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“I remember the many Aunties who have been loyal members of the League and the community. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them...” says Tiahuia

purpose and the whānau wellbeing outcome they want to support. As an example, all the members of one branch are midwives so their area of interest is very clear − wāhine who are hapū, new mothers and their pēpē. Because of their expertise and focus, this branch is perfectly positioned to provide Prue and the executive team with informed opinions in this area – particularly if they believe government policy could impact negatively on Māori mothers and babies. Prue believes that if each branch was to define an area of interest, the League could advocate change in virtually every area as a national body. With the sheer number of branches operating throughout Aotearoa, the executive team could access information that could be used to achieve the best outcomes for Māori whānau in many different aspects of their lives. Part of those preparations includes a conference whakataukī that will become the conference theme. Ruakere Hond, who is highly respected for his work in revitalising the Taranaki Māori language, has offered ‘He punawai kei runga, i titohia e tāiri mai ana. E kore nei e mimiti, ka koropupū, ka koropupū’. The whakataukī talks about a spring that sits high on the mountainside and its unstoppable flow that nourishes the whenua as part of its journey. The maunga represents the kaupapa the League represents and the spring, the wāhine. No matter the kaupapa, the wāhine always reach their destination and support the whānau they are connected to. “In 1971, I attended my first League conference and I was impressed by Dames Mira Szaszy, Georgina Kirby 32 | HE ORANGA

and Dr Erihapeti Murchie. I was telling “I remember the many Aunties who myself, I want to be like these women,” have been loyal members of the says Tiahuia Abraham (nee Tuuta). League and the community. We A life member of the League, Tiahuia wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, is retiring from her position as Aotea Regional President but the League will and as I stand down I am encouraged remain close to her heart. by what the future holds for all of us.”

Below - Tiahuia Abraham, President of the Aotea Branch