Understanding the importance of identity and its connection to the well-being of people is one of the key themes highlighted in Sir Mason Durie’s work with Māori. Today he was appointed to a new role with the Te Potiki National Trust.
Since its conception in 2011, the Māori Maps website, under the guidance of Te Potiki National Trust has provided an online portal to more than 766 Marae throughout New Zealand. The trust hopes Sir Mason Durie’s appointment as patron will enhance those connections.
“I see a real ability to extend our reach and enable more connections of descendants with marae, establishing a robust network across the country,” says Tā Mason.
Sir Mason Durie is the former Head of Maori Studies and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Massey University and is a recognised leader in research into Maori health, education and development.
Founder and chairman for the trust, Paora Tapsell, says the trustees selected Tā Mason because of his commitment and vision for sustaining Māori communities.
“He has great mana and reach across all sectors of Māori society, both urban and tribal. He brings an understanding of how important tribal identity is for the well-being of our people,” says Mr Tapsell.
In the era of digital generation the Māori maps online portal is a way of connecting Māori youth to their marae and genealogical links.
“Tā Mason has a deep understanding of the crisis we are experiencing with Māori youth disconnection, and his research has indicated how young Māori with insecure cultural identity are more susceptible to social problems. He's been an innovator in providing pragmatic ways to connect Māori with their communities,” says Mr Tapsell.
Plans are underway to re-develop the Māori maps website and it will be one of the first projects Tā Durie will help with in his new role.