How Kiwi Lost Its Wings by Hana Weka

One day, Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest, was walking through the forest. He looked up at his children reaching for the sky and he noticed that they were starting to sicken, as bugs were eating them. He talked to his brother, Tanehokahoka, who called all of his children, the birds of the air together. Tanemahuta spoke to them.

“Something is eating my children, the trees. I need one of you to come down from the forest roof and live on the floor so that my children can be saved, and your home can be saved. Who will come?”

All was quiet, and not a bird spoke.

Tanehokahoka turned to Tui.

“E Tui, will you come down from the forest roof?”

Tui looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Tui looked down at the forest floor and saw the cold, dark earth and shuddered.

“Kao, Tanehokahoka, for it is too dark and I am afraid of the dark.”

All was quiet, and not a bird spoke.

Tanehokahoka turned to Pukeko.

“Pukeko, will you come down from the forest roof?”

Pukeko looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Pukeko looked down at the forest floor and saw the cold, damp earth and shuddered.

“Kao, Tanehokahoka, for it is too damp and I do not want to get my feet wet.”

All was quiet, and not a bird spoke.

Tanehokahoka turned to Pipiwharauroa.

“Pipiwharauroa, will you come down from the forest roof?”

Pipiwharauroa looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Pipiwharauroa looked around and saw his family.

“Kao, Tanehokahoka, for I am busy at the moment building my nest.”

All was quiet, and not a bird spoke. And great was the sadness in the heart of Tanehokahoka, for he knew, that if one of his children did not come down from the forest roof, not only would his brother lose his children, but the birds would have no home.

Tanehokahoka turned to Kiwi.

“E kiwi, will you come down from the forest roof?”

Kiwi looked up at the trees and saw the sun filtering through the leaves. Kiwi looked around and saw his family. Kiwi looked at the cold damp earth. Looking around once more, he turned to Tanehokahoka and said,

“I will.”

Great was the joy in the hearts of Tanehokahoka and Tanemahuta, for this little bird was giving them hope. But Tanemahuta felt that he should warn kiwi of what would happen.

“E kiwi, do you realise that if you do this, you will have to grow thick, strong legs so that you can rip apart the logs on the ground and you will lose your beautiful coloured feathers and wings so that you will never be able to return to the forest roof.
You will never see the light of day again.”

All was quiet, and not a bird spoke.

“E kiwi, will you come down from the forest roof?”

Kiwi took one last look at the sun filtering through the trees and said a silent goodbye. Kiwi took one last look at the other birds, their wings and their coloured feathers and said a silent goodbye. Looking around once more, he turned to Tanehokahoka and said,

“I will.”

Then Tanehokahoka turned to the other birds and said,

“E Tui, because you were too scared to come down from the forest roof, from now on you will wear the two white feathers at your throat as the mark of a
coward.

Pukeko, because you did not want to get your feet wet, you will live forever in the swamp.
Pipiwharauroa, because you were too busy building your nest, from now on you will never build another nest again, but lay your eggs in other birds nests.

But you kiwi, because of your great sacrifice, you will become the most well known and most loved bird of them all.”

Rata’s Waka

The Legend of Rata’s Waka by Hana Weka

Long ago Rata wandered sadly along the bank of the stream. He thought of his father who had died.

“I must bring him home,” thought Rata, “but how am I going to do that?”

He stared at the trees in the forest and said to himself, “I need a waka, a canoe that will be big enough to hold many warriors.”

He walked through the forest looking for a suitable tree. “Miro… rimu… kahikatea… Tawa tanekaha … totora. Yes., totora it shall be.”

Early the next morning Rata returned to the forest and chopped down the totora tree. He left it where it fell and went home to rest. The next day, when he returned, the tree trunk was no longer lying on the ground. There were no chips of wood lying around nor any twigs or leaves. Rata stared at the trees around him and with a start, he recognised the totora tree that he had chopped down yesterday.

The totora was growing tall and proud again as though it had never been touched. Rata was puzzled and a little fearful.

He took up his axe and began to chop down the totora tree again. The chips flew into the air and after a while the totora fell to the ground once more. Rata trimmed the tree trunk. He stripped off the bark and when the night came he returned home.

The next morning when he arrived to haul the log out of the forest Rata could not find it anywhere. All he found was the totora tree standing tall and silent.

For the third Time Rata chopped the tree ~ He trimmed it. He shaped it. He began to scoop out the inside of the canoe from the trunk. When night fell, he left the half-formed canoe and returned home.

Later that night, he took down his fighting spear.. crept out of his house and quietly stole back into the forest. As he approached he could hear strange singing and he could see light shining through the trees. He held his breath and crept closer.

Then he stared in amazement.

Birds were scurrying backwards and forwards, carrying leaves and twigs in their beaks, thousands of insects swarmed all over the log replacing chips and filling up the hollow. And as he watched, the half-formed canoe disappeared and was replaced with a smooth trunk that glowed red in the light. Then the birds scurried around the trunk pushing twigs, leaves and branches on to the rapidly forming tree.
Branches that he had hacked and tossed away so carelessly were slowly dragged by hundreds of little creatures towards the fallen totora. Every piece of bark that Rata had flicked off with his axe was hunted for and taken back to the tree.

All the while, the strange singing floated in the air above the forest. Rata could not bear to be hidden any longer. He stood up and stepped into the light. At once the singing stopped and the light went out. Rata was alone.

“Come back,” he whispered. “Come back. I am sorry I cut down the totora tree. Please forgive me. I did not mean to harm it. I just wanted to build a canoe to go and fetch my father. My father is dead and I have to go and find him. Please come back. I can help you lift up the totora tree. I’ll do anything you want to make up for what I have done.”

He began to lift the heavy tree and then all at once he felt it move, turn slowly, lift off the ground and then settle on the stump he had cut it from. Rata put his arms around the tree and said, “Please forgive me, totora, I did not think I was harming you when I cut you down.”

And as he held on to the tree, he felt thousands of little legs run over his body and on to the tree trunk. Rata shut his eyes for a moment and then very slowly bent down until he was able to pick up the little creatures and lift them into the tree.

When the dawn came, Rata was alone. The totora tree was whole again. Every little creature had disappeared.

“I shall never cut down another tree again,” said Rata

“You may,” said a voice close to him. “But you must ask Tane Mahuta, god of the forest and birds, for permission. He created all these trees and birds for Papatuanuku the Earth Mother. Ask him when you want to use any of it.”

Rata turned to see who was speaking. There was no one beside him. With a sigh, Rata turned to go home promising that he would not disturb the totora tree any more.

His heart leapt when he saw a war canoe sitting on logs that stretched in an endless line through the forest.

“Mine?” he whispered.

“Yes,” replied the voice.

“Rata’s waka.”

 

A song created word for word by a dream…

I have amazing dreams they often have a clear narrative, they’re colourful, and occasionally the effects are better than what I’ve seen on tv.

But this dream was unusual. And I wonder if the reader has experienced something similar?

I dreamed the scene opened on a female avatar in a gorgeous video game. She was on an overlook, the scene had every colour you can find in a Southern New Zealand landscape. It was beautiful. She was up high, I could only see the back of her, but she was looking at  road winding into shadows below. She started to sing to the road.

What was strange was her words were clear, articulate and organised,  that part of myself that watches my dreams, me,  was taken back. And though still asleep I become conscious. I let the song play out and fought my way out of my dreamstate so I could record the tune into my mobile and sketch down the words.

I didn’t capture it all, I remember the first and last chorus and verses but couldn’t remember what fell in the middle.

But here is a couple of the choruses and one of the verses… as sung by my dream self:

(Chorus:)
remind me, remind me, remind me, what I know
the path I walk is who I’ll be
and push ahead I go

Maybe our steps won’t last forever
for all things come to a still
but each step if truth it tracks
then the echo of them will

(Chorus:)
remind me, remind me, remind me, nothing is gone
all things imprint on the road
and it goes on and on”

 

Test-Ed and Good to Go…

WHAT I DO
My organisation; Test-Ed transforms young people between 18-24 so that they break through perceived limitations to learning and get employed in their dream careers.
testedFairfaxAteam
 
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
These young people I’m training get their first jobs making over $60K without University degrees, no debt and taking no more than 16 weeks. Here are some examples…
 
Malcolm
When I first met Malcolm, he had just spent two and half years of unpaid laboring work, because his family and disability service provider didn’t believe he was capable of more. Malcolm has mild autistic spectrum and a lifelong dream of working in IT. Out of fear of discouragement, he kept his dream hidden from his family including his studying at TAFE and completing Certificates 2 and 3 in Digital Media and IT. After completing his training, today he works as a Quality Engineer doing automation testing in APIs and UI for Qantas. A few weeks ago he shared with me that if it wasn’t for our training program, he would have committed suicide. That what made a world of difference for him was for the first time being recognised and treated as intelligent. His family is proud of him now.
 
John
John came from two generations of parents who had never held down a full-time job. He was different, he wanted to a job and he wanted it in IT. He was extremely shy and work placement programs put him into factory labour, believing that would be the level of his capability. He’d keep his head down when he spoke and because he wouldn’t look at you, the IT support role that he wanted was considered out of the question, by educational and recruitment professionals around him. I offered him the chance to learn how to communicate before his working day began and he left his home at 5.30 am in the mornings to come to be coached in handling people and technical issues. One week after his training with me, he landed a full-time technical support job with Tyro Payments. The ‘professionals’ were speechless.
 
Brendan
Brendan (like so many in school) was bullied, had anxiety issues and attempted suicide as a youth. With the help of a friend, he turned himself around and later came across our program at Test-Ed. He had always loved everything to do with computers, coding, testing for the unknown and found that our methods for learning really worked for him. Today he’s got a full-time job working for Fairfax Digital as a Test Automation engineer.
 
WHY DOES IT WORK?
I and other switched on recruitment professionals know that Australia and New Zealand does not have a youth unemployment problem. What we do have is a youth unemployable problem!
 
I believe that problem has come about because of a mismatch between education and the market. Our education system was designed in the industrial revolution around a factory process framework. On top of that, the current business models of Higher Education have revenue streams that are based on course duration; i.e. the longer a student stays the more they pay so there is no incentive to pare back bloated or irrelevant content.
 
Test-Ed challenges the status quo of what it means to be educated – particularly around higher education. Our new education model involves training unemployed youth, (usually marginalised), in Code, Test and Enterprise skills for various software development related roles in High Tech’ companies.

enterpriseskills2

 
And we train them for free for 12-16 weeks. Our graduates have competed and secured roles usually reserved only for degree qualified candidates in major companies like Suncorp, Fairfax Digital, Tyro and others. And we’ve placed these trainees in roles within 1-4 weeks of completing their training. How many universities can claim that?
 
What if, all young people could spend considerably less time in University, be better skilled, little to no debt and get a job a few weeks after course completion?
 
I care and others care too, Atlassian, ex-Googlers, Fairfax Media, Suncorp, SafetyCulture, Tyro Payments, Testing Times (See community page of https://test-ed.com.au.) Industry professionals from these companies train and coach our youth in their technical, enterprise and quality engineering skills or trial them for jobs in their organisation.
And you can join this community of supporters too and help us build momentum. Our plan is to scale up and train 60 plus young people this year and 180 plus next year. If you are inspired and want to be part of the community, I want to connect with you. Help me provide an alternative path to young people to jobs in high calibre companies without entering into debt, wasting time and bring value to their IT community.
 
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
We need companies trialing our trainee graduates for roles. Suncorp gave us a go and was astounded. They ranked my graduates on their internship trials as outperforming the university grads they hosted at the same time. These young people could skip Suncorp’s graduate entry program, saving Suncorp months of training and upskilling time. They offered half of our trainees roles in their organisation.
 
TEST-ED AND GOOD TO GO
Understand companies hire our trainees not out of charity but because they have hard to find skills both in code, quality engineering, and enterprise skills.
 
Our young trainees are worthy of help as they bring value to the young and growing IT community – the Start-Ups. Test-Ed trains these young unemployed Australians for free, but they, in turn, provide free test and coding services for the IT Start-Up community thus helping Sydney’s young IT sector grow and hence making more jobs available for others in the future.
 
ITecosystem
In the process, the IT Start-Up community provides a wonderful learning environment since Start-ups have no time, no patience, no money, no administration, continually changing. That means trainees learn in a state of chaos. Perfect. It provides real-world challenges in enterprise skills and firsthand experience in running projects end to end; client meetings, analysing business requirements, specifying and designing solutions, coding, testing, support and finally reporting. 
 
Placement fees from mature companies provide us the ability to continue to train and provide free training to the youth to support these IT start-ups. As do profits from our commercial training courses.
 
Let’s repeat that Test-Ed not only provides free training to the youth but helps Startups grow. As they grow they employ more people, hence they make more jobs. Our youth so far have exposed security breaches that would allow an entire database to be downloaded of client tax information, safeguarded a job portals revenue stream by identifying the disengagement problems of their users, identified serious issues in a game that overheated phones, discovered how to gamify an app to get free money, did an Accessibility project that should have taken 4 weeks in 4 days for Australia’s oldest newspaper chain…
 
Test-Ed trainees bring value.
 
WHY WE DO IT
The ‘why’ behind the passion I and others I include in my community do what we do, is in our core beliefs:
 
We believe in a debt-free education for youth. When you put young people into long-term debt you put a millstone around their neck and the family that supports them.
 
 • We believe ‘Limitation’ is not an impediment to placing youth into IT jobs historically belonging to degree-qualified only. We make that point by training the ‘least’ in a community; those impacted by poverty, abuse or attitudes of prejudice to disprove outdated methodologies and attitudes current in higher education.
 
 • We believe in relevant intelligent education. We accelerate students into the IT job market by active engagement in the start-up IT community, the wider IT market and training the young people in relevant, current skills.
 
 • We believe that humans learn and work best as part of a community. We’ve seen youth benefit from adding value to the IT Start-Up community, by creating personal connections, first-hand experience, pride in work well-done and understanding how businesses work.
 
 • We believe that people are happier when they get to work out what roles fit them best. We’ve seen that many real-world insights and varied experiences are required for youth to find the career that best fits their talents, passion, and nature. When people are in the roles that match their nature, skills, and talent – they are happy. Happy people equals happy communities.
 
 • We believe in the need for the ability to play well with others. We’ve seen that frequent opportunities to practice soft skills need to be integral in youth education in order to meet the challenges of the future economy. 
 
WHAT AM I DOING NEXT
By the end of 2019, I want to have trained 240 young people AND put them into work. If you want to disrupt how we educate young people, for the better, connect with me on ckarena@test-ed.com.au.

Breaking through a limitations…

I gave a talk on Wednesday at ThoughtWorks for the Sydney Tester’s Meetup on those key principles I use in my training programme to train and place marginalized young people into high tech jobs. Jobs that usually go to University Graduates,  not instead to those with no degrees and are considered the least in the community.

“Our time is running out”

indigenous-art-gallery-exhibition

I want to share something it was said by David Mowaljarlai, Ngarinyin Lawman. (Australian Elder) I kept a transcript of his talk from some 20 years ago.

I hope it’s not dry or unrelated to you the reader.  I think through the sharing of other cultures you will see more clearly your own, and how much the past is repeating today.

 David’s people set up a Bush university in Australia for people to learn directly from them, these are the words he’s spoke introducing the school.

We old people in the Law, there’s not many of us left now. We’re all dying off, or been killed off by alcohol and disease and heartbreak because we’re still not in our country, our proper place.

 Our gift will give you your meaning, your belonging.  We have to give it to your now before the time runs out.  For a long, long time we have been trying to give our gift to you but we are always blocked.

 We’re blocked by media because they don’t know how to talk to us.  We’re blocked by university people because they lock up our knowledge.  All our evidence has been locked up in universities and museums.  Doctoral people write down our evidence in languages that are too hard for anybody to understand.  They’ve written it up so that the meaning is lost.  Our gift is not just systems on paper.  It is the experience of life. 

 We’re blocked by politicians who are frightened we might lock them out of their power over us.  Their fear stops them from listening to us properly, Lawmen to Lawmen.

 We’re blocked by Gardia law because the rules of law shut up our mouths and only let us speak through Gardia lawyers in courtrooms in cities.  Our gift is lost this way because lawyers have to obey Gardia thinking. 

 We’re blocked by Gardia economic development because their mineral wealth is in our country and they don’t want to be stopped from getting it out.  And pastoralists who let their cattle run all over our sacred space, cutting up the country with their hooves, spoiling our sacred waters, killing off our animals, our totems, our identity.  This cattle mob block us from our Law sites, our paintings, where we camp and do our ceremony.  They take Gardia tourists to our sites without our permission  – without knowing sacred meaning.

 We old people want to tell you this.  We want to give your our gift so you can belong properly in this country and not be afraid.  We want you to fill up your emptiness with meaning so you can respect us and our country.  We’ve been trying for a long time. This is what we want to before our time is up.

 We want to teach our young people their meaning, their belonging so they stop getting lost to emptiness and alcohol.  We want to teach Gardia young people so they stop killing themselves and getting lost too.

 We want to teach all Australians about their belonging in this country so they stop destroying their meaning before it its too late. They’re ignorant of what they’re doing because they don’t know.  They can’t understand how to relate to land, and how land looks after them if they don’t learn these things.  We want to teach them that respect.

 We want to leave you our heritage.  Not in university papers that nobody reads or understands.  We want to teach you in our country so you experience what we know.

 We can’t do this while Gardia keep making laws and protests and arguments to keep us out of our proper place. They just run us out of time doing this.  We know what we want to do, and we know we have to start our important work now before its too late and we’re dead gone.  Everybody will suffer, really suffer if we die before we can give you our gift…….

 We Ngarinyin have a vision for our country and it is our gift.  Bush university is one of the big ideas we want to start. 

 Already we have filmed a lot of our sacred places and our ceremony so after we’re gone our children and you have that evidence.  We have already started taking people from the cities and overseas into our country for them to get their meaning. 

 We want to develop our own communications station in our country so everybody can talk to us directly, not through somebody else.  There are people in American, and Germany and Canada trying to contact us to learn from us.  We want to teach them.

 Our story is being written up in art. This is starting to go out to all the world. We’ve been broadcasting our radio for everyone to hear. We’re speaking at places where Gardia come to listen at seminars and conferences.  We’re talking everywhere to tell people about Ngarinyin culture, Ngarinyin stories, Ngarinyin meaning.  Gardia are really enjoying filling up with these stories.

 We’re doing all this so we can start up our Bush University.  White people are crying out to learn about our culture, and we cry because we’re blocked from teaching.

 …The country is not going anywhere.  The minerals are not going anywhere.  The paintings are not going anywhere. There’s plenty of time left for them.  Only we are going somewhere.  Our time is running out.

Response to a racist troll…

Context: Response made to a British white supremacist justifying genocide and theft of indigenous land.

The idea that all human beings were into conquering and killing is one of the things that White Supremacists have used to justify genocide, rape, and massive theft. And I’m guessing any supremacist of any colour would feel the same; saying that it’s human nature, I say; they say that to justify their own traits of greed and pride.

You can glory in the genocide of the millions of deaths that the British were responsible for, but much of the early deaths were due to the disease that he spread, often deliberately, more than his capability at war. At War the British when it came to the Maori were cowards.

Primarily the British went into battle with the Maori outnumbering them three to one. But they died usually 50 Brits to 1 Maori. It was a complete shock to their idea of White superiority.

Here are some of the causality lists as a result of battles between the British and Maori:

Battle of Puketekauere/Onukukaitara just outside Waitara Taranaki
Approx. 400 British troop’s v 130 Maori.
British losses = 60+ dead – Maori losses = 5 dead

Battle of Te Ngutu o Te Manu west of Normanby Taranaki
Approx. 360 British troops v 60 Maori
British losses = 50+ dead – Maori losses= 3 dead

Battle of Moturoa north of Wanganui
Approx. 400 British troops’ v 150 Maori
British losses 50+ dead – Maori 1 dead

Battle of Gate Pa just outside Tauranga
Approx. 1700 British troops’ v approx. 230 Maori
British losses over 100 dead – Maori losses believed to be 15 dead

The list of battles could go on and on with only a few occasions where the British fared better than Maori.

Maori beat those with ‘superior’ weaponry with smarter tactics, intelligence based on research and a greater understanding of the human nature at that time. Head-to-head, was the British ‘better at war’ against the Maori? Obviously not.

Am I suggesting the Maori are a ‘superior’ race? No, I’m not. There’s only one race; Human and Maori contain the flaws and virtues of the collective state of being human. Some Maori tribes like those in the South and Chatham islands are incredibly peaceful ready to die rather than shed human blood, some were once warlike but changed to become world trailblazers in peaceful movements like Parihaka (which later influenced Gandhi and King), some were incredibly brutal in war, some compassionate; feeding and caring for the British wounded even after the most bloody of battles and some tribes were led by land and glory seeking assholes.

But in your case, anyone HUMAN would not glory in the genocide of other humans as a badge of honour. That’s mainly about being an ignorant dickhead.