Nāu te rourou, Kaimoana Queens Wānanga

In a celebration of te ao Māori and wāhine empowerment, women from across the Far North, Kaipara, Auckland, and Whakatane gathered at Te Whakamaharatanga Marae in Waimamaku to learn about and experience fishing and diving. Organised by the ‘Kaimoana Queens’ and in collaboration with Toi Tangata, the wānanga showcased the enduring significance of fishing and diving practices in te ao Māori and its role in shaping the identity of wāhine Māori as kaitiaki of our moana. Held over three days, ‘Nāu te Rourou’ was the first of three wānanga where wāhine toa shared intergenerational knowledge, skills, and stories related to fishing and diving, renewing deep connections to the moana and fostering a sense of sisterhood.

Commencing with a pōwhiri led by local iwi representatives of Ngāti Pou, Ngāti Korokoro, and Te Pouka, workshops began with a palpable sense of unity and excitement. These workshops dove into the exchange of ideas and experiences, focusing on discussions around different fishing practices. Wāhine engaged in conversations throughout the course of the wānanga soaking up the shared knowledge from participants’ own lived experiences. For many participants, the wānanga served as a transformative experience. Wāhine expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to learn from experienced fisherwomen and divers.

The spirit of camaraderie was evident when participants took part in group fishing and diving activities, immersing themselves in the practices learned while forging lifelong friendships. Stories of overcoming challenges and embracing te ao Māori were shared, further strengthening the bond among the women.

The Kaimoana Queens fishing and diving wānanga not only celebrated new learnings, but also empowered wāhine to become more self-sufficient and self-reliant. The wānanga emphasised the importance of women’s roles in providing for their families and communities, instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment. Through these empowering gatherings, wāhine Māori are growing and reshaping their destinies as strong, empowered leaders in their communities.

The Kaimoana Queens will hold two more wānanga as part of the series; Wānanga 2, ‘Nāku te Rourou’ will take place in Whangaruru in November 2023, with a focus on re-investing in the skill development of the Kaimoana Queens tūākana group. Wānanga 3, ‘Ka ora ai te iwi’ will take place in March 2024 with a large intake taking part in concurrent, rotating workshops. Check out their facebook page for more info.

Nau mai te raumati!