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Aug 15

What’s in a name?

Anya explores our name and its origins

Ngā Kete o te Wānanga

“In Jewish history, a name has its own history and its own memory. It connects beings with their origins. In te ao Māori, names tell a story which weave people and place to tipuna, to waka, to origin. 

Me and my sister and brother all had our names chosen carefully, after an protracted set of family negotiations. When my own kids were born, the weight of the task of choosing an appropriate name to connect them to their story felt like a heavy but joyful task.

Ara Taiohi has a beautiful and weighty name, chosen in consultation with Māori executive members of NZAAHD and NYWNA and their two kaumatua, Tamati Cairns and Ruru Hona.

‘Ara’ means ‘pathway to or from’ and ‘taiohi’ means ‘young person’ in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Our name, Ara Taiohi, describes our sector's pathway to and from young people.

A pathway or passage is broad and inclusive - it signifies movement and progress. The allegory of the pathway encourages us to look back to our origins, to the amazing work and progress that NYWNA and NZAAHD achieved in connecting our sector and raising the standards. It also signals that there is space for each of us within this pathway, and we each bring our strength and our knowledge to guide the way ahead.  “Ara” encourages us to lift our sights to a hopeful future, where the youth sector connect to our common purpose and work collectively to achieve our aspirations.

We’ve got lots to report on in terms of movement and progress - we’ve had a really amazing couple of weeks with our ‘Pathways to Professionalisation of Youth Work’ mahi. You can read more about this journey and the great opportunities for youth workers and others to upskill in our beautiful Code of Ethics coming up all over Te Ika a Maui on our awesome site. Ka nui te mihi to the Pathways to Professionalisation of Youth Work Working Group - so great to have your knowledge and energy working on this important priority!

We’re also stoked to let you know about our cultural competency work in the rainbow space. After heaps of interesting kōrero, we have decided to use the kupu ‘rainbow’ to describe our work. We think that rainbow is a term that’s generous enough and colourful enough to include all people in Aotearoa New Zealand under the sex, sexuality and gender diversity umbrellas. We’re super excited about developing a strengths based cultural competency framework - it fits in with our kaupapa of positive youth development and contributing meaningfully toward the efforts to support our rainbow taiohi’s wellbeing.

One more thing! We use the Māori kupu 'taiohi' as it means young person or youthful. The word 'rangatahi' which is used frequently across the youth sector and beyond actually means fishing net. According to Teorongonui Josie Keelan and Associates, this common usage emerged out of the whakataukī, “Ka pü te ruha ka hao te rangatahi,” which means, “When the old net is worn out, the new net is put into use.” For more info about this and Teorongonui Josie Keelan’s wider work, check out “E Tipu E Rea: a framework for Taiohi Māori Development” on MYD’s website.

That’s it from me - I hope you’ve had a magic week, and I look forward to meeting you kanohi ki te kanohi at our Building Pathways Wānanga in October!

Hei Konā