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  • Writer's pictureWellington District Māori Wardens

Tāmati Cairns acknowledged by Māori Wardens

Retiring Chair of the Wellington District Māori Council Matua Tāmati Cairns was presented with an Executive Citation on Tuesday by the Wellington District Māori Wardens for services to their kaupapa as District Council Chair from 2016 to 2021.

Mr Cairns said, "thank you for continuing a long history of kaupapa in our Māori communities. It's not an easy job to be out in the rain, to be in malls, to support families." He backed Māori Wardens of Te Whanganui-ā-Tara to determine their own support structure within the framework of the Māori Community Development Act 1962. In his capacity as Chair of the Wellington District Māori Council, Mr Cairns signed-off applications for Wardens to become warranted by the Minister for Māori Development.

Mr Cairns recalled the earliest example of Māori Wardens in his own life saying, "the Wardens were established by the hapū groups country-wide. And it was a Māori principle to look after themselves. In the case of growing up in Ruatāhuna, my Koroua and Sir Pou Temara's Koroua were the two Wardens at the time and we're going back to the 1950s. And of course the only time they seemed to do anything is when people got too drunk and too disorderly - the two of them went to sort out the problem. They even had a jail in Ruatāhuna. If anybody got into trouble and needed to cool-off, they got put in the attic of a barn back in those days."

District Wardens spokesperson Gabriel Tupou said, "Matua Tāmati is a valued part of our community, particularly in the Hutt Valley, the Wellington scene and his people of Ngāi Tūhoe. He brings a lot of insights and wisdom to the office. And he carries himself with humility, patience and mana - the hallmarks of a Kaumātua and Rangatira."

Photo: District Commander Gabriel Tupou, Jonas Malmanche of the WDMC, Kaumātua Dr Kara Puketapu, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Matua Tāmati Cairns at Waiwhetū Marae.

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