Supporting Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura taiohi to learn about eeling and the environmental restoration was the focus of the inaugural three-day wananga delivered by Manawanui Research Centre at Poohara Paa earlier this year.
60 taiohi from ages 5 – 15 and 30 pakeke attending from both Poohara and Maungatautari Marae came together to learn new skills to become a tuna practitioner, using drone technology techniques, interactive whenua mapping, learn about historical places of significance including stories about their tupuna maunga from a scientific and Iwi perspective while learning to become better nurturers of the environment.
Programme coordinator Tammy Tauroa of the Manawanui Research Centre said while the aim was to engage the minds of young people, it was also about returning to the customs our people.
“The programme was highly successful, it engaged our parents, kaumaatua and rangatahi together in a shared and common kaupapa. Many of the whaanau felt uplifted and were overwhelmed by observing their young ones in action,” she said.
“Kaumaatua had reminisced on a time where food was plentiful, kai from fruit tree was abundant, and they used to raid kaumaatua homes to get the best apples and produce.
“This practice is rare around the paa today, and to re-introduce this again for our rangatahi and our future generations it was a special moment. We walked along our tupuna maunga with one of the whaanau being the tour guide, and then paddled down on our tupuna awa with one of our own leading the haerenga – it made it a waananga to remember!”
It was also a milestone for Waikato-Tainui as this was one of the first initiatives rolled out through the Taiao Grant being offered by the tribal development organisation.
Taiao manager, Taroi Rawiri said that these initiatives are the kind of activities that we would like to see coming through Waikato-Tainui for support because it enables our tribal members to become and fulfil their role as Kaitiaki, as our future Taiao leaders to uphold the mana of our Waikato-Tainui environmental plan Tai Tumu, Tai Pari, Tai Ao.
“These type of waananga are initiatives that really engage and support our people to become kaitiaki and do so in a safe kaupapa Maaori environment where our taiohi can learn the right skills and our kaumatua can share and teach their maatauranga so that their mai raa aanoo korero and lessons are preserved for our future generations,” said Taroi.
“It’s just one of the ways that we are assisting our marae to become self-sufficient and providing them opportunities to share their intergenerational maatauranga and koorero of their mahinga kai practices in their rohe.”
In 2018 Waikato-Tainui announced a 1 million-dollar Taiao fund to support and equip tribal members to fulfil their role as kaitiaki of their current and future environments. For more information about how to apply go here.
Image credit: Atawhai Edwards