Gala Dinner Speeches 2019: Edmond Currucan, Corrections

I want to first acknowledge a higher power in all its wonderful forms. I honour that this Great Spirit is the source of our own spirit. That this scared spirit in us does indeed connect us with all living things and does so most intimately with our ancestors. It is from this higher power that we enter into being and that our spirit forms part of who we are and represents out potential to become anything we can dream of being.

I call for your personal connection to be made clear.

I call for your potential to awaken.

This is the call to life itself!

My language is a sacred treasure from my ancestors,

Hear now the honouring and the most sacred acknowledgment of all that my ancestors hold dear.

There is no greater sound than the resonance of its beauty throughout all time.

I acknowledge the dead, including, those who have recently passed. Go now and be at peace. Go to the loving embrace of our earth mother. Upon the sacred shores of our homeland shall we all go and whenever we do we will meet again once more. I long for nothing more than to be welcomed into Hawaiki at the end of my days. There I will meet Ruawehea the high chief of Ngati Hako and my sacred ancestor. From there, the sacred mantel of leadership will carry down to my descendants.

Ngati Hako was here long before and will persist long after. There is no greater tribute than to endure against all odds. Ngati Hako a most sacred iwi forever and ever, Amen.

To all distinguished persons. We are TupuToa. Come hither to our place, a place where we deliberately challenge the status quo. Welcome to you all on this evening for the celebration and recognition of our intern group.

I specifically welcome family members, friends and all those who have supported us. I acknowledge that so as the stars form the heavens that these particular people form the networks that we needed to achieve our personal aspirations.

I am privileged to be able to share a major point of growth. That was how to incorporate my cultural knowledge into work projects. I realised that I have felt like a gatekeeper to knowledge. I often didn’t know how much cultural knowledge and insight to share. It was challenging at times. I was really eager to share but at the same time, I didn’t know if it was tika or right for me to do so.

I felt a tension between wanting to help and wondering deep down if the authenticity of that knowledge would be honoured. I had numerous experiences of that tension. There was a translation into English task that I was given.

That helped me to realise that as my ancestors laid down ‘you give people a little knowledge and see what their intentions are and what they do with it.’ Do they ask questions? Are they open to know an uncomfortable truth? Can they take criticism? If the answers are no, I have found myself intent on guarding that knowledge from abuse. I’m here for partnership but not tokenism. This is my takeaway.

I realised that what I needed was someone else to help me bridge the gap with my team. That happened by way of a planned encounter with a Māori cultural supervisor who let my team know after our whakawhanaungatanga that I was in his words a “rare beast.” He let an open discussion take place and then better equipped me to operate in the workplace. I felt my experience was acknowledged. These things shouldn't be left to chance. This is a point I would highlight for current and future partners.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Corrections and thank them for this opportunity.

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