Tā Hemi Henare section for Ngā Manu Kōrero nationals?

updated By D'Angelo Martin

Te Tai Tokerau Ngā Manu Kōrero organisers are calling for a new bi-lingual section to be included at the national Ngā Manu Kōrero competition.

Over the last two days, the competition has been underway at Northland College in Kaikohe.

Speakers have stood and given their whakaaro and perspectives about a wide range of contemporary topics of concern among rangatahi and the wider community.

After the passing of prominent Northland Leader Sir Hemi Henare in 1989, a plea was made by his widow Lady Rose and whānau to include a new section to honour his oratory skills in both te reo Māori and English.

Since then the Tā Hemi Henare section has been included in the Te Taitokerau competition.   

Awatea Kake who was a speaker in the Tā Hemi section representing TKKM o Te Rāwhiti Roa says the section aims "to exceed and reach the same level of greatness as Tā Hemi Henare, to master both languages, to walk in both worlds".

Now there's a push from the committee, judges and people of Te Taitokerau for the section to be included in the national Ngā Manu Kōrero competition, now entering its 54th year, which is to be held in Manawatū this year.

Ngāhuia Harawira, who was judging the competition, says, "This is an amazing section that we have here only in Northland, but if it was to venture and get given the opportunity to be on a national stage then we, the Northland region, are again acknowledged which I have no problem at all with. 

"But first, it'll be best to ask the family, as they will guide us in the right direction".

Henare was a descendant of many mountains and from many regions, not just from Northland, according to Hirini Henare who is a part of the Henare whānau.

"He wasn't just from the North, he also had links to Tainui, to Ngāti Porou to Ngāti Kahungunu as well."

His vision and one of his many skills were to articulate well in both the Māori and Pākehā world.

"He had two sides to him, he was well known in the Māori world but learned in the ways of the Englishmen also.  If this get's approved on to the national stage, our family will be more than happy to support the cause."

A decision is yet to be made by the organisers of the national competition.