Manaakitanga Behind Our Strong Covid Response
There is a deeper reason why New Zealand has “fared so much better”, than say, the United States in combatting Covid-19, and it’s manaakitanga, according to New Zealanders Matthew Milner and Richard Ngata, who write about the importance of this value in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post.
“Manaakitanga is about understanding the power of the collective. It derives from the Māori term ‘mana’, which is the spiritual life force and energy that every living thing possesses,” the authors write. “When you honour the mana of others, your own mana will increase through the respect you have earned. When you acknowledge these connections, you understand that your freedom as an individual is only as strong as your place in the community.
“But never has the importance of manaakitanga to our society been more evident than at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Like New Zealand, the US is a place of great diversity, steeped in its own way in indigenous and immigrant cultures. Our hope is that the United States can apply the lessons of the pandemic to all areas of society – and, in doing so, embrace manaakitanga. As the proverb goes: He waka eke noa.”
Milner is pursuing his MBA and MA in Education at Stanford University. Ngata is a paediatric registrar/resident at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland.
Original article by Matthew Milner and Richard Ngata, The Washington Post, March 12, 2021.
Photo by Ethan Donnell.