National | Indigenous

Moko Foundation youth to look at indigenous practices to benefit Māori

Twelve youth have been chosen to accompany Dr Lance O'Sullivan to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York next month.

Hundreds of entries were received.

Tauawhi Bonilla (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou) is a first-year law and business student at The Univesity of Auckland and a previous Manu Kōrero competitor.

He says, “I'll be looking at the methods used by other indigenous tribes and applying them to Māori."

Te Wehi Wright (Te Arawa, Taranaki) is a law and Māori graduate of the Victoria University and was a past president of Te Mana Akonga.

He says, “I want to make the trip worthwhile, I'm hoping to find methods that encourage people to embrace their own culture.”

They were chosen through an initiative created by the Moko Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Kaitāia that looks to provide opportunities in leadership, health and education. Over 300 video applications were received in 48 hours.

The 12 recipients are:

  • Kyla Campbell (Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri),
  • Waimirirangi Koopu-Stone (Tainui, Ngaatiwai, Te Arawa, Te Whānau-Ā-Apanui),
  • Te Rua Wallace (Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Atahaunuiapaparangi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Uenuku Kopako),
  • Rangipare Belshaw-Ngaropo (Ngāti Awa, Te Rarawa),
  • Hinerapa Rupuha (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whānau-a-Apanui),
  • Tupua Urlich (Ngāti Kahungunu), Ngaa Rauuira Puumanawawhiti,
  • Tauawhi Bonilla (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou),
  • Te Wehi Wright (Ngā Ruahine, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Uenukukōpako, Ngāti Whakaue),
  • Mana Vercoe (Te Arawa),
  • Nikau Beazley (Tainui, Ngāpuhi)
  • Kerei Winitana-Paki (Ngāti Tuwharetoa).

Wright says, “If there are strategies related to indigenous languages that can help people embrace their indigenous culture, that will be something of great benefit to bring back.”

“The majority are addressing environmental and community issues, something important to me is to focus on promoting indigenous languages,” says Bonilla.

Moko Foundation was set up by O'Sullivan with the aim to empower communities with a focus on vulnerable children and young people.

“I find respite in knowing that Māori have a strategy filled with youth who are passionate about Māori affairs,” says Wright.

“This is a good sign for the future.  In due course no doubt these 300 will rise to positions where they can lead our people,” says Tauawhi.

The delegation head to New York in April.