A large group of staff (19) at Interpine recently undertook a two day Te Pumaomao workshop facilitated by Takawai Murphy and his wife Chris.  Hosted at Te Whetū o Te Rangi Marae (Ngati Pukenga) in Welcome Bay, Tauranga, the course was designed to reflect on the misunderstandings of the past, and turn this into a strategy of building pathways forward. This to strengthen and reconnect Maori to their forests, land, water, culture, and language; rebuilding their whare’s within society. Takawai describes the key steps in awakening and discovering the decolonization process for Maori, and thus promoting Nationhood for all people.

The workshop incorporated individual introductions, small working groups, role-play situations, and open and honest collective discussion. The balance brought by Takawai (Ngāti Manawa) and his wife Chris (Pakeha) to look at past and present situation of Maori and Pakeha relationships in Aotearoa in a non-confrontational manner was inspirational and a credit to their own backgrounds as teachers. This allowed staff to understand issues that had, in the past, been portrayed by the media as “divisive,” such as Maori independence, in a new light.

The emphasis was on the constructive roles our staff personally and as a company, can adopt in building real relationships with Iwi, to assist them in the journey of spiritual, cultural, social and economic growth.

A personal challenge was made for us all to take on Te Reo positively, through learning it, using it, supporting it, and pronouncing it correctly.

Takawai and Chris noted that after many years teaching this course, Interpine would be one of the few private companies to invest in such understanding for their staff, and certainly the only forest company.