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.