Ko Bonnie Taia tōku ingoa, Tihei Mauri Ora.
I kuraina ahau i te Kura Ahureinga o Te Whakatōhea me Papatewhai, kātahi ki te Kura Tuarua o Ōpōtiki. Mutu ana te kura ki Ōpōtiki i wehe atu au ki Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. Ināianei, kei te Kura o Omarumutu ahau e whakaako ana.
I am of Te Whakatōhea descent and a proud descendant at that. I grew up under the morals and values of my Grandparents Ranginui Lani and Rangitahi Mitai. I am a proud member of Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti under the guidance of Te Kahautu Maxwell. Through my Grandparents and through Kapa Haka, I have learnt and will continue to learn valuable knowledge and history of our Haahi and our Iwi, and being able to acknowledge that is important to me.
I have many dreams and aspirations for Te Whakatōhea. I would like to see more educational scholarships available to our youth where they are encouraged to study beyond certificates and strive towards degrees, honours, masters and PhD at a well-recognised tertiary. I would like to see Te Whakatōhea Trust Board alongside Ōpōtiki District Council purchase a complex of flats in Waikato, or fund accommodation so that our youth are able to study free of financial stress. I would like to see our Iwi Education Manager push for Te Whakatōhea history to be taught in all of our schools within Ōpōtiki District.
I would like to see all of our Kohanga Reo included in personal development funding and resourcing funding just like the kindergartens and ECE centres in Ōpōtiki and also to be acknowledged in the Whakatōhea Maurua Education Strategy Review. I would like to see the mussel farm up and running with local people being hired for work. There can be a promising future ahead for our people. We can be put on the Map for our Mussel Farm. We can also be put on the map for Treaty Settlement if all were on the same page. I would like to see our Te Whakatōhea Treaty Settlement claim go ahead so that we as an Iwi are able to move forward and strive for better opportunities for our people, like Tainui, like Tūhoe and many other iwi who are way ahead of us.
In reality do you ever think in this day and age the Government will willingly hand over all confiscated lands after court hearings, treaty settlements etc.? We can negotiate and come to an agreement, but all confiscated Whenua may never return no matter how much whawhai that goes on.
Nō reira kia kaha ki taku iwi tohetohe o Te Whakatōhea. Anga Whakamua! Waitohungia!