Farewell to Jozie Karanga – visionary leader

We said goodbye to a loved member of our wider whānau recently – Jozie Karanga (Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou), MNZM.

Hāere koe e Kui ki, Te Manawa Tawhē kaua e hurihia, Haere koe ki te Pikopiko i Whiti, Piki ake ki te Tihi a Mānono, Ki te Wharekura o Matangireia, Haere e Kui, Haere, haere, haere, Ka oti!

Jozie was a visionary with an unwavering faith in “the greatness of our people and the strength of whānau and hapū.”

Staunch advocate of E Tū Whānau

A founding member of the E Tū Whānau Māori Reference Group, Jozie was on board with our kaupapa from the word go.  She remained one of its staunchest advocates.

During a conversation with film maker Emma Robinson, Jozie was clear that a strong whānau was fundamental to the health of a community and all who are part of it.

“….That’s certainly been [the focus of] my life – to ensure that we remain connected as a whānau within the haukainga and to our marae and our hapū. [To ensure] that my mokopuna know who they are, they know where they belong, that they are connected to their whenua.

“That’s been the drive of my life – that my mokopuna, in their lifetime, will be able to stand proud on their own whenua, and to be who we are. That is the way that our people should be.”

Lifetime of service

Jozie started her career as a teacher, became a regional education advisor and had extensive experience in capacity building within Māori social and health services and in developing the skills of whānau working within them.

She sat on the board of Te Papa Museum from 2001 to 2007 during which time  she made a significant contribution to the development of Māori protocols and exhibitions of taonga Māori.  She was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her leadership of whānau and community development in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Jozie was Pouarahi (CEO) of Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa, an indigenous qualifications authority working nationally and internationally to strengthen cultural sustainability for indigenous peoples, for nine years.

Absolute comittment to her people

Her friend and current Pouarahi, Moerangi Rakaupai says the core of Jozie’s belief system was her absolute commitment to her whānau, hapū and iwi.

“Her face was seen amongst her people – kanohi kitea.  She was on many of the committees.  She could be seen at many, if not all, of the celebrations on her marae.  She would attend many of the tangihanga. She saw this as a sacred duty.

“Jozie had a great mind and a wonderful way of expressing her thoughts. People would stop and listen when she started to talk.  She could capture hearts and minds with just a few words.”

“She was a defender of the Māori people, a great defender of the indigenous mind and the struggles of indigenous people the world over.

“Jozie also felt a great sense of duty towards future generations.  The enormous filial love she had for mokopuna was obvious but her intelligence, her insight and her love went way beyond that.   Generations from now, her work will come to fruition.”

“…the E Tū Whānau kaupapa focuses on the greatness of Māori whānau and our innate ability to find within ourselves the resolution to any issues we may have. That includes the pressing issue of violence towards whānau. It is unacceptable within Te Ao Māori and the Charter of Commitment states that loud and clear. Te mana kaha o te whānau!”  – Jozie Karanga.