Shortly after receiving the prestigious Tuakiri EIT medal of distinction at EIT Hawke’s Bay’s graduation ceremony last week (Thursday/Friday, 28-29 March), Pauline Tangiora was encouraging her three-year-old mokopuna Te Tairāwhiti Eady to further his own education at EIT.
Viewing the presentation on a screen set up outside Napier’s Municipal Theatre, the lively toddler joined in the celebratory haka and waiata performed by EIT’s Te Ūranga Waka students. And Te Tairāwhiti has promised his nanny, a Mahia resident, that he will be going on to tertiary study at the institute she has served for so many years.
The capacity audience attending graduation saw the medal blessed by EIT kaumatua Matiu Eru and presented to Pauline by EIT Council chairman David Pearson.
The award was established two years ago to honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to EIT and the wider community and to mark the coming together of EIT Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti Polytechnic to establish EIT as the leading educator for the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay.
EIT chief executive Chris Collins pointed out that the Māori word tuakiri refers to a sense of identity, the essence of a person, something that was very deep within.
“The essence of the medal is captured in a proverb/whakatauki, Mate atu he tētē kura, ara mai rā he tētē kura,” he said. “As one chief passes, another lives on to lead.”
Of Rongomaiwahine descent and affiliated to Ngai Tāmānuhiri, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngati Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Whakatōhea and Te Uri o Waikaremoana, Pauline has been associated with EIT since its earliest years.
Her responsibilities have included tutoring in the Māori areas of nursing and health, serving on its council for three years and chairing its Māori consultative committee. For the past 30 years, she has also been EIT’s kuia.
At the time of EIT’s first incarnation as the Hawke’s Bay Community College, the then volunteer social worker was involved with her late husband John Tangiora, Heitia Hiha, Hiria Tumoana and other volunteers in supporting the community in the Napier suburb of Maraenui.
“Before he passed, John asked me not to forget that we hadn’t finished our work in Maraenui. The young people there, they needed an education, and there weren’t the opportunities for them.”
Working with Tuahine Joe Northover, Canon Wi Huata, the dean of the Māori studies faculty Dr Joseph Te Rito and others who have since passed, the couple supported the institute’s first principal, Dr John Harré, in encouraging Māori to enrol on educational programmes.
Deeply involved in progressing environmental, health and spiritual causes in the Māori and Pakeha worlds and in advising at many community and international events, Pauline has received many awards.
These include membership of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in 1986, the Queen’s Service Medal for community service in 1988, the New Zealand Commemoration Medal in 1990 and the Queen’s Service Order in 2001.
In accepting the Tuakiri medal, Pauline said the efforts of many people were continuing to bear fruit in the intergenerational success stories and EIT’s growing numbers of graduates.
In urging the young Te Tairāwhiti to look to his own education, she surmised: “That’s the age you catch them. If you encourage children in the early years they will later seek further knowledge in whatever field of endeavour they choose for themselves. ”