Topics: Education, Youth

Mana whenua asked to tautoko Muslim community

By Jessica Tyson
  • Australia
TKT leader Matangireia Yates-francis. Source: Te Ao Māori News

Rangatahi have spoken out about how important it is for mana whenua to take on the responsibility for further supporting the Muslim community following the Christchurch shooting.

Students from the AUT University Māori students association, Titahi Ki Tua (TKT), held a vigil at the university on Friday to pay their respects to those lost in the attack.

TKT member Abel Kururangi Johnston led the karakia in front of hundreds at the commemoration.

He says that Māori cultural values should encourage mana whenua to continue helping the Muslim community after the attacks.

“Because we are the people, the guardians and the host-people, te iwi taketake.  Beyond that, they are people and being aware of the pain they are going though, we may have the ability to alleviate some of that mamae.”

During a speech at the vigil, TKT president Matangireia Yates-francis said it was important to keep supporting the Muslim community by offering kind gestures.

“Kind gestures never go unnoticed and means a lot to those who are feeling down,” he said.

“That’s something that we TKT and the university, especially the committee, are wanting to keep assuring within our students.”

During his speech, Yates-francis also said the alleged offender in the attack was not welcome in Aotearoa.

“They can’t find mana here.  I reassured [the Muslim community] that we are here for them, mana whenua, if they need help.”

TKT members perform Tika Tonu at the commemoration. 

To move forward, he says Māori need to take heed to what he spoke about.

“And that’s unity. If we follow that path to unite under one umbrella everything should be okay.”

The week following the attack, students held ceremonies, created a tribute wall at the university and posters encouraging engagement with the Muslim community were displayed.