the whānau we have raised together.

I thank God, too, because after I moved to Auckland it wasn’t long before Kisa and I were married and we started going to church in Newmarket at Holy Sepulchre Church. It was there that we were under the ministry of Canon Hone Te Kauru o Te Rangi Kaa. And he began to shape the paths we took.

As he did mine, because it was Hone who gave me my first job in Māori radio. Moe mai, Hone. And, by now you’re at St John’s Theological College. And I imagine you were coming under the influence of other significant Māori figures.

Well, looking back, there are a number of Māori ministers I’m indebted to. There was Archdeacon Anaru Takarua. I knew him when I was a teenager in Tokomaru Bay, and then, when I moved to St John’s, there he was as the kaumātua priest on site, providing pastoral care, teaching us hīmene and waiata, and making sure that we didn’t forget how to be cheeky and fun loving.

There was Pastor Arthur Baker, who gave me a love for scripture and for preaching. There was Archdeacon Joe Akuhata-Brown, who was immaculate when it came to leading tikanga karakia. There was Pāpā Mōrehu Te Maro, from Tīkapa, who just has this wonderful humility and āhua about him. There was my bro Rev Brent Swann, who showed me how to minister with real compassion for people. In Auckland, I also met Rev Canon Lloyd Pōpata, who was just a cool guy, a mentor and a friend when I was just starting out in ministry training. Back in Gisborne, it was people like Rev Huatahi Nia Nia, Rev Jackie Wallace, Rev Kura Walker, Rev Bill Tuhiwai, Rev Patsy Ngata, and so many others that have helped to shape, correct, and manaaki me along the way.

I’ve also been shaped by my own peers. Ministers like Archdeacon Hirini Kaa, and younger priests like Rev Ngira Simmonds and Rev Canon Chris Huriwai — people who I’ve grown up alongside in the church. My own brothers, close friends, and the Kōkā and Pāpā that surround me here. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I am nothing without the villages that have raised me.

Archbishop Brown Tūrei had a profound influence on me. He was a great servant and Pāpā Pīhopa, more humble and patient than I could ever hope to be. It was he who first sent me to study at St John’s College in Auckland.

It was at St John’s that I met Bishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, who’d already been a hero of mine since I was 17. I was at Waitangi when he gave his famous speech in front of Queen Elizabeth. That wowed me as a young man because, I thought, here’s somebody not just speaking truth to power, but taking on the political concerns of his people and using his whakapono to take it forward.

But Hone Kaa was the guy who really started working on me. He had a way of grabbing you and not letting you go. And I was drawn to him as well because he was very Ngāti Porou. He had a wonderful storytelling ability. A great preacher. Very salt of the earth when he wanted to be, and he had that great manaakitanga.

Before too long, you were in his house and helping yourself to the fridge. He’d give you the keys to the car if you needed to go driving anywhere. It was that living discipleship that I’d grown up with among our people. Except that Hone was raising me and some other young ones as ministers of the faith.

Of course, I took on the academic side, too, which I love. And I ended up doing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in biblical languages before I left. But, for me, the real journey through St John’s was being mentored by Hone Kaa, Jenny Te Paa, Anaru Takarua and others, before I moved on as a young priest.

Some observers, though, have reservations about the role not just of the Anglican Church but of the Christian faith in colonising Māori — and its impact on Māori spirituality.

I hear that. I hear that a lot. And there are so many examples that you’d have to say it’s true. But it’s not completely true for everyone. When I speak to that kaupapa, I’m speaking from my own tūrangawaewae in Ngāti Porou where Christianity arrived by way of a Māori evangelist, Piripi Taumata a Kura.

He’d been taken as a young slave, a captive of war, by the northern chief, Pomare, in the 1820s. The short story is that the missionaries in the north were able to grab some of these young captives and put them through the mission school. So these boys picked up literacy, studied the Bible and the prayer book. And they were able to take on the whakapono.

But they’d been raised at home long enough to still have their language and their culture. So they blended those two concepts and, when they returned home to Rangitukia in 1834, they shared the core principles of this new faith that they’d learned.

For me, the crucial component is that, when the gospel arrived in Tairāwhiti, it arrived by way of a Māori group, and the conversations and explanations were Māori. So we weren’t colonised in the same way as the other tribes might’ve been. The faith, the whakapono, was adopted in a very Māori way.

And you’ve got to hand it to the missionaries that came our way, particularly the Williams family. They were trying to push away from the old colonial model. They were also very academic, biblical scholars. So, they gave our Māori people instant access to the scripture and they were able to make connections themselves.

Those first preachers in Ngāti Porou were using our mountains and our rivers and our ancestors to illustrate the principles of scripture to us. It was a very sophisticated adoption of Christianity. So, a century or two later, you’ve got this really clever, intellectual, lively, imaginative, indigenisation of the Christian faith.

Yes, there is a Pākehā institution. Yes, there is a complicity with colonial forces and the stealing of Māori land. That’s one dimension of the Christianity brought here. But there was also the Christianity that our people took on board.

The Reverend Mohi Turei turned that into haka like Tihei Taruke. Apirana Ngata turned that into pepeha and made that part and parcel of his life. Ngoi Pewhairangi and Tuini Ngawai sang the gospel principles. That, for me, is a very Māori indigenisation of faith that is probably still not recognised and honoured enough today.

Even though we’re immersed in it, it needs to be honoured more for the wonderful creative and life-giving thing that it is. And I try to live my Christian life in a way that honours the beauty of the Māori adoption of the faith and rejects the worst parts of the colonising institution that brought it over. I like to be a part of good church, not bad church. Good religion, not bad religion. Good faith, not bad faith.

Kia ora. But how do we couple up the whakaaro of one Christian god with our many Māori gods — Tangaroa and Tāwhirimātea, for instance, and Tāne.

On the face of it, they don’t blend together. So there are some gaps to be bridged. But, when you come from a Māori point of view, you see Christ, firstly, as a very indigenous person. He was a man of custom and culture.

He spoke his own reo. He drew on his ancestor prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. He quotes these guys. He quotes the Psalms. His custom was to attend the synagogue. So he’s embedded in his tikanga. And it’s something that we as Māori not only appreciate, but we respect.

When you talk about Māori gods, I think that’s an area that needs a whole lot more debate and thinking. Hone Kaa was really good at this stuff, at challenging basic assumptions around what we think our Māori gods are.

The Bible isn’t afraid of gods. It has many names for God. It calls God “the King of Kings” and “God of Gods”. So there are lots of opportunities for debate and comparison. Within Māoridom, we have a sense of supreme gods and departmental gods. Within the Bible, you have the one creator who oversees angels, who have different roles.

When we begin to explore the comparisons, I think we gain insight into why our ancestors were drawn so quickly to the Bible and the Christian faith. When we first meet God in the Bible, we find him hovering on the face of the waters, on the face of the deep. This would resonate with our ancestors who saw God in the moana, who met the divine there and named it Tangaroa and Hinemoana.

When we read of Moses ascending the mountain to receive wisdom and commandment from the Holy One, we know that this would resonate with our ancestors who know of Tanenuiarangi, who ascended the heavens and received the Ngā Kete o Te Wānanga, the three baskets of knowledge, from the Supreme God. You can see how easily our tīpuna were able to engage with scripture, and to weave new and powerful understandings of both the divine and the human.

So there are many points of correlation and points of contrast. But, in the end, it’s the figure of the Christ, that incarnation of the divine into humanity, that’s the point where we as Christian and as Māori can begin a discussion about what it means to be wairua people, to be people in touch with divinity.

It’s the Christ who so many of our tīpuna were drawn to. They were able to look beyond the failings of the British missionaries and Western church, and were able to comprehend and indigenise the message of forgiveness and unconditional love that was incarnated in the Christ. They were able to see that incarnated anew within the Māori people.

One especially interesting aspect of the Anglican Church is how it has provided equal status for Māori, Pasifika and Pākehā, within the church structure. Perhaps our political world could learn from that arrangement.

Potentially, I think so. We’re unique in the Anglican world in that we’ve structured ourselves into three tikanga. We have tikanga Māori, tikanga Pākehā (as the Treaty partner in Aotearoa) and tikanga Pasifika or Polynesia who encompass Ngā Moutere a Te Moana Nui A Kiwa.

It’s not perfect, I must say. But it’s very deliberate in its structure. We understand that the rangatiratanga of Te Iwi Māori and their right to be self-determining could never be fully realised while all the leaders and decision makers were Pākehā.

So we had to alter our structure to honour the Treaty more. And we’ve created a space where we sit as equals. No matter what our numbers may be, we sit as equals, based on the Treaty and as people in the covenant.

What I like about the structure is that we have to recognise and respect the gifts and the rights of our partners. It forces us to remain in humility. It forces us to always seek consensus. It forces us to always critique our decisions and our directions based on the way those things manaaki and enable everyone.

I think MMP has achieved that a little bit. But the New Zealand psyche sometimes struggles with the idea that everybody, including the marginalised, should be on an equal playing field. That’s the greater potential of democracy. It’s not simply about the majority. It’s also about protecting the minority.

So our Anglican system has its imperfections. But it has its great beauties too. We’re a Trinitarian faith, after all. We believe in a triune-God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And, in some ways, our three-tikanga arrangement is a way of expressing that triple-layered-unity. It’s certainly the role I’ll be taking as one of three archbishops. We have one primacy, one role, but it’s shared among three. And it ensures that we respect and uphold the mana and dignity of each tikanga.

I imagine that didn’t all fall into place without a struggle.

Well, initially the struggle began with people like Apirana Ngata who pushed ahead to ensure that we’d finally have a bishop. But, of course, our Pākehā brothers and sisters weren’t comfortable with that idea at the time, so they put huge limitations on it.

And we started with a suffragan, a Māori bishop without authority, placed underneath the authority of another Pākehā bishop, the Bishop of Waiapu. And the Māori bishop was paid only half the wage of the others. There were all kinds of really racist things going on at the time. But that’s the context, that’s how Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa began.

The sequence was Fred Bennett as our first bishop, then Wiremu Panapa, then Manu Bennett (Fred’s son), and then Whakahuihui Vercoe, who was the first to get full authority and autonomy as the Bishop of Aotearoa. And he was the first to be granted full voting and speaking rights within the General Synod, the parliament of the church.

Then Brown Turei followed him, and I’ve followed Brown. I’m a recipient now of that whakapapa and legacy. And I see my job, like them, as being a shepherd and as a servant for Māori people — and also to be a caretaker and a kaitiaki of the great legacy that our people fought for and have handed down to us. He taonga tuku iho, he ānga whakamua.

Kia ora, Don. We wish you well.

 

This interview has been edited and condensed.
© E-Tangata, 2018

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