June 8, 2021

Taonga Tākaro workshops kick-start the Tutei kaupapa

Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua

As man disappears from sight, the land remains

Our whenua is our tūrangawaewae, our place to stand. It connects us to our whānau, our ancestors and our future generations. In recent times, for many of us, the ability to keep in touch with the natural environment has been lost entirely. Most of us don’t live on our whenua anymore — we might not even know where it is.

It can take a lot of mahi to reconnect to our whenua and an initiative in West Auckland is working to bridge this gap with rangatahi from Te Atatū Intermediate School. Titled Tutei, the prototype initiative aims to reconnect rangatahi with knowledge and practices which sustained Māori for generations, a return of Māori ways of being and understanding. Healthy Families Waitākere Kaiwhakahaere – He Oranga Whānau, Chrissy Hiraani (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ranginui) continues.

“Māori have long understood the intrinsic link between the health and wellbeing of the people, and the health and wellbeing of the whenua. Tutei is an opportunity to experience and learn the natural environment’s biodiversity and demonstrate the value of exchanging traditional knowledge and pūrākau (traditional narratives) in the taiao.

West Auckland’s landscape will be the classroom, and rangatahi will experience traditional Māori practices which enabled our tūpuna to thrive for generations. They will learn how to weave rope from harakeke, how to start a fire, tie a strong knot, and more.”

Rangatahi will learn how to identify different plants, native birds and weave harakeke rope, knot tying, traditional fire starting and more. Taonga tākaro (Māori games) will also be weaved through the initiative, with leading figures, Wiremu Sarich (Te Rarawa) and Riki Bennett (Te Arawa), supporting the kaupapa through workshops with West Auckland practitioners.

Over two days, Wiremu and Riki introduced team members from Sport NZ, Toi Tangata, He Oranga Poutama, Healthy Active Learning, Sport Waitākere and Healthy Families Waitākere to a variety of taonga tākaro and taiao activities, helping to shape Tutei and the planned format. Chrissy continues.

“The mātauranga that both Wiremu and Riki taught us will continue to be learned and experienced through Tutei, and how this vital knowledge and understanding is passed on for generations to come.”

The first Tutei workshop is planned for July this year, taking place outdoors in West Auckland.