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My Friend Maia

Georgia Tiatia Fa'atoese Latu

Recently, I had the privilege of watching one of my best friends on stage giving a speech at our Regional Ngā Manu Kōrero Speech Competition in Murihiku (Invercargill). As I watched her practice and then later present on stage, talking about poi, whilst holding a pair of Pōtiki Poi, I was super proud of her. I know it's not easy standing up in front of an audience, as lately I have had to do it a number of times. I have had to build my confidence and learn things, such as; how to project my voice, how to stand tall, how to smile, (even when I'm shaking in my boots) and how to stay cool even under pressure. So, I really admired seeing my friend go up on stage and win first place for our region.

One of the best things about my friendship with Maia, is how we met and how we were raised in kohanga. I have been super privileged to have had lots of people raise me, alongside my mum and dad, who also completely support my business. When I finished at kohanga a small group of my friends and I headed on to Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti, the only full immersion Māori school in Dunedin, just seven minutes from my home. Every day I get to speak my own native tongue, every day I am raised to know who I am and learn about my culture. I am confident as a young Māori woman because I am raised in te aho matua, with love.

I am simply me!

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