Me kore ake a Ranginui Walker: the most transformational leader in Māoridom since Sir Apirana Ngata
“Ko te amorangi ki mua, ko te hāpai-ō ki muri; te tūturutanga mahi pono o te Māori manamotuhake”
Ko tāku whakapae, mai ra anō i te wā i a Tā Apirana Ngata, kātahi anō ka kitea he kaiārahi Māori pēnā rawa te whānui me te teitei o āna na mahi. Ko Ranginui Walker tēnā kaiārahi. Koinā ka mea nei au, ko Ranginui Walker te amorangi matua o te iwi Māori i ōna rā. Kai runga noa atu āna na mahi mō tātau, Māori mai, tauiwi mai. Kā hia nei ngā manomano ākonga o te ao whānui i whai māramatanga mō ngā hītori o tēnei whenua i te pukapuka a Ranginui, arā, a “Ka whawhai tonu mātou”? Nāna hoki i whakarewa ngā take e pā ana ki Te Tiriti o Waitangi ki mua i te aroaro o tauiwi i te hapori whānui, kia waia ai, kia rata ai hoki ō rātau hinengaro ki tēnei kaupapa motuhake. Nā Ranginui hoki i tūraki ngā kuaha o te Tari Mātauranga, ā, i kōkiri hoki ngā rōpū whiriwhiri i ngā tono ā tēnā whare takiura, ā tēnā whare wānanga rānei, kia whakamanangia mai ai ā rātau tohu mātauranga.
Neke atu i te 750 ngā Māori kua whiwhi tohu kairangi i te wā nei. Ko rātau nei ngā kaiārahi ināianei, ngā amorangi hoki mō ngā rā kei mua i a tātau. Ko Ranginui tetahi o ngā tino tāngata nāna i para te huarahi mō rātau. Koirā kā pātai ake au: “Me kore ake a Ranginui Walker, kua aha te iwi Māori?”
It is my personal contention that Ranginui Walker has been the most transformational Māori leader since the time of Apirana Ngata. His book Struggle Without End cleared up the misconceptions of thousands of university students about the history of this country since European colonisation. Ranginui’s media interactions brought Te Tiriti o Waitangi right to the forefront of debate; and his work on the Waitangi Tribunal has contributed immensely to the treaty settlement process around the country.
Tertiary education is another area where he has made a great impact, especially in leading New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) panels which accredited Māori seeking qualifications at wānanga, polytechnics and universities. Ranginui Walker’s tireless efforts in his lifetime were not in vain. Today there are over 750 Māori PhD holders some of whom are budding successors to Ranginui. Hence I raise the question: “If it wasn’t for Ranginui, how would things be for the Māori people?”
Nāreira e te amorangi, i whakapau katoa koe i tō hau mō te hāpai-ō – ko te iwi Māori tēnā, otirā ko tauiwi tēnā. Me kore ake koe, kua aha tō iwi Māori? Nāreira moe mai ra, okioki mai rā.
Dr Joe S Te Rito (Kaihautū Mātauranga Māori)