VALA2022 Keynote 6 Tairi

Me te toroa i te tau ana i te au: riding the currents in uncertain times

Thursday 16 June 2022, 13:00 – 14:00

Kim Tairi
  • Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland University of Technology)
  • Kaitoha Puka (University Librarian)

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2022 #k6

View the presentation recording and slides here:



Me te toroa i te tau ana i te au is a Māori whakataukī. Doctor Hinemoa Elder describes whakataukī (Māori proverbs) as nuggets of wisdom that provide life lessons, guidance, notes of caution and even comfort. This whakataukī is about the toroa or albatross. The bird that I voted for in the most important and hotly contested competition of the year in Aotearoa – Bird of the Year! The whakataukī can be translated to “like the albatross nestled upon the current.”

However, the meaning of the whakataukī is about manifesting resilience. Toroa are majestic, robust and resolute. This is something I have seen repeatedly in the empathetic way that libraries globally have responded to the pandemic. Our resilience comes from knowing our purpose – to work for and with the communities we are part of. During this kōrero, I will share stories of resilience. How technology, creativity, hard-work and amazing people have combined to keep services running and the connection to each other and the community alive. Along the way I will talk about leadership, my return to Aotearoa NZ and the work we do together at AUT.


Ko Maungatautari te maunga; Ko Waikato te awa; Ko Waikato te iwi; Ko Kim Tairi tōku ingoa. He Kaitoha Puku ahau ki Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makaurau e mahi ana.

Kim Tairi is an indigenous, intersectional feminist and librarian. Her career spans more than 25 years in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The Kaitoha Puka (University Librarian) at Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makaurau (AUT) she is Aotearoa’s first Māori University Librarian and a proud Nuku Woman.

Kim is an avid social media user and fashion-lover. She is going to share some of the joys and challenges of leading a library during a pandemic.


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