Thomas Rawiri: Me he manu rere - A bird in flight

“Ko te manu kai miro, noona te ngaahere. Ko te manu kai Maatauranga, noona te Ao”
“he bird that seeks the miro berry, the forest is his. For the bird that seeks knowledge, the world is his”

I am reminded of this ancient Maaori proverb as I liken myself to the knowledge seeking bird, spreading it’s wings embarking on a journey into a new world. A somewhat nostalgic feeling, crossing Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa where many centuries ago my ancestors navigated these vast waters, using the tools of their time; sacred Waka, the stars above and an undying trust in their spiritual intuition. Today, as a carrier of the remnants of that traditional knowledge I find myself embarking on a similar journey into a somewhat unknown world. I think of the many challenges they may have faced during their voyages, circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean and beyond and I am reminded of their determination, strength and resilience in their search of a prosperous future for their descendants; one of abundance, rangatiratanga (self-determination) and freedom. All to which I have reaped (to some extent) today, many years later. I am full with vigor and encouraged by these deeds to follow with the same ambitions that they once did, in the hope of fulfilling a better future for my own descendants that are yet to come.

Although the tools of our ‘modern’ times are much different; for the wings of this bird is that of an Air New Zealand Boeing-777 - I am overwhelmed by a sense of curiosity of what to expect from this expedition. Going to the Capitol of the United States of America, to attend the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Meetings in Washington D.C was a far cry from my mind not too long ago (my girlfriend will attest to this). It has never been a desire of mine to go to the U.S.A, as a young Maaori from South Auckland the USA was an abstract destination I could only visit through a movie screen, or perhaps through the experience of others. But isn’t it fascinating, the unexpected turns that life tends to lead you down.

I have little knowledge of these two multilateral organizations [The World Bank and IMF] besides the little research I have done since being accepted onto this delegation to attend these meetings. My interest in finance and economics ended long ago in an unpleasant dispute with my 4th form Accounting and Economics teacher. Now here I am, picking the baton up and grateful to be part of the AYLI delegation along with 7 other talented young New Zealand leaders - on my way to attend the largest forum for global development, hosted by the two biggest fiscal organizations in the world. I am confident that this opportunity will open up a plethora of new learning’s, new ideals and insights that I will be able to bring back home to my communities. That is the ambition after all, a continuous search of knowledge to feather the nest.

I am prepared for this trip with an open mind and an open heart, and expect for my own values, ideals and paradigms to be challenged internally and externally. With entrenched cultural values and beliefs, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of where these hold up on the global stage amongst other entrenched minds, in a rapidly changing world.

Join me on this journey to see the world through this experience. I look forward to meeting interesting people who are doing ground breaking work in their field and communities, I hope to pick the brains of business and organizational leaders, governments officials, who in their work affect each and every one of our lives, be it on a small or large scale.

Lastly, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to every single individual (family and friends) that supported me to attend this trip. Your kindness and generosity is now my strength. I take you all with me on these proverbial wings and will sing our birdsong in this global development forum in search of the sweetest of fruits to bring back home to share.

Tihei, Mauri Ora!

All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Posted on October 2, 2017 and filed under World Bank / IMF 2017.