Without vision the people will be lost.

Kīngi Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero uttered these words to rally his people and encourage unity and forward thinking. In these times it is hard to move beyond the reactive immediate needs to raise the gaze and contemplate the future.

Like it or not, we are all on a journey to a new post-Covid-19 future. For Māori there is an opportunity to change the trajectory and to be at the helm of the waka paddling in partnership to a new and transformational future. With clear vision we can arrive at the shores of Rangiatea. Alternatively without a clear vision of where we want to go, we risk just being paddlers on someone else’s waka.

The Covid-19 crisis has shown change is possible. Across Aotearoa organisations, systems, structures and practices have shifted to new ways of working in under a week. Look at the collective intelligence, goodwill and innovation being applied to all areas of the crisis. Imagine if the same attention could be placed on redesigning an equitable and Te Tiriti-based future.

The choices we make now will determine our approach to the future and where we eventually emerge. Regardless of the decision, the one inescapable truth is that we are all in this together – he waka eke noa. Like Kīngi Tāwhiao’s vision, if we cannot picture the future we want then we will be unlikely to achieve the future we deserve.

Nau mai te Rangiātea – ki te hoe!

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