On Friday 15 October was preparation day for the 2021 AGM proceedings with whānau gathering in small numbers due to the motu being in alert level mode. This didn’t stop whānau that were present from getting stuck in and making the two days a huge success from mowing lawns, preparing kai, whaikorero, karanga, technology and choosing appropriate waiata to reflect Koatatanga over the two days.

In the evening the kawe mate took place, a memorial ceremony where iwi can acknowledge and express their affections and grief for a whānau member who has passed away. The tikanga for having your picture on the wall in our tari is to go through this wonderful process beforehand.

Aunty Tiro Paul and Aunty Bobbie Teariki opened with a karanga to pay tribute as Melanie McGregor and Kathy Davis entered the whare with a photo of their brother Richard Fluman Hippolite on behalf of their whānau accompanied by Anthony deThierry to present their whaikorero.

The poignant time gave everyone the opportunity to remember Richard by sharing stories. Whānau stood and reflected on this big man with joy, talking about his life, the ups and the downs as he battled illness and the place he still holds in their hearts and memories.

“This is a healing way that we can continue to process our grief and it is encouraged,” said Michael Elkington, during his whaikōrero to whānau in attendance.

The kawe mate was completed with a pao from Janis de Thierry, in place of hariru due to the pandemic restrictions and was then followed by a beautiful kai.  Catering over the two days was under capable hands of Rangi Pā (led by Hayley Pemberton & Jodi Kohu) supported by some very smart looking rangatahi in their Koata branded aprons and masks. And this time is a chance to show off some of our traditional delicacies.

The following day whānau gathered again in Kākati for the AGM followed by Hui-a-Iwi. Many trustees and whānau who couldn’t be there physically made the most of the Live Stream option to take part in the proceedings. Kaimahi from the tari worked hard preparing for the event and making it a success alongside whānau which showed through the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Special tributes were paid to outgoing Chair/Trustee Joanie Wilson who encouraged those candidates who stood for Trustee positions she said, “Keep up your efforts as we need whānau who are willing and able to step up for these important roles that guide us into the future”.  

The other outgoing Chair this year is from Te Kaunihera Kaumātua. Pirihira Paul chaired the Kaunihera for a number of years. Maria Robinson was also acknowledged for her contributions to Ngāti Koata in particular Te Kaunihera Kaumātua.

Nadia Keogh was acknowledged for her first term on the Board and Ngawai Webber for her new role as Chair of Te Kaunihera Kaumātua.

Justin Carter, GM paid tribute also saying, “I would like to commend the great work of the Trust’s team of kaimāhi along with the ongoing contributions and support from our team of contractors, iwi representatives and committee reps who uphold the mana of Ngāti Koata in all that they do”.

He also announced the trustees who were successful in the elections process Kyle Edmonds, Nadia Keogh and Zealan Simpkins as alternate.