“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,” reflects RAYMOND SAGAPOLUTELE on the first retreat of The Mana Moana Experience.
"This is such a deepening of spirit. We have shared tears, laughter and hugs. We have been digging for that deep essence of our leadership being." The first retreat of The Mana Moana Experience ignited a special fire inside for DR. CHERIE CHU.
There was so much to enjoy and to learn about Retreat Five. Coming together again with my new family. Learning and sharing new stories. But for me, it was these experiences, these moments that have endured.
When we first got together as a group in February, I was struck by what an impressive, confident and high-achieving group of people it is. What I didn’t fully appreciate then, but do now, is the extent to which the 2018 cohort reflects the diverse society we live in.
We have now reached the point in our Leadership NZ journey, that when the group meet, it’s like connecting with old friends. The 2018 cohort met enthusiastically at the idyllic Caccia Birch House in Palmerston North in anticipation of what lay ahead. Although a little chilly, the sun was to shine on us physically and mentally throughout the next two days.
We arrive into a shared space. Sit in front of invisible pou, bright morning sunlight memorializing silhouetted edges of a fale. Lounge furniture is backed up against the walls of a rectangle living room. Ula-draped photos of family, sports teams, choirs, da Vinci’s The Last Supper, white net curtains blowing across open windows. Every place we have ever sat in this way, is also here. Va tagata.
Thursday 24th May dawned. The start of Session Four - crisp, but not too cold. Entered the NZTE Majestic Centre Building, pushed level 15 in the lift. Doors opened and we were greeted with a magnificent view of the Wellington vista and then the warmth of the 2018 NZ Leadership Programme cohort.
“In a sense, we have continuously negotiated who we are with Pakeha and other cultures in order to fit in, to be accepted, to feel a sense of belonging and worth.” Christina from Salvation Army shares her reflection on our Mana Moana Experience.