Hui taumata, the peak body for the PSA rūnanga, ngā Toa Āwhina, was held at Orongomai marae, Upper Hutt, in early August.
It was Marcia Puru’s first big event as convenor rūnanga so a bit nerve-wracking to begin with. But with everything running so smoothly, that didn’t last long.
“It was an awesome conference,” she says. “The highlight for me was seeing new delegates begin to understand the big picture, not just what’s happening in their own organisation, and how they could participate. I thought that was fantastic.”
The national committee of the rūnanga had prepared a paper aligning the PSA Transforming the Workplace strategy with a Māori perspective which generated a lot of discussion.
“It’s very tangible and we wanted to get everyone’s thoughts. For example, rangatiratanga, which is about leadership, in our workplaces – how can we inspire Māori to take on leadership positions in their own organisations? I think everyone at the hui could relate to that kaupapa.” Says Marcia.
“Another example is the personalised strand of transforming the workplace. A big issue for us is whanaungatanga, which is about family. Māori have always done this well – but do we do it as well in our workplaces? We’re not so sure about that.”
Some practical programmes have come out of the hui. Marcia points to the working groups that have been set up to investigate and report on issues the committee is keen to drive through. One of is looking at how, or if, cultural skills are recognised across the public sector.
“We’re investigating to see what’s out there and how can we incorporate them across all sectors, not just the public service. There’s a lot going on. Already I’m looking forward to the next hui taumata.”
Two of those attending hui taumata, Annette Panui and Ngapera Rangiaho, are quick to praise the way it was organised.
“It was full on but so well organised. We had a wealth of information and we stuck exactly to the agenda,” says Ngapera, a home support worker.
A highlight was arriving to find so many Māori congregated in a familiar area – a marae – and then getting to know everyone.
This was her first hui taumata and she adopted a well-known approach: “Listen and observe and learn. Don’t say anything until you’ve digested everything, then have your input.”
Annette is a technical support officer for Inland Revenue and has been a delegate for nearly five years. She particularly enjoyed the session with MPs.
“It was great to have them there and we had lots of questions for them. One of our concerns we put to them was the level of child poverty when you’ve got both parents working but still not enough to live on.
A big issue for many Māori people is the availability of jobs and whether they offer a living wage.”
There was also a discussion with MPS around closing the 11% pay gap for Māori within public services. “One interesting view was to look at the work the PSA is doing to close the gender pay gap, and rolling this process out to ethnicity pay gaps.”
Maori names for the PSA sectors were approved by hui taumata and later by congress.
Rātonga mahi ā te kāwanatanga for the public service sector
Pōari hauora ā rohe for the district health boards sector
Rāngai tūmatanui for the state sector
Kāwanatanga-ā-rohe for the local government sector
Rātonga mahi ā hāpori for the community public services sector.
This article is from the December 2014 issue of the PSA Journal. You can read back issues of the Journal by clicking here.