cropped-j4592x3056-011611.jpgTēnā koe. Nau mai ki Nau mai! Welcome to Nau mai!

This blog is an attempt to unravel and to declutter some of my inner thoughts as I journey through my PhD whilst raising a young whānau (with my darling partner and photographer extraordinaire – I’m allowed to be biased) and working full-time as an academic developer at a university in Aotearoa New Zealand.

My PhD is a reflection on my role as an academic developer and in particular as a Māori academic developer. This journey has taken me to so many unforeseen places (not physical, but emotionally and spiritually) and I find myself in kōrero wondering why and how have our learning spaces become so volatile and so unsafe for staff and students. 😦 It absolutely blows my mind but thankfully my heart is strong and staying true. It is a bizarre space to be after growing up on marae and within Māori communities to come to a space where values such as manaaki, mauri ora, and āhuru mōwai seem like unachievable but completely desirable ways of being. Thankfully, there are those who believe it is achievable and we are doing the mahi (work).

I have found myself working in the space of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi). This is a space unique to Aotearoa New Zealand however, the essence of it is global. The space of Te Tiriti is a liminal space that acknowledges the co-existence of two values and beliefs systems of two knowledge systems. This is an ethical space that requires emotional intelligence and an ethic of care, manaaki.

What has led me here?

I te taha tōku whāea, kō Tongariro te maunga, kō Taupo-nui-Tia te moana, kō Turumakina me kō Te Maunga ngā hapū, kō Tūwharetoa te iwi. Kō Te Wikitoria Francey Diamond (nee Hepi Te Huia) tōku māmā.

I te taha tōku matua, kō Te Ramaroa-a-Kupe te maunga, kō Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe te moana, kō Ngāti Wharara te hapū, kō Ngā Pūhi me Ngāti Pākehā ngā iwi. Kō Robert Dean Diamond tōku pāpā.

Engari i tipu ake āhau i te manaaki o Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga ki Tauranga Moana.

Kō Piki Roberta Diamond āhau

It has been my ancestry and my upbringing that has led me to this mahi. From my mother we are the people of the heart of the ika, we maintained our Ariki line.

From my father our people are the kaitiaki of where Kupe waited for the stars to align to set sail and return home.

And my upbringing in Tauranga exposed me to the sense of welcoming and the sense of belonging when you are not of the home people, you are not of mana whenua.

I am Piki Roberta Diamond. Piki to ascend, Roberta, famed, bright, shining, and Diamond. Though our Māori name is Taimona or Taimana, it was pointed out to me that Taimana, Taimona is a transliteration of Diamond, therefore, Diamond is the origin. It got me thinking what is Diamond in Māori. As an artist, I thought of the pātiki, the flounder design on the tukutuku. It was not until I returned to Hairini marae in Tauranga with my girls’ Puna Reo to hear Mātua Brian remind me that in Tauranga the pātiki is symbolic of manaaki. It is what is abundant in the region – kaimoana (seafood). Fond memories of flounder for breakfast yum returned.

Central to my journey is manaaki in all its dimensions, and in particular manaaki within the university in pursuit of mauri ora.

Nau mai, manaaki mai.

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