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Friday, June 16, 2006

Visit from Norm Hewitt

Today after lunch break we were fortunate to have former All Black and Dancing with the stars winner Norm Hewitt in to give a motivational speech to the kura. The entire school was seated in the chapel as Norm was welcomed with karanga by Kui Kataraina. Pā Josh Strickland had the honour of welcoming and whakatau of our guest as it was he who arranged the visit.

Norm began his speech in Te Reo Māori. A proud rendition of his pepeha was delivered, "... ko Takitimu te waka, ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi". This was to be the foundation of his kōrero. The importance of knowing who you are and where you come from.

He then spoke about making the right choices and in his words 'the 30 second' dilemma we face, especially as young Māori male. In one hand you can be successful and achieve your aspirations, or in the other - end up in prison. He gave an annecdote about a kaumatua who had given him advice. "Which will you choose, tika or teka"?. This was to be another of Norms strong statements. That if we want to be great Māori males we must be living Māori tikanga everyday of our lives. This is the tika that the old man referred to - the truth, the righteous path (Whaia te tika).

Norm then reflected upon his own upbringing to build a link between himself and the students. He was a former student of Te Aute College so he knew what is was like to attend a Māori boarding school. He was frank and stated without shame that he was bullied and then himself become a prolific bully. He recalled his childhood, where the environment was not unlike that of the Hekes in Once were Warriors. He realised that he was becoming like his father, and was continuing the same behaviour. On reflection he said that he learnt that living tikanga was the ability to refrain from physical violence especially in the home, breaking the cycle and being true Māori men by being good fathers and providers.

He remembers watching the rugby on t.v. at the age of 7 and saying to himself that one day he would become an All Black. Norm expressed the importance of having dreams and the power of the mind. In his words "the only thing that was gonna stop me from wearing the black jersey was myself". He took that same attitude to the Dancing with the Stars competition and came through with the desired result. "As soon as we started dancing I knew we were going to win", he stated confidently.

Norm concluded his speech with words of encouragement for the boys saying not to worry about the negativity that is hurled at Māori but to strive to make their dreams come true. He champions their future successes as leaders of this country - All Blacks, Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers or Politicians. Norm Hewitt has definitely weathered the storm and come out triumphant as a positive role model for Māori people and New Zealanders as a whole.


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