Ohu Maatu 2018

Posted by on 14 March 2018

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Every year we look forward to seeing owners returning to their ancestral homelands in Motueka. We are excited to invite our whānau and the descendants of the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust, to join us for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Trust on 27 – 29 April in Motueka.

The weekend is an opportunity to reconnect, learn and celebrate with the whānau, stay on the marae, share your stories and ideas, and enjoy great kai!

Registrations are now open, so make sure you secure your place at Ohu Maatu 2018.

We have a weekend packed full of activities, as well as the most important part of Ohu Maatu, the hui-ā-tau (annual general meeting). We are looking forward to a great weekend full of activities. For more information on what we’ve got planned, have a look at our programme here.


Activities for the whole whānau
Events kick off on the Friday with a pōwhiri at Te Āwhina marae followed by kai. It is always a happy occasion where we reconnect with each other and welcome any whānau coming home for the first time.

On Saturday morning at dawn, we will gather at Raumanuka Reserve  for the blessing of an interpretation panel that celebrates our connection to our lands.

We will continue the day with breakfast and then a hikoi around our homelands. Each year we visit special places in the rohe, to share the kōrero of our heke, whenua, and tūpuna. Some of the places we visit include the Riuwaka Resurgence and Te Uma.

After a morning of celebrations, we will gather for the hui-ā-tau (our annual general meeting).

Te hui-ā-tau
The most important part of the weekend is the hui-ā-tau, where registered owners gather to address the governance requirements of the Trust. It’s a chance for you to have your say, and to ensure your whānau is represented and connected with the business activities of the Trust.

As with last year, we’ll be having a live-stream of the hui-ā-tau, so any registered member that cannot attend in person, can still be involved in the decisions from across the country.

Kapa haka wānanga
During our morning celebrations and AGM, there will be a kapa haka workshop for tamariki and rangatahi. Here they can learn some of the waiata and later perform at the gala dinner.

We are looking forward to an exciting weekend where we can reconnect with our whānau, learn more about the kōrero of the Trust, and celebrate the past 25 years.

Make sure you register before 6 April 2018. You can register for Ohu Maatu here, or email info@nrait.co.nz

Registrations and accurate numbers makes it easier for us to plan the weekend.


How do I know: Am I an NRAIT owner?

Posted by on 23 February 2018

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Being registered with the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust means more than just being a name on a list. It’s a sense of belonging, opportunity to access benefits like scholarships and grants, being part of the kōrero around how we work and our (the Trust’s) role in your story.

Every two months the Board gathers for a hui, where amongst other things, we review and approve applications for new registered members. For us to continue thriving as a people on our tūrangawaewae, we need to continue telling our story and continue our legacy, and that relies on an engaged next generation, and is why the growth of registered members is important to us.

So, who is an NRAIT owner and how do you become registered?

What do we mean by owner?
Being a registered owner means you have a shared ownership of the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust and shared ownership of the land that we manage. As an owner, you have the opportunity to vote on what the Trust does with land and what it invests in. These opportunities to vote and have your say are at our Annual General Meetings held in Motueka each year in April.

Who is an owner?

The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust represents a unique group of descendants from two iwi. Our owners whakapapa back to one or more of 94 Ngāti Rārua tūpuna and 15 Te Ātiawa tūpuna, recorded in 1845 by Land Commissioner William Spain. These ancestors are the original landowners of our Motueka homelands. As a Trust today, we own, manage and nurture these land holdings on behalf, and for the benefit of the hapū.

If you are Ngāti Rārua or Te Ātiawa manawhenua ki Motueka, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are an NRAIT owner.

This diagram shows the relationship between four key Te Tau Ihu iwi, and how they relate to NRAIT.

NRAIT diagram2

To register as an NRAIT member you must have a direct lineal descent (by birth or adoption including either formal legal adoption or customary Māori adoption) from one of the original 94 Ngāti Rārua tūpuna or 15 Ātiawa tūpuna who had rightful ownership of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka. You can view the list of the 109 original owners here.

During your registration process, you will need to select one of the original 109 owners that you descend from. You need to show your father/mother, and then the line of descent from the original owner.


Once you’ve submitted your application to become a registered owner, we will process and verify your details. When your application has been approved, you will officially be a registered NRAIT owner. You can now use the Members Only area of our website and apply online for benefits, such as our education grants.

If you descend from one of the original 109 owners, and you haven’t yet registered, make sure you complete the registration to become an NRAIT owner. We also encourage you to reach out to your whānau if they’re not yet registered with the Trust to start their applications.

If you are not in the rohe yourself and want to engage and deepen your connection with the Trust you can connect with us on our Facebook page, or check out this blog on other ways you can engage and connect with the Motueka homelands. 

Learn more about the Trust and the work that we do here.


What’s happening in 2018?

Posted by on 2 February 2018

whats happening in 2019

2017 was a great year – with many activities for our whānau to get involved in. There will be another year full of events, activities and special occasions in 2018 to look forward to. This year is especially important to NRAIT and our owners, as it marks the 25th anniversary of our Trust. 


Waitangi Day – Tuesday 6 February

178 years ago, the first signatures were added to the Treaty of Waitangi by Māori chiefs and the British Crown. On Waitangi Day, we recognise the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and can reflect on the journey.

The English and Māori versions of the Treaty are very different, and so what each party thought it was agreeing to also differed significantly. For the next 150 years Māori were greatly afflicted as a result - including our own tūpuna who lost ownership of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka.
Learn more about the background issues of NRAIT relating to the Treaty here.

This Waitangi Day, head along to Te Āwhina Marae for their Waitangi Open Day.
It is an opportunity to learn more about Te Āwhina Marae, Turangāpeke, and the tangata whenua.
NRAIT Trustee Paul Morgan will also discuss The Treaty of Waitangi, constitution, citizenship as well as other topics.

Pōwhiri begins at 3pm and is gold coin koha entry.
There is also a takeaway hāngi available from 6pm, ($10 each). Make sure you have purchased your tickets prior to collecting.


Kai Fest – Sunday 8 April

A highlight of last year was definitely heading along to Motueka’s very first Kai Fest. With performances, great kai and beautiful weather, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the abundance of kai that is sourced from our rohe – the land and the ocean.

We’re looking forward to another exciting event, make sure you head along too!

Ohu Maatu – 27 – 29 April

2018 is a special year to the Trust, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. We are pleased to have the opportunity to connect with you all, celebrate our achievements and share kōrero of our tupuna, during Ohu Maatu.

While the weekend is full of fun activities and plenty of chances to catch up with whānau, the hui-ā-tau is the most important part of Ohu Maatu. It’s a chance for you to have your say to ensure your whānau is represented and connected with the business activities of the Trust. During the hui-ā-tau tamariki will have organised activities to keep them busy, but they’re not the only ones having fun.

Every year we do a tour of the rohe to share the kōrero of our heke, our whenua and the struggles along the way.

We will be sharing details on Ohu Maatu 2018 soon.


Matariki – 15 June

As with each year, Matariki is a celebration of the Māori New Year. It is when we rejoice in new beginnings, remember the past and celebrate the present.

During Matariki we also take the time to look back at those who have passed and have been returned to Papatūānuku. Historically our ancestors would view the Matariki stars with grief and tell Matariki the names of those who had gone since the stars set. During this time of remembrance, we also celebrate the future through different rituals and activities. Celebrations include the creation and flight of kites and lanterns, cultural performances and waiata from our tamariki, and hāngi. We also celebrate the rising of Matariki by re-telling our kōrero to our whānau.

There are many events around the rohe to celebrate and recognise Matariki. We will keep you updated on Matariki events nearby.

We’re looking forward to a great year – and hope to see you at Ohu Maatu this April.


Explore Te Tau Ihu - Places to visit this long weekend

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 26 January 2018

Explore Te Tau Ihu

Our rohe has many beautiful places all with a story to tell. A great way to connect with the whenua, understand more about our history and learn some kōrero from our tūpuna, is to go out and visit these special places in our home. So, this Whakatū Anniversary (29th January) – why not take your whānau out and explore the lands of Te Tau Ihu. Here are some places we think you should check out.

Abel Tasman National Park
Not only is the Abel Tasman National Park an area of stunning natural beauty, with golden beaches, islands and estuaries, it is also a place that holds historic significance. Head over for a day trip to learn more about our whenua with the series of interpretation boards, walk along a short section of the track, or jump in the water and kayak through Awaroa Bay.

Māori have had a long association with the Abel Tasman National Park – with Ngaitara as the first known iwi to live in the area, followed by Ngāti Tumatakokiri. Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa acknowledge the ancient people of Waitaha, as tribal traditions say they came to the area from the ancient homeland, Hawaiki.

While visiting the park, you can visit the first two poupou of the planned eight, that were installed last year. The pou of Turangāpeke has been placed at Anchorage, and the pou of Hōhaia Rangiāuru can be seen at Medlands.

These pou have been installed as part of the project that was more than a decade in the making, to ensure our legacy and our kōrero are not lost, and people from all over the world can learn about the tangata whenua, while also experiencing the natural beauty of the rohe.

Te Waikoropupū Springs
Just a short drive over the hill into Tākaka, you can visit the wai ora Te Waikoropupū Springs. This is a culturally significant site to Manawhenua ki Mōhua (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa). They are the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park is where you will find our two sacred maunga of mana whenua ki Motueka, Pukeone and Tū Ao Wharepapa.
Our maunga Pukeone and Tū Ao Wharepapa replenish us when the rain falls, produce plants that kept us dry, send messages of great importance, and for some provide a historical and spiritual link to the natural world.

Pukeone (Mount Campbell), is the smaller of our two maunga and was used by our tūpuna to light signal fires to communicate important news or events across large distances. It’s still used today as a communication point, as the radio tower sits on the summit.

Tū Ao Wharepapa (Mount Arthur) is the highest peak of the Wharepapa Range (Arthur Range) – where it guards the tablelands below.

Riuwaka Resurgence

A special place to visit is the Riuwaka Resurgence. Te Puna o Riuwaka (the Riuwaka Resurgence) is wahi tapu for our people, a sacred, supernatural place where our tūpuna would come to cleanse and heal their bodies and sustain their spirits. Many of our tūpuna lived beside the Riuwaka River, including a revered tōhunga (expert/priest), named Tamati Parana, who made his tūāhu (sacred place) near the healing white stones of these waters.

For a short walk to the healing waters of Riuwaka, take SH60 from Riuwaka up the Tākaka Hill and at 5km take the left fork in the road, signposted to the Resurgence. Drive another 7km alongside the river and you’ll come to a carpark and picnic area and find our beautiful waharoa at the start of the short (7 minute) walk to Te Puna o Riuwaka.

Walk to ‘The Centre of New Zealand’

For something a little more local, why not head into Nelson and visit ‘The Centre of New Zealand’ monument.

The top of Botanical Hill was used as a central survey point, by John Spence Browning, the chief surveyor for Nelson in the 1870’s, for doing the first geodetic survey of New Zealand when earlier isolated surveys were combined. However, a survey in 1962 determined the centre of New Zealand was in fact a point in the Spooners Range in the Golden Downs Forest.

While not exactly ‘The Centre of New Zealand’, this short climb uphill gives you stunning views of Nelson City, the Tasman Mountains and Tasman Bay.

Start at the Botanical Reserve in Hardy St, Nelson, and follow along the uphill track. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the top.

We hope you enjoy your long weekend, taking some time off in the sun and spending time with whānau. If you visit any of these places this weekend, please send us your photos on our Facebook page. Or if you have any other special places in Te Tau Ihu to visit, please share that with us too! 


How do our whānau celebrate Christmas?

Posted by on 20 December 2017

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We all celebrate Christmas in different ways with different traditions, and with our whānau living all over Aotearoa, and outside of the country – we wanted to share some kōrero on how our owners celebrate and spend the day.

We’ve asked three NRAIT owners how they are celebrating Christmas this year.

Matua Jansen

We will be having an Orphans Christmas in Coogee, Sydney.

Quite a few of my friends have no family in Sydney so often we put on a BBQ on the beach and invite around whoever does not have family. We like to BBQ NZ flounder and mussels to feel like home, then enjoy playing cards and drinking some NZ white wine. We do not have a Christmas tree or do presents, and instead keep it focussed on food and making connections with new and old acquaintances.

Matua and Te Kahu Jansen.
Sydney, Australia.


Emma Park

To us, Christmas is a time to connect with loved ones and gather as a whānau from near and far, eat lots of soul food, and have a really good catch up and reminisce and laugh.

For us, we go to Mums for Christmas Day lunch, this has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. Mum cooks the most amazing lunch, with many types of food, some have a few drinks and some of us find a nice olive tree to have a snooze under in the afternoon. Then on Boxing Day we repeat the eating and drinking and maybe another snooze, with the other side of the family.

However, this year is extra special because it will be our son Milo’s very first Christmas and the start of his traditions. We have some very excited siblings, grandparents, aunties and uncles and of course parents to share Christmas with Milo.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with lots of whānau and kai, and have a safe New Year. 

Park family
Taranaki, New Zealand


Jeremy Banks

Christmas for us this year will be a bit different in that there will be less people travelling, as most of us are now all in Nelson!

The day will inevitably start with the excitement of Hana Kōkō (Santa) for our girls and after the whānau have all arrived in the same place we play a Secret Santa present stealing game.

Good food and wine is the focus of the day with Christmas lunch, which will be followed by plenty of games and some pool or beach time.

Banks family
Nelson, New Zealand


It’s great to see how our whānau connect with their friends and family over the holiday period, enjoying the kai and the sunshine. We are glad that we can connect with our owners, even those who live outside of Aotearoa like Matua.

From all of us here at NRAIT, we would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday. We hope you enjoy spending time with your whānau and friends.


The year in review - our wrap up of 2017

Posted by on 19 December 2017

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Another year comes to an end - 2017 was a great chapter for the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust with some memorable occasions at Ohu Maatu, wonderful events we were excited to be a part of and as always, another year we’ve been able to connect and grow with you – the owners – the manawhenua ki Motueka.

Firstly, we want to say a big thank you to all of you who have connected and engaged with us online, namely our Facebook page. We made the shift several years ago to communicating with you more online through social media, the website and e-Pānui. At that time, we had just 146 people on the Facebook page, and now have over 800. So, if you want to see more of what’s happening in our online community on Facebook check us out here.

Here are some of the highlights from 2017 at the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust.

Whenua Planting

Ohu Maatu 2017 was a special time to remember our tūpuna, and an opportunity for reconnecting, learning and celebrating. It was also a time to give back, and acknowledge our ancestors for our legacy. During the weekend we visited Te Uma, to plant the whenua of our new born babies.

Planting the placenta of our new born has been a cultural custom for us for centuries. It was a great opportunity to connect with our whenua (land) as well as our whānau.

NRAIT owner Emma Park shared her perspective of the whenua planting experience, which you can read here.

Kai Fest

Motueka had its very first Kai Fest this year. With performances, great kai and beautiful weather, it was a great way to celebrate the abundance of kai that is sourced from our rohe – the land and the ocean.

We are looking forward to being involved again next year!
Watch the video from Kai Fest 2017.


Following the success of our newly launched education framework in 2016, we were pleased to be able to award more scholarships and grants in 2017 to hard-working NRAIT owners.

Our 2017 scholarship recipients were:

Matua Jansen (supreme award), Andrew Howard, Mariah Hōri Te Pā, Benjamin Kaveney-Gibb, Eden Millan, and Isabella Martell. You can read their stories here.

We also had a fantastic number of grant recipients across a broad range of options including sports and cultural as well as education assistance grants:

Leanne Clayton, Hana Goodwin, Renee Hayes, Tui Henry, Rangi Kaveney, Waimaire Mana, Kaitlyn Moylan, Baylee Niwa, Hayel Niwa, Zayed Studd, Renee Thomas, Wainui Witika-Park, Kylie Willison, Dante Matakatea, Kirsty Willison, Xanthe Banks, Haelyn Ngaia, Hunter Ngaia.

We are pleased to provide our owners with ongoing support in their studies.

NRAIT Music Video

This year’s Ohu Maatu had a great turn out, with many owners returning to Motueka for a weekend of activities and reconnecting with the homelands. At Ohu Maatu this year, we were pleased to premiere the NRAIT music video, written and performed by Tamai Henry, Jayme-Rae Anae and Adrian Wagner. You can watch the NRAIT music video here.

Again, thank you all for being part of our online and offline community, those that make the trip to Motueka each year, and most importantly those that are always around helping to make every hui a success, it makes all the difference to our mahi, and to each other.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou!


A tale of two chiefs - Motueka River kōrero

Posted by on 29 November 2017

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The Motueka river is a significant feature of Motueka and our Whakarewa lands. Many of the occupied land areas that were wrongly sold to the New Zealand Company in the 1840’s were alongside the river. But the river was also a point of dispute between two Ngāti Rārua chiefs. 

In one version of the early settlement of Motueka, Ngāti Rārua chief Te Poa Karoro and Horoatua of Te Ātiawa, were the first people to occupy the lands about Motueka, and in fact they named the area known as Te Maatu, situated on the south side of the Motueka River. Horoatua claimed the land for him and about 70 others of the Puketapu hapū of Te Ātiawa who were with him, one of which was Merenako, a high-ranking Te Ātiawa ancestor.

Sometime after arriving in the Motueka district, Merenako journeyed up the mouth of the Waiatua stream, situated near Old Pā Hill (Puketawāi). She followed the hillside up the valley to the neighbourhood of what is called Dehra Dhoon. From here she crossed the river and travelled along the foot of the opposite hills, to a place close to the Riuwaka butter factory. Here she saw the Riuwaka swamp which, at that time, covered a significantly large area. Disappointed by what she saw and considering it of no value to her, and difficult swampy land to walk upon, she called it Turi Auraki (tired knees). Merenako and her second husband, Te Poa Kararo (Chief of Ngāti Turangapeke, a hapū of Ngāti Rārua) as well as Merenako, had large land holdings, including in Motueka. This was seen as the catalyst for Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Rārua of Motueka to settle in Motueka as one. Both iwi retained their own identities, with Merenako and her Te Ātiawa land and mana to the south and west of Te Maatu, and Te Poa Karoro retaining his land and mana to the north and east of Te Maatu.

When Pukekōhatu (chief of Ngāti Pareteata, a hapū of Ngāti Rārua) arrived at Motueka he lit a fire on the Motueka side of the river and proclaimed the land as his and his hapū.

Te Poa Kararo however, who arrived in the district with Horoatua, had already claimed the land for him and his hapū, through whenua kite hou (discovery) and taunaha (naming the land) at Te Maatu.

To ensure his desire was fulfilled, Pukekōhatu placed a kanga (curse) over the district by personifying himself as the Motueka River, saying that, “The source thereof is my head and the mouth is my feet.”  In other words, Pukekohatu made himself to be the river. The thought, which is quintessentially Māori, was an absolutely effective way of holding onto a tract of whenua, as it brought into operation the iron law of old. The kanga (curse) lay a short distance south of the Motueka River and beyond the area known as Te Maatu. 

Te Poa Karoro took up a very defiant attitude towards Pukekōhatu and the laying of his kanga. He went as far to say, “Kia maoa taku umu tangata māna kē Maatu,” meaning, “If anyone occupies Te Maatu, I will cook them in my oven.” 

It is said that the argument had originated through Pukekōhatu going to cultivate the land at Te Maatu, which is also said to have been given to him by Merenako. This incensed Te Poa Karoro, as he had apparently made available the land for Te Manutoheroa and the Ngāti Kōmako Te Ātiawa to cultivate. Others say Te Poa Karoro was controlling Pākehā settlement on the land, authorising where Pākehā could and could not live on the Riuwaka side of the river.  This was disquieting for Pukekōhatu, who was concerned that if Pakeha settlement continued, there would not be enough land left at Te Maatu for Māori to live upon.

In later years, Pukekōhatu removed his kanga in order to facilitate the opening of the land for development.

This blog was put together from kōrero with kaumātua and kuia.


Raising the level of education – our 2017 scholarship recipients

Posted by on 10 November 2017

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NRAIT were pleased to again offer our education funding programme in 2017, with a variety of grants and scholarships available for NRAIT registered owners. Our aim is to make education accessible for all owners and to prepare our children and young people to become employable adults with skills that will benefit them and society. So rather than just focusing on tertiary education, we also offered grants towards trades training, adult education, and study assistance for primary and secondary students, a new model we started last year.

As with last year, we had a focus with the scholarships on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). STEM subjects are the future required skills and knowledge our whānau need to fulfil jobs, innovate and create new products and services. Aotearoa currently has a skill shortage in these subject areas. We were pleased to receive significantly more applications this year than previous.

We are pleased to announce our 2017 scholarship recipients.


The supreme scholarship is awarded to one recipient each year. It is open to any NRAIT registered owner, enrolled with a New Zealand tertiary institute or training provider. This scholarship is awarded to students who maintain a B+ average throughout their year of study.

Matua Jansen

Matua was our Supreme Scholarship winner this year, and is continuing his post graduate Masters in Business Administration at Auckland University. Matua is enjoying his studies and the sense of purpose and direction it provides towards his future. He is committed to contributing to the Trust in the future by using his background in medicine and his growing experience in administration and management.

Andrew Howard

Andrew is our 2017 Postgraduate Scholarship winner. He is currently enrolled in a Master’s of Science (Research) Program at the University of Waikato.  In the future Andrew aims to undertake a PhD.

Mariah Hori Te Pa

Mariah is one of four tertiary scholarship recipients. This award grants her a maximum contribution of $2,000 per annum to help her fund her studies. She is in her sixth and final year at Victoria University, studying Law, Māori and Anthropology and will be graduating in May next year. She is very motivated to finish her conjoint degree because of the support of her whānau back home. Mariah is passionate about serving the community and helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society, which she has been doing through volunteering while at university, and intends to keep doing this when she finishes her studies.

Benjamin Kaveney-Gibb

Ben is another recipient of a tertiary scholarship. He is currently a second-year medical student at Otago University in Dunedin. During his studies, he completed a clinical placement in a rest home, interacting with patients with diseases and disabilities. He has been exposed to many options the medical world has to offer, and is trying to keep as open minded as possible, but still sees himself strongly driven towards becoming a Māori GP with a keen focus on Māori health.

Eden Millan

Eden also received a tertiary scholarship, and is currently in her final semester of a Bachelor of Science majoring in Anatomy. She has always had a passion for health and the human body and is now studying what she loves and has an interest in. Eden has picked up two Māori papers this year which have helped her to understand her culture to a deeper level and she plans on continuing studying Māori.

Isabella Martell

Isabella is the final recipient of a tertiary scholarship for 2017. She is currently studying Health Sciences First Year at the University of Otago in Dunedin. Isabella has always had a keen interest in science so has enjoyed broadening her knowledge.  She plans on moving into medicine or medical laboratory science.


Our grant winners are all on the pathway to furthering their education. The grants applied for were across all areas of education, including sports & cultural grants, education grants to assist with fees, and study assist grants for primary and secondary school students wanting additional education support. Congratulations to the following recipients of our 2017 grants; Leanne Clayton, Hana Goodwin, Renee Hayes, Tui Henry, Rangi Kaveney, Waimaire Mana, Kaitlyn Moylan, Baylee Niwa, Hayel Niwa, Zayed Studd, Renee Thomas, Wainui Witika-Park, Kylie Wilson, Dante Matakatea, Kirsty Willison, Xanthe Banks, Haelyn Ngaia, Hunter Ngaia.

We are very proud of all our winners and wish them the best in their future studies and careers. 


Taiohi wānanga with Wakatū Incorporation

Posted by on 26 October 2017

taiohi wanaga

In September each year, our sister organisation Wakatū takes a group of rangatahi (young people) into the Abel Tasman National Park for a week long wānanga. Each year alternates between boys and girls, and this year, it was the boys turn.

26 descendants of Wakatū tūpuna (ancestors), which includes Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa, attended this year’s Wakatū wānanga. Of the 26 young men who attended, five are also registered owners of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust.

The wānanga, a week-long educational pursuit, is designed to advance the personal and cultural development of rangatahi through self-motivation, outdoor pursuits and traditional values. This year, the wānanga involved spending a week in the Abel Tasman National Park, undertaking mentally and physically challenging activities.

Throughout the week, and with these activities, it was a great opportunity for the young men to learn the history of their tūpuna and tikanga (customs) and connect to their culture, language, whenua (land), as well as each other. 

NRAIT boys Wakatu wananga

The wānanga also taught these young men what the traditional male roles were in Māori society, as well as what it means to be a good role model, thanks to engaging discussions with strong male role models and kaiako (teachers) from the community. These Kaiako on the wānanga made a contribution to the next generation, by supporting the boys’ learning, and teaching them leadership skills. Of the kaiako on the wānanga, three were also NRAIT owners; Eruera Keepa, Bentham Ohia and Tairoa Morrison (pictured below).


All attendees of the wānanga were kindly gifted a Wakatū hoodie, and our NRAIT owners will be receiving their NRAIT basketball singlets in the mail. NRAT has been supporting its members in the experience since 2012.


Wai ora - The significance of our awa

Posted by on 2 October 2017

Wai ora

“Rivers are the veins of Papatūānuku, Earth Mother, and the water in them is her lifeblood. Rivers nourish all living beings and link us with ancestors.”

Water is the essence of all life, it is the blood of Mother Earth (Papatūānuku) that supports all people, plants and wildlife. It is a significant part of our culture, as it played a large role in how our tūpuna travelled, lived and survived.

As a source of mahinga kai, a place to collect materials and hāngi stones, as well as being access routes and a means of travel, rivers hold significance for not only for our ancestors, but for us today. Our tūpuna valued rivers and waterways as they were in close proximity of other wāhi tapu, settlements or other historic sites. Many of our people settled near rivers for these reasons.

Not only are rivers and waterways practical, but they also form a large, necessary part of our tribal identity, with many particular rivers and waterways playing a significant role in tribal stories.

Te Puna o Riuwaka (Riuwaka river)

Just 16km out of Motueka, in the Kahurangi National Park, you can find the Riuwaka river. Te Puna (meaning spring of water) o Riuwaka is where the northern branch of the Riuwaka river rises from the Tākaka Hill. The pure water flows underground through limestone caves and marble rocks beneath the Takaka Hill, and pours into a deep, clear pool. The river continues flowing down the hill, running into many pools along the way such as the Crystal Pool. Not only is Te Puna o Riuwaka a place of natural beauty, it is also wāhi tapu for our people. It is a sacred, supernatural place where our tūpuna would visit. Many of our ancestors lived along the Riuwaka river, and would visit Te Puna o Riuwaka, to sustain their spirits as well as cleanse and heal their bodies.

Read more on the healing waters of Te Puna o Riuwaka here.

Motueka river

As with the Riuwaka river, the Motueka river runs through rough hill terrain, with its source at Mount Owen, it then flows down towards Tasman Bay. The river is a large part of Motueka and our Whakarewa lands. Many of the occupied land areas that were wrongly sold to the New Zealand Company were alongside the river. Motueka river is commonly used for recreational purposes such as fishing, swimming and kayaking. Check out this video from Motueka High School, with some students kayaking down the awa.

Make sure you incorporate your awa/roto/moana (river/lake/sea), that you affiliate with in your mihi. If you aren’t quite sure, reach out to extended NRAIT whānau, a kaumatua, or send us an email: info@nrait.co.nz

To include your awa into your mihi, say ‘Ko Riuwaka te awa’ or ‘Ko Motueka te awa’. You could also mention your roto (lake) and/or your moana (sea).


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