Growing the Puna report | Enoka Wehi

Tenā tātou katoa. Ko Enoka Wehi tōku ingoa.

My kaupapa for this internship project was to investigate how tikanga Māori integrated into kori tinana increases Māori participation in hauora, and where hauora fits within these selected taonga tuku iho in the future. The projects we were assigned were quite broad in context which gave us a sense of freedom to explore and interpret our kaupapa in whatever way we pleased. The kaupapa weren’t specific to a certain field which allowed us to build rangahau based on aspects of mātauranga Māori that pertained to things that we implement into our daily lives, teachings gained from our own studies at university and personal kaupapa that are of interest to each of us.

The approach I took when planning my project allowed me to redefine the rangahau (kaupapa Māori based research) and focus on using three genre of kori tinana, Kapa Haka (traditional Māori performing arts), Waka Ama (traditional outrigging), and the latest fitness trend amongst Māori, F45, and present these findings in a case study style approach focused around Te Waka Huia (Kapa Haka), the Manukau Outrigger Canoe Club (Waka Ama) and TAT Tribe (F45) respectively. In terms of the case studies, Te Waka Huia use ‘Te Whare Kōrero’ as a strategy to develop te reo me ōna tikanga and ensure these values – hītori, pūrākau, and tikanga – are sustained through the practice of Kapa Haka for many generations to come. 

Key findings based around Waka Ama showed that the use of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori strengthens Māori participation in Waka Ama and is represented through the following core values (as stated by Waka Ama NZ): 

  • Manaakitanga (to be generous and/or respectful)
  • Hauora (health)
  • Whanaungatanga (sense of family) and 
  • Tū tangata (identity). 

Finally, the F45 case study highlighted that the integration of tikanga Māori into an Australian hauora kaupapa showed that people will continue to participate in F45 long after the craze has ended if whānau oriented values like te reo, tikanga and whanaungatanga are incorporated into the mahi that takes place in studios. 
To summarise, through this rangahau I found that when tikanga Māori is integrated into hākinakina, Māori participation in hauora kaupapa increases because of key Māori concepts like whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and tū tangata. In order for these tāonga tuku iho to be safeguarded for the future generations, we must ensure we actively play our part in participating in and increasing awareness around these hākinakina.

Some of my highlights from this internship include our hīkoi in December where we adventured through the Karamatura Ranges and discussed ‘Te Mauri o te Wai’ and kaitiakitanga – including what it truly means to be guardians of our taiao – before having a kaukau in one of the hīrere at Huia. Then of course, our haerenga to Rotorua where we heard kōrero, hītori and pūrākau pertaining to significant sites across Te Waiariki during the day and when the moon had risen we were fortunate enough to be taken into the ngāhere for a hunt. Following this, we went strolling through Lake Rotoiti in search of freshwater koura which was an unreal experience that ultimately bought us closer together as interns to where we are now, as whānau.

This journey with Toi Tangata has illustrated to me a world I sometimes take for granted as identity, whanaungatanga, te reo me ōna tikanga and kaitiakitanga are a natural part of my lifestyle thanks to those who laid the foundations and those who continue to honour the teachings of our grandparents. Nei tō tama, tē irāmutu, te kaihaka, te pononga, te kaihāpai i te kaupapa rangatira e whakamānawa ana atu ki a koutou katoa.

Enoka Wehi wearing a black shirt, standing in front of a black and white Toi Tangata
Enoka Wehi
(Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki , Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea me Ngāi Tūhoe)

Enoka Wehi is a Science student at the University of Auckland. Enoka was a member of Toi Tangata’s Growing The Puna Internship programme for 2020-2021.