Maru Karatea-Goddard (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Rangatahi-Matakore, Ngāti Pikiahu-Waewae) and Gabriel Tupou (Tongan, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Kirihika, Ngāti Te Urunga me Waitaha-ā-Hei) have enjoyed working as Kaihautū Māori and connecting with staff, the sisters and the community.
Maru has a background in education and empowering organisations to learn about Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view). Gabriel has a background in community development and governance. They both bring their whakapapa (connections), aroha (compassion), wairua (spirit) and whakapono (faith) to the role of supporting staff in their shared journey towards learning about Te Ao Māori.
The term kaihautū refers to the person who stands atop a waka (traditional canoe) and keeps the kaihoe (rowers) in time by chanting in rhythm. It is therefore a role that keeps the staff safe and working together in unity towards a more enlightened understanding of manaakitanga (hospitality), kawa and tikanga Māori (Māori practices) and mātauranga Māori (Māori philosophy and science). Maru says “our role is to be in the spaces and places within Te Ao Māori and the wider community on behalf of Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert – we take her with us wherever we go.” Gabriel adds that “building up cultural capability is the internal facet to our role, to ensure our staff can be confident when walking in the Māori world or engaging in our Te Tiriti partnership setting.”
“Never forget that we were first instituted for the Māori, that we began in the bush, and
that we are concentrated to their service by our vows. They have the first claim on our love,
on our care. A Māori village was the cradle of our institute.”
– Meri Hōhepa