Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation takes a new name, Te Rourou

Lani Evans, Head of the Foundation, explains why this new name embodies the vision of an Aotearoa where all rangatahi thrive

Matariki is a time to slow down and reflect on the past year, to remember those who have passed on, to acknowledge efforts within our kaupapa and to imagine and plan for the future. At the Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, we have a future vision of an equitable New Zealand where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

To truly live into that vision, we need a name that reflects where we are, who we are and who we want to be. That’s why today, as part of our Matariki celebrations, we are proud to announce a new name for the Foundation – Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation. It’s a name that we believe will help us embody the spirit and intention of our goal.

A rourou is a woven basket, generally made from flax that is often used to store or carry food. The Foundation has chosen to adopt this name as we liken the work we do to providing a resource that 'feeds the people'. Te Rourou also refers to a well-known whakataukī (proverb) that speaks of collaboration and shared contribution that enables people to thrive:

“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora te iwi.”

With your food basket and mine, the people will thrive.

Symbolically, by adopting the name Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation draws parallels to Vodafone's Māori development strategy, Whārikihia. The goal of Whārikihia is to weave Vodafone closer to Aotearoa, the imagery of weaving is synonymous with a whāriki (a tapestry or mat) and rourou (a food basket).

The second part of our name change shifts us from New Zealand to Aotearoa. There are many reasons for this shift. It celebrates Te Reo Māori, one of our three official languages. It aligns with where we have moved as Vodafone, and where we are moving as a country.

But for me, one of the most powerful statements, and the one that resonates most strongly, is a statement made by lawyer and activist Tina Ngata, who said that the shift from New Zealand to Aotearoa “…is a healing act of anti-racism, affirming the story that there were people living here before colonisation happens.”

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation is a name that represents both who we are, and more importantly, who we strive to become.

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