In five words, describe your place in the sector.
Tricky-question-asker. Thing fixer.
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
I think what really got me was being around taonga Māori. I had always enjoyed visiting museums around the country and seeing all these facets of Māori culture represented, whether done well or not, I don’t think I ever thought critically about such things. It was a way to connect and learn about myself and my people, a way to engage with “traditional” Māori experiences. As an urban Māori, growing up rather disconnected, it was huge to grasp onto these learning opportunities.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
I would have to say, one of the challenges I’ve had to face is navigating two hierarchies, one following the normal business structure and the other being a Māori cultural hierarchy. I’ve often been thrust to the front in Māori settings, as a Māori male, who speaks Māori, due to a lack of skills and diversity in upper management. This can and has led to interesting moments where I’m delicately trying to manage my managers.
We take up this cultural labour without question, without it being in our position description, because we want to uphold our tikanga, it is important to us, and also we are the ones that are held accountable by our communities.
I look forward to the day when everyone, all the way up to directors, understands and takes that responsibility upon themselves, and joins those of us already committed to being tika.
It is not solely a Māori issue either. Kia kaha to our Pasifika whanaunga in the struggle too!
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
My Māori colleagues have been amazing, not only in supporting me, but also making me feel like a part of something bigger than myself within the museum. Also they’ve given me so much knowledge, and so many chances to grow in my place at the museum and in my Māoritanga.
What do you think people at your own level bring to the sector?
I think we are bringing in a new era of connectivity and awareness.
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
I’d like to see marginalized communities having more control over their taonga and the stories we tell.
What is your karaoke song?
Ooo, I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder, or Holy Diver – Dio\m/