April 11, 2022

Tutei taking flight in West Auckland

An initiative embedded in mātauranga Māori has set down roots in West Auckland, weaving ancestral knowledge of te taiao (nature, environment) into the classroom for rangatahi (youth).  

Over 20 rangatahi from years 9 and 10 West Auckland Middle School have been taken through the Tūtei initiative, which links experiences in nature with mātauranga (knowledge) through pūrākau (narratives, origins). The vision for Tūtei is to weave ancestral knowledge of physical activity into the minds of rangatahi, enabling them to build healthy habits which can last a lifetime.

The initiative has been developed as a series of workshops with sessions on mau rākau (Māori weaponry), ngahere (bush, forest), rope and ahi (fire) including building a shelter, harakeke weaving and knot tying, and hika ahi friction fire. The initiative involves a breadth of activities spanning physical activity, health, wellbeing and sustainability.  

Healthy Families Waitākere Rautaki Māori Mike Tipene (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa) explains Tūtei provides an opportunity for ranagtahi to participate in traditional activities in the taiao, learning survival techniques, traditional Māori games, Pūrākau and in general gives them a insight of how in earlier times Māori sustained their whānau, hapu and Iwi. Particular importance is placed on the sharing of Pūrākau to underpin and give deeper understanding of the ‘why’ behind our actions, pūrākau serves a vessel to store and pass on mātauranga to future generations. 

“After Tūtei I went home and told my dad that tī kāuka leaves are really good for starting a fire, he asked me how I knew that, I told him I learnt it at Tūtei.” – Rangatahi Tūtei participant

Since taking part in the workshop series, students have held wānanga (meeting) to explore how they as knowledge holders of Tūtei could continue the kaupapa with younger students at West Auckland Middle School. Healthy Families Waitākere has facilitated this, looking at the opportunity as a way to sustain the initiative for ongoing learning and practice. 

Tūtei will be taking place at Te Atatū School from May, term 2 of 2022.