© 2020 by Rik Retimana

Wānanga 1 - Mauri Ora

Our first wānanga was a great success Ngā Kaitiaki were hosted by Te ihi o Nehua marae in Whakapara. We kicked off our day with a formal powhiri. We gathered and welcomed all the new students and facilitators. It was humbling to see such a great turnout. Mihimihi were exchanged and a round of whakawhanaungatanga was first up for our students, the ice was broken and within minutes we'd become whanau. The kitchen called, and dinner was ready so as we do on a marae we all shared a kai to uplift the sacredness and welcome us to our home for the weekend.

It was straight into mahi the students were put into groups and given kupu that they had to define and share with the rest of the class this activity gave an example of the principles that are important to maori in regards to the resource management act. Once we'd covered some basics we all got some rest, ready and waiting for the new day ahead.

Saturday morning our students were out in the marae gardens weeding and clearing patches ready to be prepped for planting the seasons crop. They then moved into the pa harakeke and cleaned up the area while harvesting flax for some weaving activities later that evening. After the gardening was done the students headed back to the marae and got into some bookwork.

A presentation was given by Te Raa Nehua about the impacts on tangata whenua and the principles of Te tiriti o Waitangi according to the Resource Management Act '91. Later in the day the students enjoyed a stroll down to the local awa collecting Totara berries, rongoā and herbs followed by a trip to Puhipuhi Mercury Mines the site of Northlands largest gold deposit and also known as a Ngati Hau wahi tapu. Puhipuhi was the talk of the day by those who braved the trail.

Some collected small rock fragments as taonga to remember the trip while others soaked up the views and saved it to their memory bank. Our night concluded with a rāranga session with a group of us making baskets and hats out of the flax collected earlier. The kids enjoyed the creative time and learning a new skill, you could see the sense of pride in everyone's mahi.

Sunday morning the students learned about rongoā māori and it's uses for different ailments, they made a batch of kawakawa balm to take home using natural wax, oils and plants harvested from the Ngatihau area. It was a full on weekend and everyone was pumped for the next one. What a privilege it is to be part of a better way forward for our community and whenua.


Wānanga 2 - Wai Ora

Our second wānanga another great success. Ngā Kaitiaki were hosted be Hoori Reti me tōna hoa Rangatira a Huhana – Punaruku. Pōwhiri by the ahi kaa and the odd one that lives on the other side of the Maunga Huruiki saw the students arrive safely upon te tuarā o Tāwhirimātea - Ngā Hau e Whā to settle into the weekend. With the kōrero of our tūpuna ‘na tāu rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi’ we completed the pōwhiri process with a beautiful kai. Our mahi started back in Hoori Reti with whakawhānaungatanga – something we Māori pride ourselves in doing to solidify that which sets us aside here in Aotearoa our deep whānaungatanga with each other and te Taiao – and true to form 3hours later we managed to settle in Huhana to complete our book work for Module 1 Mauri Ora.


Saturday morning arrived with a karakia from ahi kaa and breakfast 7:30 am. Our first workshop was on the 10 commandments (pg 6) when doing offsite excursions – a good point to make is one of the biggest commandments is missing from the notes KARAKIA – so we will write a simple karakia for all to learn. All the rest of this workshop was sharing experiences and common sense. With that in mind, Buchannan did a karakia and we went out on our first off-site excursion to the Ngahere just behind the marae. Things covered: How to set leg traps (H&S points), How to make a low-cost Bait (flour, icing sugar, raro sachet lime and couple of drops of aniseed), wild animal signs (their highways, sleeping areas, scenting marks, scratching marks), what type of trees to look for these signs (Puriri, Totara, Mamaku are the common ones in this ngahere), how to set the traps, native bird area sensitive trapping. We learned about different species of plants in the Ngahere – everyone set a trap or 6, then it was back to the marae for a debrief. Very interesting to note that the debrief lasted 2 hours as it was a sharing exercise on experience and knowledge where students took part and were totally engaged. After lunch, Paora took us to one of their waahi tapu - Kaingarua Pā. With bare feet the kaupapa (so that the waewae tapu can be felt against the whenua) we headed off on our Hikoi with Poutūterangi taking the lead.


On top of Kaingarua Paora identified most of the sites of significance waahi tapu that could be seen, this included Russell State Forest, Puke Moremore, Papakauri, Motu Kauri, Tūparehuia, Parematā, Maui Waho, Maui Roto, Huruiki, he identified the waterways where pātiki is caught, where the pipi beds are, where they dive for paua and koura. Paora also named the whānau within each area - ahi kaa. Kaingarua pā site was used to warn by fire any ope taua (war parties) entering the bay of Whangaruru. After descending the pā site we drove down to the Wharf to put our feet into the Moana to the Waitai before heading back to the marae.


At the marae another workshop caring for our environment & sustainability with Brad. Some important points *how big companies talk about caring and being sustainable by removing some plastics out of production but keeping a whole lot of other processes and products that degrade the environment. Input also from students talked of ZONE’S 1-5 a sustainable or regenerative outcome for home and community Z1 – kitchen garden, Z2 – community gardens, Z3 chickens, pigs, goats, water reticulation, Z4 – larger stock groups, Z5 – ngāhere (a very basic understanding) good information available on regenerative living.


After dinner, Paora facilitated the workshop Atua Māori within our personal attributes when learning and sharing AKO focussing on Whenua / Hau / Ahi / Wai with a walk thru the pōwhiri process to gain a higher level of Atua Māori in everyday use on the Marae our learning place for the weekend. Whakatauki (origins unknown) and Whakatauakii (origins are known) and how these are used in conjunction with the Taiao – great input from the Te Reo Māori speakers within the group. The last workshop for the night facilitated by Tepora was about sharing experience in setting up a Hapu Environmental Management Plan – the main 8 steps of HEMP Ngāti Hau Before turning in the trapping team went to check the traps and they had caught 4 possums – so with the traps reset – it was time to turn in.


Early Sunday morning trap checking again another 4 possums and all traps brought back and divided out the last workshop was on possum pelting from 2 of the students which set the tone for these wānanga that everyone has something to contribute to the learning space. Hoori Reti was given the last mihi and everyone left filled to overflowing with mātauranga Nga mihi anō ki a koutou te ahi kaa ki Punaruku Otetao.