Tuākana connect to taonga as they engage in biodiversity research

P 2 Marae shot

The Tuākana (youth mentors) of Te Aho Tū Roa are a network of young Māori leaders throughout Aotearoa. Toimata provides support to tuākana to attend a range of events and projects in different whaitua, and tuākana in turn help to tautoko and facilitate Te Aho Tū Roa projects.

Following an amazing three day wānanga at Matapouri Mārae, Te Aho Tū Roa tuākana of Ngātiwai descent with a passion for taiao, kaupapa Māori, rangatahi Māori, and a connection to the hapū of Ngātiwai, were invited by Ngātiwai kaumātua Hori Parata and his son Kauri to go to Māuitaha, one of the Ngātiwai offshore mautere (islands).

They have utilised the invitation to visit Māuitaha to observe the relationship kiore have with wildlife and explore possibilities for a bird sanctuary, while engaging in wānanga. While observing the relationship kiore have with flora and fauna on the island, it was also an opportunity for tuākana to wānanga traditional kōrero about the kiore, history and pūrākau of the island, it’s rongoā, and the tūpuna who stayed there.

Ngātiwai has an Memorandum of Understanding with DOC to carry out cultural resource monitoring on the kiore (the Polynesian rat) on Māuitaha. The goal was to capture three specimens of kiore for Hori for research purposes, to observe the wildlife of the island for a future full biological survey, and to connect with the mautere as decendents of Ngātiwai.

The tuākana finished their camp on a high note, with Katarina Tamariki (a DOC worker studying ornithology) assessing that the island has potential as a future bird sanctuary.

The value of wānanga such as that on Māuitaha is that tuākana have the space to develop their leadership skills while linking with whanaunga and exploring connections in their rohe.

Tuākana are enabled to use these connections as a base for their mātauranga, and are supported to develop their understanding of how they can in turn share their knowledge and teach others.

Holding the vision of Te Aho Tū Roa and Enviroschools