On Sunday, 19 November, WakaNZ participants landed in Wellington from all over New Zealand to begin the four-day workshop. The workshop was officially opened with a pōwhiri at Te Herenga Waka Marae of Victoria University, followed by registration, introductions and a dinner. Co-hosts Dr Carwyn Jones and Wendy McGuinness, alongside Trevor Moeke (Principal Advisor on Crown-Māori Capability at New Zealand Treasury), international speaker Dr Richard Lum (founder and Chief Executive of Vision Foresight Strategy in Hawai’i) and Mark McGuinness (managing director of Willis Bond & Co), were there to welcome the participants at the pōwhiri and dinner.

After the pōwhiri the group spent some time in the wharenui learning about its history. Participants learned that Ngā Mokopuna ā Tane, the wharenui of the New Zealand Treasury, was carved by tohunga whakairo (master carver) Mark Kopua who also assisted Takirirangi Smith and his team to build Te Tumu Herenga Waka wharenui. Te Tumu Herenga Waka was built at time when there were conservation restrictions on some of the traditional materials used to build wharenui, meaning that substitutes had to be found. The tukutuku panels are made from kangaroo leather and many of the pou whakairo are carved from particle board, with the exception of one, which is carved from totara. New students of the Māori Studies programme are set the task of guessing which pou whakairo is carved from totara, although the truth has never been confirmed or denied. The name of the marae, Te Tumu Herenga Waka, refers to a mooring post for waka where students of the university can metaphorically moor their ancestral waka and find a spiritual and cultural home on campus. It was important to open the workshop in Te Ao Māori and it was a privilege to open the first pōwhiri at Te Herenga Waka; our thanks to the tāngata whenua of Victoria University for having us. Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa.

Te Ripowai Higgins explains the history of Te Herenga Waka Marae

About the WakaNZ: Navigating with foresight workshop
The WakaNZ workshop, held in collaboration with the New Zealand Treasury, brings together thirty-six 18–25 year old rangatahi from throughout Aotearoa to explore what a post-Treaty settlement future in New Zealand might look like. Over four days, participants engage with and learn from New Zealand Treasury policy analysts, Māori leaders and indigenous foresight practitioners. The hui aims to empower rangatahi with foresight tools, build a shared understanding of the future, and provide a space for youth to voice their ideas and observations about how to shape the future of Aotearoa. Outputs include a finale presentation held at Government House on Wednesday, 22 November, where participants will present their findings to Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Ministers and Members of Parliament, friends and family. There will also be a public presentation at Te Rongomaraeroa in Te Papa from 12.30pm on Thursday 23 November. In the weeks following the workshop, findings and results will be developed into a booklet with ongoing feedback from the workshop participants.

For more information about the WakaNZ programme, participants and speakers, please visit the website here, or follow the Twitter hashtag #WakaNZ for live updates.

Lunchtime presentation at Te Papa:
Thursday, 23 November
12.30–1.30 pm
Level 4, Terongomaraeroa, Te Papa