22 February 2024

Te Ara ki Matangireia, a transformative programme designed to empower Māori emerging leaders, has been making waves. With a focus on mentorship from senior leaders and working within their communities on service projects, this initiative aims to cultivate the next generation of Māori Public Service leaders. 

This article is an account from rangatahi in the 2023 cohort. Here they share their experience and express their gratitude to the mentors and facilitators that had such a positive impact on their lives.

Te Ara ki Matangireia was a transformative experience to be a part of, that went beyond a typical professional development programme. Te Ara ki Matangireia provided a space for us to learn from senior Māori leaders with years of experience and knowledge to share. A space for us to share our experiences with other rangatahi Māori, make connections and create lifelong bonds. We were hosted by iwi at four beautiful marae located across the country for 3 day immersive wānanga and we embraced the whakaaro (thoughts and ideas) embedded in the walls. 

We discovered the power of personal reflection, mentorship, and the importance of grounding our actions in our values as Māori. We were given the space to learn, grow and discover who we really are as rangatahi Māori. We were given a space to reconnect with our Māoritanga and to figure out the kind of leader we aspire to be.

Like the metaphor ta pikopiko, the curled fern frond, we entered Te Ara ki Matangireia closed off and unaware of the beauty that awaited us. As we emerge from this transformative experience, we did so with newfound confidence and pride, and a determination to ensure that future generations of rangatahi Māori thrive.

The power of mentorship

Our mentors provided invaluable guidance and support throughout. They served as beacons of wisdom, offering insights into navigating challenges, and fostering personal and professional growth.

Through their experiences, our mentors helped us consolidate ideas discussed during the wānanga and navigate complex work situations, enabling us to ask better questions and shape our leadership skills. It was a unique experience to gain insight into the mind of a senior leader and through that, learning to advocate for ourselves and others better. 

As we reflect on our journey through Te Ara ki Matangireia, we wanted to mihi and express our gratitude to the mentors who have played a pivotal role in our growth. Mentors generously shared their wisdom, experiences and expertise. Having that one-on-one mentoring relationship maximised what we were able to take away from the programme.

My mentor has inspired me to ground everything I do in the values that exist in my DNA, passed through to me by my tīpuna (ancestors). She challenged me to learn and understand the characteristics of my people, from every side of my whakapapa. Through that kind of reflection, she helped me to understand why whakapapa is so powerful. DNA sustains characteristics for the generations to come, so we all leave a legacy for our whānau.

Rangatahi participant Cohort two 2023

A message to rangatahi Māori from the 2023 cohort

Our future aspirations

Our aspirations for the future have been shaped by the professional and personal development gained through Te Ara ki Matangireia. We are focussed on continuously learning, applying our values and serving our communities. We strive to make a contribution inspired by the values of our tīpuna, and work towards better outcomes for future generations to come. This programme has reaffirmed the need for rangatahi Māori to gather as a collective to kōrero, wānanga and be together. None of us is greater than all of us.

Through mentorship and a transformative journey, this programme empowers emerging leaders to navigate challenges, create positive change, and make meaningful impacts. As we share our experiences, we hope to inspire others to embark on their own journeys of growth and empowerment within the Public Service.

The Leadership Development Centre would like to extend a warm thank you to Keita Holmes and Tayla Taggart, who worked with their rangatahi peers to share this story.

Te Ara ki Matangireia

Te Ara ki Matangireia is a 10-month emerging leadership programme grounded in te ao Māori. The initiative supports early in career Māori with the skills and confidence to step into leadership and governance roles of the future.

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