The initiation of the Pukenga Nui internship in November 2023 was a promising addition to the Active Whakapapa kaupapa. With backing from the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, this paid internship programme embarked on a dual mission; to explore avenues for rangatahi economic empowerment and to support Te Kawerau a Maki to deliver the Active Whakapapa hīkoi (walks).  

The overarching goal that emerged, was to test a career pathway for interns that would transition into roles as Active Whakapapa tour guides. To support this endeavour, Healthy Families Waitākere worked alongside the interns to codesign a programme that would focus on equipping them with the appropriate skills to lead an Active Whakapapa hīkoi and to strengthen their connections to whakapapa (genealogy) and taiao (natural environment).  

Field training, led by partners Te Kawerau a Maki and Adventure Works, was an integral part of the internship programme. Sessions with Te Kawerau a Maki encompassed crafting pepeha, delivering mihi and karakia, and delving into local mana whenua history through pūrakau.  

Reflecting on her experience, graduating intern Tamera Wharewaka explains.  

“One of the highlights was spending time with Tyler from Te Kawarau a Maki. We learned more about the iwi and even got to go on a walk that might one day get developed into an Active Whakapapa hīkoi.” 

Adventure Works, who run outdoor education courses and qualifications, were enlisted to oversee the outdoor education component of the programme. Their primary focus was to teach health and safety protocols, leadership skills, and foster proficiency in leading outdoor expeditions.  

To align to the needs of the Active Whakapapa hīkoi, Adventure Works modified their Level 3 Certificate in Assistant Outdoor Leadership to include a portion dedicated to iwi knowledge and whakapapa.  

“Our collaboration with Te Kawerau a Maki and Adventure Works sparked some thought-provoking conversations around being responsive to the needs of Māori. It was a positive experience which led to Adventure Works developing a tailored certification for the interns” explains Healthy Families Systems Innovator Rea Kenkel. 

In March 2024, the Pukenga Nui internship culminated with the interns demonstrating their knowledge and skills by leading a group through the Orangihina Harbourview hīkoi, which Wharewaka says provided an enriching experience.  

“This experience has shown me a lot. By observing outdoor leadership in practice and immersing in outdoor activities, we can enrich our understanding of the land and cultivate invaluable leadership skills.” 

In April, the Active Whakapapa kaupapa was handed over to Te Kawerau a Maki. With this transition, the iwi is now equipped to lead and refine Active Whakapapa, and by extension, oversee Pukenga Nui on an as-needed basis.