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Te whakaora i ō mātou tikanga: Bringing our values to life

Each year, Heartland is proud to welcome talented Māori and Pasifika rangatahi to join its Manawa Ako internship programme. In accordance with the Māori concept of ‘ako’ (to learn and to teach), the programme is designed to enable the interns to learn from their experience at Heartland, and for Heartland to learn from the interns – particularly in relation to the way in which we can continue to develop a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture and environment for Māori and Pasifika.

Following the work of the previous year’s cohort, interns from the 2020/2021 intake worked with New Zealand artist Shane Hansen to create a series of four murals that represent Heartland’s mātāpono (values). These are mahi tika (do the right thing), mahi tahi (be one team), mahi toa (have big ambition) and mahi tipu (be always evolving).

The meaning behind each value, its corresponding whakataukī (proverb) and symbolism has been carefully woven into the artworks which are now on display within our Teed Street, Newmarket, Auckland office and serve as reminders to uphold and live our mātāpono.

Mahi tika: Do the right thing

Whakataukī: Kia tika, kia pono. Do what’s right and true.

Symbol: Pātiki (flounder).

Do what’s right for your whānau and the wider community, even if that means fishing for flounder at night while others sleep.

This artwork symbolises the many obstacles we may face in order to make the right choices to meet our aspirations and the needs of those we serve. This is represented by the kōhine (girl) looking up at the mountain ahead of her. The korowai (cloak) around her portrays the responsibilities she carries of her whānau and the wider community as she ventures off on her challenging path.

Mahi tahi: Be one team

Whakataukī: He waka eke noa. We’re all in this together.

Symbol: Purapura whetū (stars).

Leverage the power of the team. If everyone in the waka is paddling and working together, it will go a lot faster and be a lot more efficient.

Everyone at Heartland has a part to play in our continued success. The hoe (paddles/oars) as the central focus in this artwork represents the coming together of all Heartland employees to paddle in the same direction. The blue and green ‘hands’ behind the hoe depict Ranginui and Papatūānuku, the Sky Father and Earth Mother in the creation story, demonstrating the need for us to acknowledge the world around us in order to grow.

Mahi toa: Have big ambition

Whakataukī: Tū whitia te hopo. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Symbol: Niho taniwha (teeth of the taniwha).

Have big ambitions. Like a chief’s lineage from the gods and the realm of mythology – if we can dream it, we can do it.

One of New Zealand’s native birds, the tūī often symbolises strength and resilience in Māori culture, with significant connection to tribal chiefs. In this piece, the tūī depicts the strength and courage required to face your fears or the unknown. The koru behind the manu (bird) signifies a new beginning – it is time for one to spread their wings and be ambitious in the pursuit of their goals.

Mahi tipu: Be always evolving

Whakataukī: Whāia te iti kahurangi. Strive for excellence.

Symbol: Poutama (steps/stairway).

Embrace learning and evolving, even when it feels challenging. The stepped pattern signifies the growth of people, striving ever upwards to prosperity.

This artwork represents growth. The blossom on the left signifies the beginning of our journey, with much growth ahead before we flourish. The three kete (baskets) of knowledge through the centre symbolise the way in which Heartland provides for its employees – in the same way the baskets were obtained in the pursuit of knowledge. Finally, the eels to the right, swimming both up and downstream, depict the long journey eels go on to find a suitable habitat. The larger eel in the bottom right corner represents the growth experienced by the eels through their journey, and the growth we too can experience as we continue to strive for excellence.

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