REMEMBERING OUR PAST, RECLAIMING OUR FUTURE
Otaki, New Zealand, May 8-9, 2017
What IFIP Learned from Pacific Warriors
by Lourdes Inga
The IFIP Pacific Hui in Otaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, brought together funders and Indigenous advocates for two days of listening and learning. In Māori, hui is a gathering. The Hui exemplified why an Indigenous and intercultural valued-based approach to philanthropy matters. The Hui participants from the Pacific explained why it is important for funders to partner with Indigenous communities with respect and responsibility. We were also reminded of the value of deep listening, the need to recognize each other’s wisdom, and how these are critical for building reciprocal partnerships. Finally, we were reminded that philanthropy is about relationships and honoring each other as equals to work towards a common vision. IFIP member Woor-Dungin poignantly shared with participants how Indigenous Peoples envisioned partnerships with funders. Peter Aldenhoven of the Quandamooka people said, “Listen to us deeply and walk beside us as friends, partners and co-imaginers. We want philanthropy to understand us and even enter our dreams.”
We were fortunate to have Te Wananga o Raukawa, a Māori center of higher learning in Otaki, as our host venue as it embodied a living model of self-determination in action. The venue enabled us to see and feel what true partnerships look like and demonstrated what it means for funders to work in alignment with the goals of local communities. Historically Indigenous Peoples have not been at the table with international funders to guide their grantmaking decisions and strategies.This is why global philanthropy needs more champions like the J. R. McKenzie Trust, a funder of Te Wananga o Raukawa and key partner in the success of the IFIP Pacific Regional Hui.
We hope this report will illuminate the depth of wisdom that was shared by groups, like the J. R. McKenzie Trust, who are at the forefront of Indigenous philanthropy that is centered on self-determination. For us at IFIP, we were inspired to witness how the Hui sparked the interest of other New Zealand foundations that learned how to be respectful partners with Māori communities.
Organizing a conference takes months of preparations. We are grateful to our Māori hosts and partners in Aotearoa New Zealand for illuminating that learning and listening is a two way street and for showing us the power of partnerships that are rooted in equity, respect and reciprocity.
A note from Marama Takao, Māori Development Program Advisor, J. R. McKenzie Trust
The “Philanthropic Funding to Māori” Report in 2012 showed only 1.7% of philanthropic groups surveyed had a strategy in place to fund Māori. The J. R. McKenzie Trust set a goal to increase that percentage and were honoured when IFIP accepted our invitation to host the Pacific Regional Hui (gathering) in Ōtaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, in partnership with Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Philanthropy New Zealand, the international planning committee, and Generosity New Zealand.
The Hui was held at New Zealand’s first Indigenous university, Te Wānanga o Raukawa, that provided an opportunity for participants to see and experience the results of an Indigenous development plan called Whakatupuranga Rua Mano, which began 42 years ago.
Aotearoa is a long way from anywhere, and we were thrilled when 183 people registered for the Hui. We had an excellent turn out and a spectacular line-up of speakers. The final keynote speaker, Ani Mikaere, suggested that the purpose of these conferences is to re-inspire and re-invigorate us and to consider what we might do with this new knowledge. She then challenged both funders and practitioners to work collaboratively, offering suggestions on how this could be achieved.
As the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Pacific Regional Hui sadly drew to a close, ideas for a future gathering began to form. Too soon to say right now.
Kei ngā manawa tītī, ngā whatiwhati kō, e kore e mimiti ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa.
To you all who have worked tirelessly, my thanks to you will never diminish.
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