Mauri Tū Mauri Ora

By Muriel Tunoho, E tū Co-President
Muriel Tunoho

Ko te pae tawhiti whāia kia tata

Ko te pae tata whakamaua kia tīna!

Bring those distant horizons closer to you

Cherish those that you attain!

Tēnā koutou katoa.

Within each of us, tangible and intangible, there is a lifeforce – in te ao Māori this is called ‘mauri’. It’s a concept that’s deeply important to who and where we are.

‘Mauri tū mauri ora’ literally means ‘the alert life force begets life’. It’s about standing tall with strength and courage, feeling confident and positive. When our taha wairua (spiritual), taha hinengaro (mental health), taha tinana (physical), and taha whānau (relationships) are strong, our wellbeing will thrive and flourish, too.

There is a clear and important connection between this concept and the concept of Decent Work. When workers are confident and empowered, the benefits reach far and wide. It’s about having a strong collective voice, keeping work safe, secure, and well paid.
To turn Decent Work into a reality for everyone, we need these aspirational visions that build cohesive and connected workplaces and communities. When workers truly feel heard, it increases the respect they feel and the ownership they have of their mahi. It’s the key to building effective and productive workplaces that truly value the output of workers.

There simply isn’t a way to do this through an individualistic lens – it’s all about the power of the collective. To truly improve things, we need to grab the opportunities for unity and inclusiveness with both hands.

This is for the benefit of everyone. Inequality is a burden on us all, and so when we take the people who are struggling along with us, and lift them up, we all reap the rewards.

The future of Decent Work in Aotearoa will be driven by strong and empowered communities. Creating opportunities for work, education, and meaningful lives in all corners of our country will ease the pains caused by an economy built around exploiting the very people who make the world turn – the workers.

And of course, the strongest communities we can be involved in as workers are our unions. I am so proud of the work that E tū does every day to enhance the mana of all workers in Aotearoa. ‘Mauri tū mauri ora’ is not just a handy tip, it’s a call to action, and we are rising to the challenge, together.

By Sharryn R. Te Atawhai Barton, the convenor of Te Runanga o E tū

“Mahia te mahi, hei painga mo te iwi”

Te Puea Herangi

The above saying is attributed to Te Puea Herangi, who encouraged her people to mahi for the benefit of us all and that of Te Taiao – the natural world that surrounds us. It reminds us of our interconnectedness. For, if the people are not well, they will not be able to contribute to the wellbeing and maintenance of the natural environment within which we all live.

It is understood in contemporary times that we work so we are able to provide for our families and are able to be active participants in our communities.

It is a core component of our humanness to be able to provide for and nurture both the people and the natural environment from which we receive both spiritual and physical sustenance.

Decent Work should embrace the holistic ethos of reciprocity, that maintains our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

Sharryn R. Te Atawhai Barton