“During the conference I had the pleasure of meeting Cyril Talbot, Kaumatua from Ngāti Whātua. Cyril was present when the first Playcentre opened in Auckland at the Orākei
Marae. At the closing of conference on the Sunday Cyril honoured Playcentre by gifting us with a tokotoko once owned by a chief of Ngāti Whātua.
This gift was given to help us in our mahi over the next year as we consider the future direction of the organisation and develop our strategic plan.
Normal Māori process would have meant that the tokotoko would be returned to Ngāti Whātua at conference in 2009; unfortunately with the death of Cyril Talbot during the year we were not sure of the process. After approaching Matt Maihi from Orākei Marae about the return of the tokotoko we were informed that the family would like to leave this taonga with Playcentre for as long as we continue our work. If at any time the NZPF ceased this work, they knew the tokotoko would find its way back to the marae and Cyril Talbot’s whanau. I would like to thank Cyril’s whānau for this gift which will always have a place of honour at the top table at national meetings attended by the Federation President”.
Marion knew this was not only significant for Playcentre – it became significant for her too.
It took a while for Te Rākau to settle in to Playcentre life and getting ‘him’ to national meetings wasn’t always a simple process. Let’s just say he would be at all national meetings, but he didn’t always travel with the copresident… Over the years, he has become a true taonga for the co-presidents and the Trustee Board, attending all Trustee Board meetings as well as Playcentre national meetings and hui. In recent years, the Trustees have shared the care of Te Rākau, who has affectionately become known as ‘the old man’. He has come to represent our partnership and has (physically) supported the copresidents – particularly on this journey.
More on that another day.
“Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu” As the whakatauki says “although it is small, it is a treasure”
This pounamu was gifted to the Tāngata Tiriti Trustees at conference 2013 by members of Tāngata Tiriti House.
The Trustee Board is currently made up of six members. Such a small number of our overall membership – 450 centres and their members, Centre life members, Association life
members, Federation life members and the newly formed Friends of Playcentre! A small number of our overall members, but as guardians of Playcentre philosophy our Trustees
play a vital role.
This taonga comes to every Trustee board meeting and national meetings to remind us that our work is for you; our centre members. That every decision should come back to what is
best for us all. In between meetings a Trustee takes him home, so that reminder is there still with us. He sits on my desk so I can mirimiri (rub) or talk to him as I do my Playcentre mahi.
The Pikopiko was gifted by Matiu Rangihuna (Dean of Māori Studies at Christchurch Polytech) in the early 1990’s. He chose the symbol of an emerging fern frond as representing the everlasting component of the education we provide for our tamariki. Playcentre had supported the birth of the Kohanga Reo movement and Matiu was impressed by Playcentre’s bi-cultural commitment.