Weaving Wānanga

Posted by Team Te Whanake on 30 June 2017

Weaving wanangaAll photos taken and supplied by Naomi Aporo.

This month, over Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Taranaki based weaver Mako Jones visited Te Āwhina Marae to share her mōhio (knowledge) of weaving. A weaving wānanga, was held for experienced weavers of Te Tau Ihu. During the weekend, those who attended used techniques from our ancestors to weave two whāriki (floor mats).

The floor mats woven over the long weekend were created by the group for the purpose of whāriki kopaki for tangihanga.

Weaving 1

Historically, floor mats were of great importance before European settlers arrived. As the whare had dirt floors whāriki were used as the basic floor covering. Finer floor mats were made for sleeping, which lay over the top of whāriki, and for special occasions, such as for the birth of a child. The use of whāriki in the place of a coffin is now becoming an alternative option for our whānau.

Flax 1

The transfer of knowledge from our kaumātua down through the generations is essential for keeping our culture and traditions alive and well. This kaupapa is important for preserving our culture, and that’s why the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust are proud to support and sponsor the next weaving wānanga, which will be held in early March, 2018. 

Weaving 2



Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 12 June 2017

New Matariki blog image

The reappearance of Matariki, a cluster of 7 stars, signals the new year. In Aotearoa, Matariki is the Māori new year, and is when we rejoice in new beginnings, remember the past and celebrate the present. Some iwi celebrate Matariki at different times of the year, but June 24th marks the start of Matariki for most New Zealanders. It is also a time to celebrate and give respect to the whenua, and celebrate the tangata.

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.

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 sign. The time for planting would depend on these signs, with the good sign of bright stars meaning that planting would happen earlier.

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 hangi. We also celebrate the rising of Matariki by re-telling our kōrero to our whānau.

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.

Matariki Open Day – Te Āwhina Marae – this event was on Friday 9June. Did you make it along?

Matariki Lantern Parade – Victory Community Centre, June 14th 3 - 8pm

Matariki Celebrations – Ngāti Koata Trust, June 24th 9am – 9pm

Keep up to date with these events through their Facebook pages.           


Education funding - applications now open

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 1 June 2017

Education lunch 2017

The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust’s education grant and scholarship funding programme is now open for applications for 2017, and as with each year, we open applications for 3 months to NRAIT owners who meet the criteria for each grant.

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 offer grants towards trades training, adult education, and study assistance for primary and secondary students.

A big focus for us now however, and into the future, is also developing people to work in key industries where Aotearoa is currently lacking a younger workforce, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We encourage our owners, who are about to enter tertiary education, to consider these areas of study, and explore our funding options to support them throughout their education journey.

Business management and other related subjects are also an important focus area for us to continue the entrepreneurial legacy of our tūpuna. These skills are also important for the Trust, as we need to continue bringing new talent, with the right skills and experience, on board to drive the organisation forward.

However, if you’re looking to take the next step in learning te reo, learning a trade, or any other adult education programme, the grants are available to help you achieve this.    

We are pleased with the success of our education funding recipients last year, and we look forward to supporting more of our owners in their studies.

Applications are now open, and can only be done online. These must be completed by 31 August 2017. If you have questions about the application process, please contact Nichola Dixon at info@nrait.co.nz.

Rōpata Taylor 


Whenua Planting Ohu Maatu 2017

Posted by Rōpata Taylor on 26 May 2017

Whenua Planting Ohu Maatu 2017


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.

Whenua (placenta) is what nurtured our tamariki while in our mother’s puku, so we bring it back to our whenua Te Uma. Planting the placenta of our new born has been a cultural custom for us for centuries. When we plant the whenua, it forms a connection between our tamariki and Papatūānuku, the earth mother who gives birth to all things.

We also planted trees along with the whenua, which will grow with our tamariki. The whenua planting also represents that our tamariki have their feet firmly grounded on this land, and they always have a place to return to, their tūrangawaewae. We planted the whenua with the sands that have come from our ancestral maunga, Mt Taranaki.

As part of her personal journey to reconnect to her whenua in Te Tau Ihu, Emma Park wanted to plant her baby’s whenua at Te Uma.

“We were attending the NRAIT AGM and thought that this would be the perfect time to bring his whenua. On the Friday night, we were advised by Anaru Wilkie that my partner Shenan also has whakapapa connections to NRAIT and Te Āwhina, and this reassured me that we were doing the right thing. 

The NRAIT office were so awesome and provided a special pack with a native koromiko and all the things that we would need for planting.

We were privileged to share the day with another whānau from Taranaki. My partner chose the location and dug the hole before Aunty Hera did a karanga for us all to come down to the designated place for planting whenua. If you haven't been to Te Uma the view is amazing looking down on our whenua. 

Both whānau returned their whenua to Papatūānuku, while we were blessed to have Uncle Andy and Rāmiri to say karakia for us.

The experience was very uplifting knowing our baby has a physical and spiritual link back to Motueka.”


Whenua Planting

Thank you to Emma for sharing her kōrero.

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


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.


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