The Observance service serves as a moment of reflection, marking the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) on 6 February 1840.
Pania shared with students and staff her journey in forming the SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) movement alongside her cousins. She described the prejudice that she and her cousins had faced for their age, ethnicity and gender and how they persevered to protect their tūrangawaewae (ancestral homeland) of Ihumātao in Māngere from being seized for housing development.
Pania stated that the Treaty, as the founding document of New Zealand, is a cornerstone of our society and played a pivotal role for not just Māori but all people of New Zealand by facilitating immigration and contributing to how major Government decisions are made today.
She explained that the SOUL movement was simply a product of Treaty and one way that she and her cousins honour the Treaty today. Pania concluded her address by encouraging others to "think beyond Waitangi Day" and, like her and her cousins, honour the treaty by questioning,
"Am we being the treaty partners that our ancestors envisioned us to be?"
The College thanks Pania and her family for attending our Waitangi Observance service and imparting an important lesson to students and staff.