Te Whanake Report 2016

Posted by Ropata Taylor on 8 May 2017

Te Whanake Report 2016 from Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust on Vimeo.


Poupou Unveiling – The gateway to our rohe

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 27 April 2017

Poupou unveiling V2


Whānau from NRAIT were part of a group that unveiled and blessed the first two poupou (carvings) at the Abel Tasman National Park early on the morning of Saturday 8 April. The poupou are the first of eight gateway sculptures to be placed at major entrances of the park.

With the installation of the first two poupou, the project that was more than a decade in the making, was underway at last. The location of our ancestors in these key places throughout the park highlights the relationships our families have with the rohe as manawhenua.

This project is significant for us as not only will visitors come to Abel Tasman National Park and see the natural beauty, they will also gain an understanding of the enduring history the area holds for Māori and the people of Te Tau Ihu.

These first poupou represent two rangatira, Turangāpeke and Hohaia Rangiauru.


Turangāpeke is a well-known name among NRAIT members as it is also the name of the wharenui at Te Āwhina Marae. Turangāpeke is of Ngāti Rārua, and his children were the original land owners of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka, our whenua.

The pou of Turangāpeke has been placed at Anchorage, and holds a taiaha, which is symbolic of his leadership as a warrior and strategist during the time of the heke (migrations).

Hohaia Rangiauru

Hohaia Rangiauru of Te Ātiawa, was also an original owner of our Whakarewa lands. He was the Motueka Chief of Te Ātiawa, a key figure in the historic Kaiteriteri hui of 1841. He was also fundamental in providing evidence at the 1843-1844 Māori Land Court hearings, a large part of our whānau’s history.

Hohaia Rangiauru can be seen at Medlands, holding a tokotoko, which represents his authority that he had as a chief, and with his involvement in securing the customary rights to our lands through the Land Court hearings.

Te Rauemi

The original carvings were completed by John Mutu at Te Āwhina Marae, which were then made into moulds. To increase the longevity, the carvings were replicated into concrete as they will be exposed to many natural elements such as salt water and salt air from the sea. The taiaha and tokotoko held by the individual tūpuna are made from bronze.

At the completion of the project, carvings will be found throughout the park with each poupou placed at the other prominent gateways. The tūpuna are placed in the areas closely aligned with each of them and their kōrero.

In time, the poupou will be integrated with technology, where they’ll be connected with wi-fi spots, to tell the stories of the ancestors and manawhenua through visitors’ smartphones.

This is a very exciting opportunity to ensure our legacy and our kōrero are not lost, and people from all over the world can learn about the tangata whenua through new media while also experiencing the natural beauty of the rohe.


Representatives from DoC and Project Janzoon, NRAIT members, and others from the community at the unveiling of Turangāpeke at Anchorage.  


It's here...Ohu Maatu 2017

Posted by NRAIT team on 24 April 2017

Ohu Maatu 2017

On 28 April your whānau and the descendants of the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust will gather to celebrate Ohu Maatu 2017, in your homelands in Motueka for a special weekend of reconnecting, learning and celebrating.

The hui-ā-tau (annual general meeting)

Ohu Maatu also includes our hui-ā-tau (annual meeting), where registered owners gather to address the governance requirements of the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust. This is held on Saturday morning 9am – 12pm. 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. Learn more or watch a video about the history of our hui-ā-tau here.

This year we’ll also 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.

Email info@nrait.co.nz for the live stream password and then click here to register to watch it on the morning of Saturday 29 April.

A fun filled weekend of activities

During the hui-ā-tau tamariki will have organised activities to keep them busy, but they’re not the only ones having fun.

On Saturday afternoon we have waiata, sports, and carving and weaving workshops. We then regather to go to the movie night where we’ll be premiering the NRAIT music video trailer and video from the day’s events.

Connection and kōrero

At dawn on Sunday morning there will be a fire ceremony at Te Uma. We’ll light the fire cauldron to welcome the new day and mark Ohu Maatu 2017. Lighting the fire this way is how our tūpuna used to communicate with other iwi across the land. Our tūpuna specifically did this atop our maunga, Pukeone.

The morning celebrations continue to Te Āhurewa, our historic and much loved church on Te Āwhina Marae, for a service.

Every year we do a tour of the rohe to share the kōrero of our heke, our whenua and the struggles along the way. This year we have a unique opportunity to travel to the Motueka Provincial Museum to view the exhibition Mai i Hawaiki Te Ahi Ka Roa, a story about our ancestral homelands to our home fires of today.

Check out the programme here and if you haven’t yet registered, there’s not much time left, so register now


Te Heke Ora - Overview of the 2017 Challenge

Posted by Te Whanake on 20 March 2017

Wow! What an awesome achievement by the whānau that completed the first ever Heke Ora Challenge, a health and fitness event that challenged the NRAIT hapū to travel 1000km through any exercise of their choice from mid-January to mid-February.

Te Heke Ora Challenge was put together for NRAIT members to remember and pay tribute to our ancestors’ successful heke (migration) to Te Tau Ihu, a journey of almost 1000km from Kawhia.

Out of the 14 teams, and 96 participants from ages 3 to 99, 10 teams reached and exceeded the goal of covering 1000kms across the set time frame – a massive achievement of a combined 11,000kms. Almost 6,000kms of that were completed by bike, 4,000kms from walking or running, and the rest was made up from swimming or paddling.


  • Team Chase got the challenge underway with a karakia at Kawhia, and so began the 30 day challenge for whānau throughout all of Aotearoa.
  • Moana Wakefield from Pūroto Fitness provided nutrition and exercise advice to challengers via the Facebook page.
  • Allanya Misiepo-Walters recently lost her sister, but their whānau marched on through the challenge. Allanya is also a Project Jonah Medic who attended the pilot-whale stranding rescue at Farewell Spit – she said that if she hadn’t done the Heke Ora Challenge then she would not have been fit enough to help properly with the rescue efforts.
  • Aunty Mere, 80 years old, swam every day.
  • Aunty Vera, 99 years old, from Team Vera Morgan walked 2.4km daily on her walking frame. This team said the challenge not only increased the whānau’s amount of physical activity, but also helped in having more quality family time.

We were so impressed to see how many kaumatua were involved and leading the way for many of the whānau teams, inspiring the young ones to get involved and showing that age is just a number.

Well done!

A big tēnā koutou and congratulations to the following teams:

  • Team Vera Morgan
  • Team Misiepo-Walters
  • Team Chase Whānau
  • Team Katu Whānau
  • Team Harry’s Parks
  • The Outsiders
  • Team Tāmati
  • Team Heke Runners
  • Team Porirua Chases
  • Team Ahi Kaa
  • Team Te Whānau O Riwia no te Wha
  • Stephens Whānau
  • Team Willison Whānau
  • Team Poari

You can see some photo summaries from the teams here.


Following on from Te Heke Ora Challenge there are many other ways to stay involved in health and fitness events. Jo Nathan, NRAIT project facilitator, has entered a woman’s team into the Wairua Warrior event and wants to encourage wahine to join her Mana Wahine team. You can email her here if you’re interested.


Once again, congratulations to all the teams that took part, and we hope many of you that watched from the sidelines will take part in our next health and fitness challenge.


Pūmanawa – recognising our hapū’s entrepreneurial legacy

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 6 March 2017

Celebrating our hapu

One of the earliest European commentators, Captain Fredrick Moore, noted the entrepreneurial character of our ancestors - he observed that our ancestors already had large tracts of land under cultivation in the ‘Big Wood’ (we know it as Te Maatu) when Europeans had arrived, and that our cultivations were not only to meet our own requirements, but also goods for trading with whalers, and traders at Queen Charlotte Sound, Tory Channel and Port Underwood. 

By the 1850s, a third of the sailing ships registered at the Port of Nelson were owned by our ancestors, working Te Tai o Aotere, Raukawa Moana and as far afield as Australia, trading the goods we were producing.

This legacy continues to live on today, with large food and beverage businesses like Kono thriving in our local communities, but the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa ki Motueka hapū also have several members that have taken the leap into business ownership.

Celebrating business owners

  • NRAIT Trustee and member Jeremy Banks has worked in IT all of his life, but in June 2015 he caught the entrepreneurial bug and started working for himself. Jeremy craved business ownership and wanted to start his own IT company. The result…Plink Software. Plink is developing some exciting new projects including a Te Reo Māori micro translation service aimed at increasing Te Reo usage in everyday situations, and Whakapapa geneology software. Recently Plink launched Tipu, an interactive and fun mobile app that helps users learn Te Reo from their phone.
  • Ngawaina Joy Shorrock owns and operates Whenu Ltd. Whenu incorporates Joy’s love of weaving with enterprise. Along with taking harakeke (flax weaving) workshops she also works alongside businesses that need kono (small food baskets) and other woven flax items.
  • Moana Wakefield is the owner and head trainer for Pūrotu Health & Wellness based in Porirua. Moana is a personal trainer and massage therapist, and was also health and fitness trainer for the recent Heke Ora Challenge for NRAIT whānau.
  • Also an NRAIT Trustee, Jarrod Buchanan started Holiday Nelson Ltd in 2008, which is now Nelson’s largest holiday home marketing and property management service. If you’re visiting Nelson and need a place to relax you’ve got to check out their website.

We’d love to hear about more NRAIT business owners and share your kōrero, so send us a message on Facebook and tell us about how you’re continuing the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa ki Motueka hapū’s entrepreneurial legacy.


Returning to your tūrangawaewae

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 22 February 2017

Returning to your turanagawaewae

He kākano ahau i ruia mai i Rangiātea

I am a seed which was sewn in the heavens of Rangiatea

 This well-known Māori proverb tells the story of taking root, developing, growing, and blossoming in the place you belong.

For Māori, it is traditionally our tūrangawaewae – our place to stand and for the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa hapū that place is the Whakarewa lands of Motueka.

Traditionally the hapū would stay in the rohe of their marae and move together, but today we move around so easily, and as a result, we live throughout Aotearoa and the world. Because we’ve spread, we encourage members to reconnect and return home in the hope you develop a sense of unity and belonging, deepen your connection and embrace the legacy of our tūpuna.

But it’s not just about returning to Motueka to deepen that connection, it’s also about engaging with the Trust by way of registering as a member.

Recently Trustee Jeremy Banks’ mother, sister, and two nieces have returned to the rohe to live in Nelson. The two youngest girls are not yet registered members but are currently in the process of having their registration applications approved by the Board. It’s deeply humbling to have the hapū come home to reconnect and to be part of our next chapter.

Registration as a member

If you’re a descendant of one of the original 109 owners, registration and connection with the 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 life, and learning about your ancestors.

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, so we encourage you to reach out to your whānau if they’re not 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.  

To register as a member you must have a direct lineal descent from one of the original 94 Ngāti Rārua tūpuna and 15 Te Ātiawa tūpuna land owners of Whakarewa – Motueka.


Whenua to whenua

Posted by Ropata Taylor on 9 February 2017

Whenua to Whenua cover photo

Juanita and Tainui Semmens

He taonga nō te whenua, me hoki anō ki te whenua

What is given by the land should return to the land


When our tamariki are born a physical and spiritual link is formed with the land through the return of the baby’s whenua (placenta) to the whenua (land).

Planting the whenua (placenta / afterbirth) of our new born has been a cultural custom amongst us for centuries. The planting of the whenua, sometimes along with the pito (umbilical cord) forms a connection between our new born babies and Papatūānuku, the earth mother who gives birth to all things – trees, birds and people.

Planting of the whenua could be either at your turangawaewae - the place of our whānau or hapū, our home, or the place they were born.

For members of NRAIT we welcome you to plant your newborn’s whenua at Te Uma in a specially designed and dedicated place within the burial grounds for mana whenua ki Motueka. Te Uma is a place of revival, connectedness, knowledge, legacy and remembrance.  

Lei and Mili 1

Leilani Mausii and her tamariki Miliama Potesio

Several NRAIT members have planted the whenua of their tamariki at Te Uma already. Juanita Semmens and her daughter Leilani have planted the whenua of Manaia, Tainui, Mili and Sulieta at Te Uma.

You may also want to source or make the ipu whenua – the vessel the whenua will be placed in when buried. Traditionally these are clay pots or more commonly woven baskets. Waka Whenua Limited have started producing these in Motueka. Take a look at their Facebook page here.

If you can’t get it back to Motueka there are many different ways to plant the whenua at home, including planting a tree on top of it to continue feeding the earth, burying it in a quiet corner of the garden, in a potted plant to feed the soil, or at another significant place in your home town.

It’s important that if you are planting it away from your own property you seek permission to do so – you could consult your Kuia and Kaumatua for guidance on what to do here.

If you’re interested in planting the whenua of your tamariki, or would like more information on what is involved, contact Nichola on 03 548 0770 or info@nrait.co.nz


From the mountains, to our shores - Te Heke Ora Challenge

Posted by Josephine Nathan on 24 January 2017

Focusing on jobs 9

From the high mountains of Taranaki to the swells of the Cook Strait, the journey our tūpuna took to settle our tribes upon Motueka’s soil was long and treacherous at times. To remember and pay tribute to our ancestors’ eventual successive migration (heke) to Te Tau Ihu (top the of south), a journey of almost 1000km, the Heke Ora Challenge was born.

Te Heke Ora Challenge is a 30 day, 1000km team exercise challenge. Each week of the challenge nearly 100 NRAIT members from all over Aotearoa either walk, run, cycle, swim or paddle to contribute to their teams’ weekly distance goal. The weekly goal relates to corresponding distance of each segment of the heke our tūpuna undertook to get here.

A particularly special start to Te Heke Ora was having the Chase family travel to Kawhia where Mereama Chase did a karakia to launch the challenge on 9 January.


15966007 1338888106181518 954693257127806429 n

Chase whanau at Kawhia


The overall goal of the challenge is to encourage NRAIT whānau to become healthier and more active in 2017. With 12 teams registered in its first year the challenge has got off to a great start.

It’s also really empowering to see that the teams are made of members across the entire country, which requires impressive leadership by the team captains and perseverance to encourage their team mates to together complete the 1000km challenge within the set 30 days.

There have been some really inspiring stories coming out of Te Heke Ora already, for example one challenger walks 2.4km everyday on their walking frame to add to the team total, and another who swims every morning in the ocean.

The challengers are sharing their weekly updates on the Heke Ora Challenge Facebook page. Sharing and hearing these stories help motivate all those involved, and hopefully encourages other NRAIT members to participate in next year’s event or start moving today, even if they haven’t signed up.

Te Heke Ora Challenge ultimately is to get NRAIT members active while reconnecting you back to your identity, whakapapa and whenua, so without being a registered challenger, you can still follow the updates from other NRAIT members and get lots great ideas from the Heke Ora Challenge fitness and wellbeing coach Moana Wakefield, and learn about how it connects back to our ancestors’ journey.


The year in review - NRAIT's wrap up of 2016

Posted by John Charleton on 22 December 2016

Focusing on jobs 8

Another year comes to an end - 2016 is almost wrapped up and so is another year for the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust. Here’s our final blog entry for 2016.

Over the past few years we’ve been making a conscious effort to move our communication with NRAIT members to online platforms – we’ve been wanting to reach more of you and share more with you. As a result we’ve had an enjoyable year of engaging with the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa ki Motueka hapū on our Facebook page and via our eNewsletter Eke Pānuku, and now finish the year with a great Facebook timeline of what has happened in 2016.

As we scroll through we came across some key events and mahi that we wanted to share. Here’s a quick re-cap of 2016 at the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust.

New education programme

This year we launched our new education funding programme, which offered NRAIT members a broader range of education funding options. These included new grants for anyone wanting to pursue further education, and scholarships for specific subject areas. This move was to create greater accessibility to any member wanting to develop skill sets, while also focusing on the jobs that Aotearoa needs people to be in, such as science, technology, engineering and maths.

For most years we have more grants available than applicants that apply for them, or that fit within the criteria, so we’ll continue to explore initiatives to get more members taking up the grants and scholarship opportunities in the future.

Find out about this year’s grant and scholarship winners here.

Community and hapū support

The Trust puts a lot of emphasis in supporting members through a model where we aim to provide the tools rather than the solution. We do this through sponsorship when it fits within the benefits that we are able to provide as governed by the legislation our Trust operates under – The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust Empowering Act 1993. A few things we’ve done in this year include:

  • Sponsoring NRAIT member Connor Alexander on a five-day boot camp to Silicon Valley in San Francisco. The opportunity was to inspire Māori students to be the new generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and thinkers and to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. This fit well within the aims of the Trust so we jumped at the opportunity to send one of our members along. You can read Connor’s kōrero here.
  • The other big project this year that NRAIT sponsored, along with several others in the region, was the building of Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu at Motueka High School. The whare is a cultural center at the local high school where Māori and Pasifika will have their academic and cultural needs met. To ensure our language continues to be taught, and our kōrero is not lost, the decision to support the build of the whare was an easy one. Learn more about Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu here.

New initiatives and project facilitators

We also brought two new members on to the team for 12 months to run some specific projects for our members. Joesephine Nathan and Steve Kenny have already begun their mahi with the Heke Ora Challenge, with more initiatives to come in 2017.

Check them out and get involved in the challenges that they’re putting together for members.

Saying goodbye

We also had to say goodbye to few NRAIT people this year – never an easy thing to do.

The first was saying goodbye to Pat Park who passed on 31 May 2016. He was a staunch friend of NRAIT and an incoming Trustee. We posted a photo of Pat on our Facebook page to notify members of the sad news, to which many left messages of great memories. Pat was buried at NRAIT’s urupa, Te Uma in June 2016.

Our second goodbye was to Renee Kelly (nee Thomas) who moved on to take a new role at the Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu Trust. She was with the NRAIT team for 10 years as the in-house accountant. Her enthusiasm and smiling face will be missed.

We greatly appreciate the member engagement on our channels over the year – it makes all the difference to our mahi that we can interact with you on a regular basis.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou!


An exhibition - Mai i Hawaiki - Te Ahi Ka Roa

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 14 December 2016

In the 1820s some of the Kāwhia tribes of Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Rārua saw opportunities in a migration (heke) to conquest the south. They were joined at that time by Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, and Te Ātiawa.

Later joined by some Ngāti Raukawa of Maungatautari and northern Taranaki hapū, they moved south in successive migrations to Manawatū, Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast, Te Upoko o te Ika, and Te Tau Ihu – Top of the South.

By the mid 1830’s some of the Kāwhia and Taranaki hapū had begun to put down roots in the Te Tau Ihu districts they had helped conquer, and by 1841 mana whenua over the different districts of the Te Tau Ihu was clearly established. For Motueka this was several hapū from the Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa tribes – our tūpuna (ancestors).

In few places has this kōrero been captured, so when asked to contribute and support the latest exhibition in the Motueka Provincial Museum we jumped at the chance. The Trustees were enthusiastic about the opportunity to showcase our rich history and the bond we have with the land to the wider community.

The Mai i Hawaiki - Te Ahi Kā Roa exhibition tells the story of the great migrations from Kāwhia down the west coast of the North Island and on to Te Tau Ihu. It also tells the story of our entrepreneurship in trade at the ports with whalers and Europeans. Perhaps most importantly it tells the story of our tūpuna’s loss of lands and livelihoods, and the injustices by the New Zealand Company and the Crown spanning 150 years.

Overall the exhibition showcases our tūpuna’s courage and resilience through incredibly unjust times and how we revitalised our position as mana whenua ki Motueka.  

NRAIT provided a collection of images as well as stories on our tūpuna and whenua that have been captured overtime in written form. Some influential and high ranking individuals included are Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Maui kuia Merenako, and the son of Ngāti Rārua chief Tana Pukekohatu, Kerei Pukekohatu. You can read our kōrero on Merenako here and on Kerei Pukekohatu here on our website.

We know that many locals have little knowledge of the town’s indigenous history and what took place when Europeans arrived, so piece by piece these stories are told in books, videos, events, online articles and now an exhibition. Passing this knowledge on to the next generation is of great importance to us.

We were humbled to part of this project and to work closely with the Nelson Provincial Museum who developed the work as part of their outreach and support of affiliated museums.

Mai i Hawaiki - Te Ahi Kā Roa will be Motueka Museum’s featured exhibition through the summer until 30 June 2017. A dawn ceremony took place on 4 December with around 80 people gathering to bless Mai i Hawaiki - Te Ahi Kā Roa. You can learn more about the exhibition and opening times of the museum here.


1 ... 3 4 5 6 7