Meet your new Māori vice president
Vince Hapi (Waikato Tainui), PPTA Te Wehengarua’s inaugural Te Hāpai-ō / Māori vice president is a man of many whakatauki (proverbs).
Raised on Maurea marae in Rangiriri West, north of Huntly, under the values of Kīngitanga and supporting the Māori Queen, Vince is steeped in te reo Māori and committed to keeping Tainui customs alive, through the tikanga, wisdom and whakataukī of his tūpuna (ancestors).
Leading with humility
The values on which he bases his new role as PPTA Te Wehengarua Te Hāpai-ō, are those of the second Māori King, Kiingi Tāwhiao, who said he would build and fashion his house with the humble trees of the forest – maahoe, patatee and hiinau.
“Like Tāwhiao and other tūpuna, I want to lead with humility and vision, with the backbone support of my whānau of Te Huarahi Māori Motuhake, PPTA Te Wehengarua and all of our kaiako.”
Building houses is a trade that Vince knows well and is highly experienced in; on leaving school he did a four-year carpentry apprenticeship and built houses for several years. However, his passion for teaching and improving the achievement of Māori students and winning a TeachNZ scholarship impelled him to train as secondary teacher of Te Reo.
Up until this year, he was head of department Te Reo Māori at Wesley College in Tāmaki Makaurau. He organised the kapa haka for the annual ASB Polyfest and guided students who were taking part in the Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competitions.
He continues to be actively involved in PPTA Te Wehengarua through Te Huarahi Māori Motuhake and the national executive.
He waka eke noa
“I want to give a wonderful thank you, acknowledgement and endorsement to PPTA Te Wehengarua. We are all working together, he waka eke noa, we are all in the waka together. The waka carries the aspirations and needs of Māoridom so we need to be able to navigate equity and fairness within te Tiriti o Waitangi and through the lens of mahi tahi (partnership) and participation.
As Princess Te Puea Hērangi said, ‘Mehemea ka moemoea ahau, ko ahau anake. Mehemea ka moemoa tatou. Ka taea e tatou’. If I dream, I dream alone. If we dream as a collective, we can achieve our dream.”
Ensuring equity in decision making within PPTA Te Wehengarua is one of the key challenges of his new role, says Vince.
“We want to ensure that we are given te mana Motuhake (self-determination) to provide opportunities and resources for all kaiako Māori so they are best placed to help our students to not only achieve but raise their achievement in these challenging times.”
One of his immediate priorities is to have a whaka whanaungatanga hui with the PPTA Te Wehengarua presidential team and general secretary to work out how they can work most effectively together and support each other.
Succession plan top priority
Another top priority is to develop a succession plan for the role of Te Hāpai-ō. “It’s all about sustainability and setting up a firm foundation so that when one rangatira moves on, we have another rangatahi or rangatira able to fill the role.”
Vince says it is important that whoever is in the role of Te Hāpai-ō holds fast to the lore of manaaki (care) and tautoko (support) and the law of governance. “Last but not least you need to hold fast to compassion and love.
“I’m here as the voice, supported by the backbone of the people, to bring to the Te Wehengarua table. It is not Vincent’s way, it is the voice of all the teachers’ way.”