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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

New paths. New eyes. New connections.

Written by Raymond Sagapolutele, Photographer and Artist. His participation in The Mana Moana Experience 2019 is enabled by a scholarship from Creative New Zealand.

E sui faiga ae tumau fa’avae’ – The form changes, but the underlying principles remain the same. (Samoan Proverb)

I am still mulling through the experiences and connections made over the course of three days at the first retreat of The Mana Moana Experience. I am not sure what I am meant to feel as this is a journey I have embarked on with heavy trepidation, anticipation and fear.

I knew that at some point in my life I would need to step up to the role that my parents had always envisioned I would assume. Being the oldest of my siblings, the move from the back to the front should be natural especially with the passing of both our parents. You know what? – it’s not. The theme of our retreat was Va Tupuna - its focus was remembering, timely really.

Over the three days and with the assistance of some incredible speakers we were pulled apart and the contents of who we are laid bare for each of us to see. What was I seeing? What was it that made me the person I am today and what can I learn from the person I had been? From the opening circle to a battle cry of a keynote speech delivered by Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer, I felt the foundations made of my many doubts (a foundation that I had routinely stood on) regarding my right to lead crumbling beneath me.

New paths are being built, new eyes are being opened and new connections are anchoring me in a way I had never considered prior to taking the leap into this vaka with these amazing contemporaries and all of our ancestors. I am being gifted new tools based on ancient principles. The responsibility of learning how these work sits well with me, even more so from this weekend.