There’s so much to the Māori culture that we can be proud of. Looking into My Whenua has only extended this appreciation even further.
With many Māori landowners living outside New Zealand, it can be difficult for them to maintain their connection to the whenua. But through My Whenua, we’re helping bring them closer to their tūrangawaewae.
Te Tumu Paeroa administer land for around 100 000 Māori and around 11% of them live overseas. For many owners, despite living far away, the desire to stay connected to the whenua remains strong.
Vernon Atley (49) is one such owner. Vernon grew up in Pareora – a small coastal village just south of Timaru. But since the late 90’s he’s called the UK home.
“Unfortunately my knowledge of my whānau and iwi is limited. This has always bugged me to tell you the truth”Vernon Atley - Māori land owner living in the UK
But there was one whānau connection - to an early icon of New Zealand cinema - that Vernon was well aware of growing up.
“My mum, Patricia, was always very proud that her aunty was Ramai Hayward – New Zealand’s first Māori filmmaker!”
In 1997 Vernon began travelling overseas. After a year on holiday, he developed a taste for the London lifestyle so decided to make it his home.
Since then Vernon’s had a varied and interesting career – working in construction, carpentry, the stock market and now as a bike courier. He’s also in the process of developing his own website business.
Staying connected with My Whenua
Vernon is an owner of whenua throughout the South Island as well as across the east coast of the North Island. For Vernon, having and maintaining that connection is very important.
“Long before I became a name on the share register, I grew a deep appreciation for being of Māori descent. And becoming more worldly has helped with this.”
Despite living 19 000 km from his whenua, being able to access My Whenua has helped Vernon develop a stronger connection to both his heritage and his whenua.
“There’s so much to the Māori culture that we can be proud of. Looking into My Whenua has only extended this appreciation even further. I see a bunch of people succeeding in doing great things for their whānau and culture”Vernon - Māori land owner living in the UK