Te Kai a te Rangatira is an inspiring book with a collection of kōrero and photographs filled with more than 100 interviews from Māori leaders across Aotearoa, who share their views and life experiences on Rangatiratanga within ones mahi, hapū and iwi. The book took around three years to create, with more than 40 rangatahi contributing to the whakaaro of exploring the nature of Māori leadership, in an effort to inspire their communities. Some of the kaikōrero that have been featured throughout are Tīmoti Kāretu, Aroha Reriti-Crofts, Tipene O’Regan, Che Wilson, Tipa Mahuta, Moe Milne and many more. These people have committed their lives to the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori and the advancement of their communities, whānau, hapū and iwi.
I found that each of the interviews throughout the book had a very important and common connection - manaakitanga. Manaakitanga, aroha and resilience are woven into the basics of leadership. Highlighting a caring, nurturing and compassion heart that will forever lead to the right path.
Throughout the book, you begin to see the many different experiences of leadership roles that each kaikōrero were exposed to growing up, with some loving hard truths and realities that come with being a leader, which has led each kaikōrero to be who they are today. Each is unique to their rohe and iwi, whilst acknowledging all who came before them, and those who are to come after them.
My favourite quote from the book comes from Miriana Stephens:
“As my grandparents used to say, if service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.”
Reviewed by Christina Looker, MHF Pouārahi Māori Engagement Specialist