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