Te Whanake - Our Blog
Te Moana - the legacy of our taonga
As the essence of all life, water holds great significance to Māori culture. Te moana (the sea) in particular is important as it allowed our tūpuna to make their journey to Te Tau Ihu as well as providing kai (food) and other resources. The moana around us is a taonga revered by our ancestors that brought our tūpuna and continues to bring us opportunities.
Te Tau Ihu is an abundant food basket and it isn’t just limited to the whenua (land). The remote environment and sheltered bays around our rohe are perfect conditions for gathering kaimoana such as tuangi, pipi and kutai.
Part of our cultural heritage is the ability to feed our whānau and friends and having the moana as a source of kai is something to celebrate and respect.
For hundreds of years our tūpuna lived off the whenua and moana, becoming skilled gardeners and fishermen. We have maintained this legacy, and many mana whenua ki Motueka are involved in the sustainable exports of our kaimoana through local businesses. However, providing healthy and delicious seafood remains the hallmark of our hospitality at our marae, Te Āwhina.
The moana was not only how our tūpuna completed their journey from Kāwhia to Te Tau Ihu, it was also how they travelled around Aotearoa trading the produce and crops cultivated in the nutrient-rich whenua of our rohe.
The arrival of Europeans in Motueka in 1841 and the following rapid settlement was a great opportunity for tangata whenua economically and commercially. By the 1850s a third of the sailing ships registered at Port Nelson were owned by local Māori who worked both the surrounding bays and those further afield, trading their produce.
The moana was a huge part of the lives of our tūpuna and our lives today. As a taonga, we are all responsible for the kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of our moana, whether that is through sustainable fishing or choosing reusable products over single use items to reduce our waste.
Education Programme - Our 2018 scholarship & grant recipients
As a Trust, one of our objectives is to provide opportunities, and make education accessible to all of our owners, including tamariki, rangatahi and adults too. We aim to support our children and young people to become employable adults with skills that will benefit them and society. To ensure all owners feel supported through their education journey, rather than just focusing on tertiary education, we also offer grants towards trades training, adult education, and study assistance for primary and secondary students.
An important focus area for us is developing people to work in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas. 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 applications from a range of NRAIT owners all across Aotearoa, fulfilling several of these high-need roles.
We are pleased to announce our 2018 education programme winners.
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 studying at postgraduate level whose programme of study or research contributes to the business objectives and social deliverables of NRAIT.
Pohe is currently studying a Master of Business and Management at Waikato University. He chose this qualification to broaden his knowledge base, and with the combination of his previous degree and experience, it creates the perfect formula to work for his Iwi.
The Master of Business and Management has deepened his understanding of both business and management and he is developing and expanding on his professional skill set. Pohe is driven by the notion of working for the betterment of his people and sees NRAIT as the perfect example of a place where this is possible.
Ben is another recipient of a tertiary scholarship. He is currently a third-year medical student at Otago University in Dunedin, and is another year closer to completing his degree and joining the health workforce.
During his third year of his studies, he completed a week-long placement focusing on community contact, where he learned about the health needs of the community around him. Ben 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.
April Tahi Hohaia
Also a recipient of a tertiary scholarship, April is currently studying a Bachelor of Māori Art – Raranga. She is committed to carrying on the legacy of passing on tohu and taonga and making a better future for the next generation.
Our grant winners are all on the pathway to furthering their education. The grants applied for were across all areas of education including education grants and study assist grants for primary and secondary school students wanting additional education support.
Congratulations to the following recipients of our 2018 grants; Alexandra Morris, Andrew Howard, Renee Hayes, Te Wainui Witika-Park, Rangi Kaveney, Lucy Gotty, Beatrice Korewha, Kahu Schofer, Turanga Morgan-Edmonds, Moana Oh, Hayel Niwa, Kristin Sadd-Peawini, Shana McLeod-Bennett, Manahi Gardiner, Delane Luke, Linda Southee, Paris Studd, Zayed Studd, Ramsey Glasgow, Denim Chase, Chase Ferrel, Petra Ferrel, Tayla Ferrel, Samantha Good, Taiapo Piggott.
We are very proud of all our winners and are excited to see how they progress in their careers.
Preserving Te Reo
While Te Wiki o te reo Māori has wrapped up for this year, the week-long celebration of the Māori language serves as a good reminder that we should never stop working to revitalise the language. Whether you want to ako (learn) and become fluent, or simply use small amounts of te reo more frequently in your daily life – these are great steps in keeping the language alive.
It’s vital to preserve te reo, so future generations can continue using it, just like our tūpuna did, and there’s a role we can all play. Simply incorporating te reo into your daily conversations with whānau and friends is an easy way to help preserve one of Aotearoa’s official languages.
Here are a few ways you can help to preserve the language:
Share kōrero with your whānau, use some reo in day-to-day conversation. Using reo words throughout your conversations can also help others to learn te reo.
Māori TV have a great range of shows designed for those learning te reo such as Kōrero Mai and Ako. You can also listen, as well as sing along to waiata to work on pronunciation.
Find stories you can read with your whānau, visit the local library and find books written in te reo, or go online. Don’t forget you can sign up to newsletters with Kupu o te rā for a word of the day, or download the new free app, also called Kupu, where you can take photos of objects and have them translated to you in te reo.
Involving reo during play is also a great way to begin learning te reo, and there are great apps out there to help everyone at any stage of their reo journey.
Plink Software have created an app called Tipu, to help you learn more reo. They also have resources for schools, such as flash cards, through their Tipu for schools programme.
There are also other apps designed for tamariki to learn reo through, such as He aha tēnei?
'He mauri te reo Māori nō Aotearoa māu, mā tātou katoa'
‘Make te reo Māori an essential part of New Zealand for you, for us all’
Even if you start off small, you can help preserve te reo by incorporating it into your daily life.
Return of the kuaka
Every year, around the second week of September, the first of the kuaka (godwits) arrive in Te Tau Ihu after their epic, non-stop 11,500km flight from Alaska. Kuaka continue to arrive until as late as December, and will live at the Motueka Sandspit, Farewell Spit and across Te Tau Ihu, until their journey back home for the summer in March.
The kuaka have been making this journey for thousands of generations, and their journey was well known to our tūpuna, with their annual arrival seen as a significant event.
As the kuaka breed in Alaska, their eggs were never seen here in Aotearoa, so they were seen as birds of mystery.
Kua kite te kohanga kuaka?
Who has seen the nest of the kuaka?
Ko wai kite i te hua o te kuaka?
Who has ever held the eggs of the kuaka?
Kuaka feature prominently in Māori mythology, and it was believed they came from or passed through Hawaiki – the ancestral home.
It is also believed that Kupe, the Great Chief of Hawaiki followed the path of the kuaka on his journey to Aotearoa. Seeing the kuaka migrate each year in a southerly direction, and returning to the same point showed evidence that land was to be found in that direction. This began the voyage to what was to become Aotearoa. During the voyage, the ancestors would follow the flight of the kuaka during the daylight and follow the cries of the kuaka in the night.
As the kuaka make their arrival back to Te Tau Ihu this spring, you can visit the Motueka Sandspit or Farewell spit to see them in their New Zealand home.
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - Celebrating our language
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is an opportunity to celebrate and learn our unique language. It allows us to encourage others to learn and incorporate te reo into our everyday conversations – which helps us preserve the language and ensure it doesn’t get lost.
Running from 10 September to 16 September, this year’s theme is Kia Kaha te Reo Māori, which is all about keeping the Māori language strong.
“Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of how to support revitalisation, people acquiring and using it and from the language having the right words and terms to be used well for any purpose."
How to get involved
There are many ways you can participate in Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), have a range of posters and resources you can download and share on social media, or print out.
There are also a range of parades happening throughout the week – check out the Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori website for details of events near you.
A great way to get involved throughout the whole year is to take a look at Kupu, and register for their daily emails, which sends you a new Māori word to learn each day.
We encourage all NRAIT owners to get involved this Māori Language Week, whether that’s through encouraging others to learn te reo, sharing posters on social media or heading along to an event.
Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria
My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul
Cultural grants - supporting our whānau
Our education funding programme has traditionally had a focus on providing support to our whānau in their education journey through scholarships to university or polytechnic. However, as well as academic education, we think it is equally important to continue cultural and sport education. So, we also provide sports and cultural grants for owners who want some support to reach their goals.
The individual sports and cultural grants are awarded up to $500, usually to assist registered owners with travel to events where they are representing their sport or cultural group at a national or international event.
Individual sports and cultural grants are only available for registered NRAIT owners to apply between 1 June and 31 August, however, Tautoko Putea grants are available outside of these dates.
We see a range of cultural and sporting activities throughout the grant applications, and it’s great to see our owners engaging in so many different activities. For example, recent grant recipients include Kirsty Willison, who travelled to Europe with her kapa haka group, and Haelyn Ngaia, who recently travelled to Las Vegas to compete at the Kenpo World Championships.
Kirsty Willison, one of our sports & cultural grant recipients for 2017, helped organise a trip to the International Folklore Festival in Southern Italy for her kapa haka group last year.
As well as assisting with the organisation of the trip, she also performed with the group. The grant helped Kirsty travel and perform in Italy. You can take a look at the video of her trip here.
We were also proud to award Haelyn Ngaia a Tautoko Putea grant to travel and compete at the Jeff Speakman Kenpo 5.0 World Championships in Las Vegas, USA last month. Haelyn achieved great results, with a 3rd Place in Forms/Sets in ages 9 and under Brown - Black Belt category, 4th in Self Defence and Sparring. Her whānau say we are “extremely proud of Haelyn and her achievements thus far in her martial art journey and thank you for helping Haelyn to achieve her dream of competing on the world stage”.
Opportunities for the community
Our grants and funding opportunities for sports or cultural groups are not limited to the education funding programme. The Trust is often approached by groups who require financial assistance for upcoming events or competitions.
For example, we recently provided Te Kapa Haka o Te Āwhina Marae with a grant so they could purchase their uniforms for the recent regional Kapa Haka competition.
As a Trust, we believe it is important for our owners and wider community to get involved in a range of activities to learn more about their culture and retain, and further their education. We’re looking forward to seeing more owners achieve their goals and represent their community. You can keep up to date with all of our scholarship and grant recipients on the Our Stories page on our website.
Nga Tau - The significance of our seasons
Each season plays an important role in how we plan for the year ahead. Our tūpuna relied upon the maramataka (Māori seasonal calendar), which they used as a guide for times to fish, go eeling, hunt, and plant crops.
Typically, our tūpuna would view the year in two seasons, the warmer months of Raumati (summer) and the colder months of Takurua/Hōtoke (winter). However, they still referred to them as four seasons – particularly when it came to harvest and other key events.
When the kowhai bloomed, it meant spring had arrived. Spring is the time of year to prepare the whenua (land) and crops for harvest. Known as ‘the digging season’, these were the months to dig, prepare the soil and plant crops. Our tūpuna would prepare the whenua during spring and plant kūmara, ready for harvest in the following months.
Although the warmer months often brought an abundance of kaimoana, including crayfish, kahawai and whitebait, summer was not often looked forward to. The height of summer often meant food was scarce, which lead to exhaustion. Many of our tūpuna eagerly awaited the return of the colder months, which brought harvest and food was plentiful.
Autumn was probably the most anticipated time of year for our tūpuna. With autumn being the time of harvest, there was an abundance of kai. The whenua of Motueka is rich in nutrients from the Motueka River – making it ideal for growing food crops.
“Ngahuru, kura kai, kura tangata”
Harvest-time, wealth of food, the wealth of people
We still celebrate this time of year, through events such as KaiFest.
Following harvest, we enter the cold months of winter, which our tūpuna looked forward to as an indication of what will come in the new year. Takurua also signals Matariki, the Māori new year.
Matariki is a time to look forward to the new year, and traditionally tohunga (an expert) would look to Matariki as a prediction for the next harvest.
If the stars were bright it showed a warm, favourable season for planting, which ensures a good harvest. If the stars were unclear or close together, then it was a negative tohu (sign). The time for planting would depend on whether the stars were unclear and close together, or bright and clear, with the good tohu of bright stars meaning that planting would happen earlier.
Although not strictly followed today, we still look to the maramataka to plan out our events each year, and know what each season will bring.
Funding provided over the years
As a Trust, our aim is to provide opportunities, and make education accessible to all of our owners, including tamariki, rangatahi and adults too. Over the past 22 years, we have provided our owners with funding to help them along their education journey, with our education funding programme.
We have continuously developed our education funding programme to ensure our owners are employable adults with skills that will benefit not only themselves, but the wider community.
With a recent focus on STEM subjects, we have seen many owners enter into study, pursuing careers in fields such as health, science and construction. Rather than just focusing on tertiary education, we also offer grants towards trades training, adult education, and study assistance for primary and secondary students.
We are pleased to be able to offer this support to our owners, and over the past 22 years we are proud to say we have assisted over 193 owners on their education journey, through 341 grants and scholarships, totaling $422,000.
Throughout the years of our education funding programme, we have seen owners reach their goals, learn new skills, and begin their careers. We’ve been keeping up with some of these owners in recent years, to see how their journeys are going. You can read their kōrero here.
We’re looking forward to seeing even more of our owners succeed in whatever path in life they have chosen, and we are proud to support them along the way.
Te Kapa Haka o Te Āwhina Marae
As a Trust, we aim to encourage our owners to get involved with cultural activities such as kapa haka, as it only strengthens understanding of our history and our tūpuna. Knowledge from owners is passed down through storytelling, and kapa haka is one of many ways we communicate our kōrero.
Te Kapa Haka o Te Āwhina Marae is a kapa haka group made up of 36 members aged 14 through to late 50’s, including NRAIT owners. They currently practice twice a week for up to 7 hours, as well as holding a wānanga every 3 weeks, where they practice Friday through to Sunday. They are training hard for the Te Tau Ihu Regional Senior Kapa Haka Te Matatini Qualifying Competition, on Saturday June 30.
The competition, taking place in Nelson, will be the last qualifying event in the country. One team from this event will qualify for the 2019 Nationals, which is held in Wellington at the Westpac Stadium.
Maihi Barber, one of the tutors and leaders of the group, says that nurturing members is a priority as many are first time performers. Facilitating effective trainings and aids that enable the performers to be prepared as well as possible for their June 30 outing is a big part of it. Performers who go on to stage under prepared don't enjoy the occasion and that will be disappointing for themselves.
Overall, they hope that all performers come off the stage feeling excited and proud of their contribution to the performance of the rōpū (group), and from their performance they hope to inspire others to join in preparation for the 2020 regionals.
Take a look at some clips from their practices earlier this month. Throughout the performance, you will hear waiata about Te Āwhina Marae and Motueka. These waiata have been specifically written about the marae and the whenua by Pohe Stephens and Aunty Mere.
During Ohu Maatu weekend, members from Te Kapa Haka o Te Āwhina Marae worked with the Trust to raise money to help with costs associated with preparing and attending competitions. The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust have also provided the group with a grant to assist them with purchasing their uniforms.
The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust strives to provide owners with opportunities, and are proud to support the kapa haka group as they prepare for their next competition.
This Sunday, 24 June, the group are holding a dress rehearsal which is open to the public. You can head along to the Motueka High School Hall at 1pm to support them in the lead up to regionals.
Matariki – Celebrating the New Year
Matariki is the celebration of the Māori New Year. The cluster of seven stars called Matariki, also known as the Seven Sisters or Pleiades, reappear in the month of Piripi (June – July). June 15 marks the start of Matariki for most New Zealanders, with many celebrations across the country beginning this week, although some iwi celebrate Matariki at different times within this time.
How we celebrate Matariki
During Matariki we celebrate and give respect to the whenua, through different rituals and activities. Celebrations take place across the country, and include the creation and flight of traditional Māori kites (pākau) and lanterns, cultural performances and waiata from our tamariki, retelling kōrero to our whānau, as well as get togethers for hangi.
Kite flying is a special ritual that is closely linked with Matariki, as kites are seen as the connectors between Papatūānuku, the earth mother, and Ranginui, the sky father.
At Matariki celebrations around Aotearoa, various kites are flown in the sky, just as our ancestors did. Some celebrations encourage tamariki to decorate their own kites with traditional decorations such as feathers and shells, and fly them among the stars. Other celebrations have more modern styles of kites and hot air balloons that represent how our ancestors flew kites from the hilltops.
Find Matariki in the night sky
To find Matariki in the sky, check out this video. It shows you how to find the cluster, as well as other constellations in our sky.
Events in the rohe
There are many events around the rohe to celebrate and recognise Matariki. There’s a lot to be learned so we hope you get the chance to get along to something nearby.
Celebrate Matariki with Taonga Pūoro – Nelson Provincial Museum, 15 June, 5pm – 6pm
Matariki Celebrations – Ngāti Koata Trust, 16 June, 9am – 7pm
Matariki Lantern Parade – Victory Community Centre, 27 June, 3.30 - 8pm
Matariki Open Day – Te Āwhina Marae, 13 July, 9am - 4pm
Keep up to date with these events through their Facebook pages.