July 3, 2023

Mana Motuhake o te Kai brings a fresh perspective to Healthy Active Learning

For people everywhere, food is the great connector. Being able to share food in a culturally appropriate way plays a significant role in our physical, social, and emotional understanding of the world around us. 

When we are able to grow, gather, and prepare kai using mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), we are reviving cultural frameworks and ways of being which have sustained whānau for generations. We are indigenising our local places and spaces, drawing on the vast cultural wealth and understanding to improve everyone’s health and wellbeing.  

As access to nourishing, affordable kai becomes further and further out of reach for many people in Aotearoa, people are looking back at past practices to inform a new pathway into the future.  

The Mana Motuhake o te Kai – food secure communities’ framework – was created by the West Auckland Kāhui Māori Collective for people who want to learn how mātauranga Māori principles can inform growing, sharing and preparing kai.  

The framework is bringing a fresh perspective to projects that are led by the Healthy Active Learning (HAL) team at Sport Waitākere. Improving the wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi through kai and nutrition is a key focus for the HAL team, who work predominantly with schools. 

“The HAL team has strong connections to schools and extensive knowledge of school curriculum. I’ve been helping to familiarise them with the framework, and together, we’ve identified several areas where schools might be able to use it alongside their learning plans”, explains Giuliana Sewell, Systems Innovator for Healthy Families Waitākere. 

Several schools in the Massey area have expressed their eagerness to include more agricultural education in their curriculum.  

“We presented the Mana Motuhake o te Kai framework to the teacher leads from three schools in Massey and they gave us some great feedback. The next step for us will be one on one sessions with the schools to map out how they can use the framework as a guide for their kai initiatives”, says Sewell. 

Mana motuhake o te kai was designed from an ao Māori point of view but also supports the inclusion of ideas and practices for all people.  

“The framework encourages knowledge and skill sharing, storytelling and social connections, so Māori aren’t the only ones who benefit. We’re working towards a goal where every person has the freedom to source their kai in a way which is appropriate to them”, explains Sewell. 

For more information on the Mana Motuhake o te Kai framework, click here.