In my view, the challenge facing iwi development is not about money, or resources. The key challenge facing iwi development at this time is meaninglessness. That is, iwi members naturally wish to know how does participation in my iwi bring value and benefits to my life? This problem is compounded when the opportunities for participation in iwi life remain few. For many the only opportunity to participate is at tangihanga. On too many other occasions, iwi members witness poor behavior, bickering and conflict when attending meetings at their marae. Hence, for many iwi members participation in their iwi is meaningless for very little value is offered to them. Of course, there are exceptions to this as some iwi do have positive activities taking place. However, on the whole, this is true for at least part of the time. The question remains - why should I participate in my iwi? What value and benefits can I gain from participating?
Altenatively, there is the committed iwi member who participates and contributes no matter how difficult things become. Sometimes iwi activities can indeed be mana diminishing rather than mana enhancing. Yet that person still returns to the iwi committee meetings, still attends to the tasks that need to be done. Why is that come iwi members never attend iwi activities whereas others remain deeply committed?
We have a task to attend to - and that is to turn around iwi life so that it is positive, enhancing and value creating in the lives of iwi members.