Ngaire Te Hira has seen the Waipareira Trust come a long way since she joined the organisation more than 28 years ago.
The Henderson-based trust, which is now a hub for hundreds of residents when it comes to health and social services, was developed by a group of Maori who had left their tribal roots in search of employment and education in the city.
While the organisation is well established, well known and as busy as ever, there is a core group of people that it couldn't have happened without, Mrs Te Hira says.
"To look and move forward, we must acknowledge where we came from," she says.
"And that is what this project is all about."
About 50 kaumatua and kuia have been honoured in a new book called Te Mana, launched by Mrs Te Hira and trust staff on August 17.
"These are the people who laid the foundations for what Waipareira is today," Mrs Te Hira says.
"This book is about paving the way for our long-term strategic direction which we've named Nga Tini Whetu.
"This is about honouring our past so we can do the work in the present, ready for our mokopuna to take on the future."
It's taken almost two years to compile the book which features pictures, information on tribal links and comments from each kaumatua and kuia in the book.
Poata Northcroft of Tuwharetoa was living in Warkworth before he came to West Auckland 25 years ago.
He and his wife Maraea joined the organisation 17 years ago and are featured in the book.
He hopes it will serve as a history book for young Maori.
"As kids we would talk to kaumatua for support.
"They helped us and we helped them. It was mutual."
Also featuring in the book is Rosealie Haora of Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga.
"It has been an honour and privilege to watch the growth and development of Te Whanau o Waipareira and know that this is our whanau platform that serves those in need," she says in the book.
"Waipareira sets aside the services to assist our mokopuna, rangatahi, matua, kaumatua and all the kuia that keep the Waipareira fire burning," Mrs Te Hira says.
Call 0800 924 942 for more information on the book.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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