Speaker at Māori & Pasifika Symposium 2024

Maori woman taking a selfie of her and the the conference room behind her with people sitting at round tables

I had the incredible honour of speaking at the recent Māori & Pasifika Symposium 2024 held in Wellington. The theme, “Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei” – For us and our children after us (Ngāi Tahu), set a powerful tone for the event, emphasising the importance of our work today in shaping a better future for our descendants.

The symposium gathered a wonderful line-up of high-quality and experienced speakers who shared their insights and groundbreaking work. Among the keynote addresses and guest speakers, I had the privilege to present alongside:

Keynote Address:

Helmut Karewa Modlik (Ngāti Toa): “Mauri Ora – A vision for enhanced wellbeing, prosperity, and mana”

Guest Speakers:
Donna Matahaere-Atariki (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Ruanui, Te Atiawa, Ngā Rauru, Ngā Ruahine, and Tuwharetoa): “Intergenerational healing: Organisations matter”
Folasaitu Professor Julia Ioane (Pasifika, Samoan): “You’ve just got to think about your family and what kind of person you want to be” – Listening to young Pasifika people in the justice system and their families
Jack Scalan (Samoan): “Thanks for not asking” – Samoan social work practitioners’ experiences of racism and exclusion in decision-making
Melissa King Howell (Ngāti Maahanga, Ngāti Te Wehi, Maniapoto, and Tūhourangi) & Corin Merrick (Ngāti Whare, Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto, and Ngāti Raukawa): “Waikato-Tainui Mokopuna Ora – Nā te Māori mō te katoa”
Elizabeth Emere Harte (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou): “Empowering whānau with their mātauranga”

Each speaker brought a wealth of knowledge and experience, demonstrating the positive impact of their by-Māori/for-Māori approaches, many funded through their Waitangi Claims settlements. Their inspiring work is making a significant difference for our people in their respective rohe.

Jack and Folasaitu, our Pasifika speakers, delved into their research on wellbeing and the unique challenges faced by Pasifika in Aotearoa. Their presentations highlighted the need for tailored support and the pursuit of positive outcomes for Pasifika communities.

My own korero introduced tūpuna parenting, emphasising the importance of whānau pūrākau as a source of lessons for us and our whānau. I shared an in-depth story about my Nanny and her achievements, which was well received. It was a privilege to share these stories and insights with an audience of around 80 people in the room and 300 online participants.

Presentation feedback

The symposium also excelled in capturing feedback after each presentation. I was humbled by the wonderful comments shared about my presentation, which underscored the impact of our kaupapa. Here are some highlights from the feedback received:

  • “Elizabeth’s passion was a shining moment for the symposium. She created a space where online participants felt included by her korero.”
  • “Elizabeth empowered attendees with her presentation on empowering whānau with their mātauranga, drawing inspiration from her family’s legacy and her organization’s mission.”
  • “Elizabeth has this way of speaking that pulls you in and keeps you engaged. Her stories of her tupuna and matua were inspiring. Her korero on tūpuna parenting is something everyone needs to hear and share.”
  • “Elizabeth’s korero was beautiful to listen to. Her vision and work show just how powerful empowering whānau with their mātauranga is.”

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of this symposium and to contribute to the ongoing conversation about empowering our whānau and communities. The insights and stories shared at this event will undoubtedly inspire and guide us in our continued efforts to support and uplift our people.

Ngā mihi nui to Barnardos Aotearoa, Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers and the Social Workers Registration Board for organising the event. 

Also special thanks to all the speakers and participants who made this event a success. Your dedication and passion are making a lasting difference for us and our children after us. Karawhiua!