Tikanga Marae - Revitalisation of Marae Practices

July 7, 2022, noon

The final wānanga of a series of five called ‘Tikanga Marae’ was held at Te Patunga marae from the 1st - 2nd of July 2022. The event focused on the revitalisation of te reo Māori. It also covered te reo o te kāinga and shared tikanga practices to help participants apply that knowledge in everyday practices. 

Tikanga Marae actively engaged with just over 60 participants and 40% of those were under 18 years old. Tikanga Marae provided a raft of information, whakapapa, kōrero, kīwaha, teaching of sentence structures, tikanga around karanga and the difference between hui ora and hui mate practices. This wānanga was developed to guide the next generation to take up their roles within their marae, and to support them to succeed within those roles by teaching the ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’, sharing kōrero, and bringing them together to practice leadership throughout hui ora and hui mate. 

“I believe the responsibilities on marae need to be shared (intergenerational) in such a way that everyone contributes to the welfare and the future of marae, te reo and tikanga practices. If one fails, we all fail. Ko te amorangi ki mua ko te hapai ō ki muri. The taumata and karanga have begun to dwindle especially here in Whangaroa, as our tūpuna pass on, and pass without sharing the knowledge they have. Because of this, we see two main reoccurrences, the first being empty taumata/karanga or the second being the same few people doing these roles all the time” said Ruth Heta. 

Tautīnei asked Ruth what her inspiration was in planning such an event;

“The real inspiration behind the planning of this wānanga was whakatupuranga and rangatahi-centric. Asking ourselves the question, what will be left for them? Be it, that of Whakapapa, Kōrero Tuku Iho, Karakia, Waiata, Tātai whenua, Tātai Moana, hononga. Ensuring that the platform for shared knowledge by our Kaumatua and Kuia was well supported for the transfer of knowledge, and that we could provide according to their needs, ā, Koinā te Tū.”

Tautīnei also asked Raniera Kaio what inspires him when planning events such as these; 

“The inspiration are our marae and our kids. Our marae were dormant for 2-3 years, and, like marae around the country, our marae is looking at how to re-energise, given the growing interest following the last 2-3 years.  Whānau near and far are eager for kaupapa reo/whaikōrero/karanga/whakapapa/tikanga/waiata etc. They’re also eager to reconnect - nā reira, holding them at our marae is advantageous to our taumata kōrero, our taumata karanga, our kautā, our marae.”

“Our kids, today’s kids, are hungry for it. More than their parents. They’re unlike any other generation as their parents (us) were first (or second gen) kōhanga and kura kaupapa Māori. In a world where so much is at their finger tips - their enthusiasm is inspiring. With reo Māori so visible and “cool” they want to know more. It’s beautiful!” said Kaio.

Wānanga like this help to identify the gaps and weaknesses in marae, hapū, whānau practices and structures. Incorporating te reo fluency and knowledge of tikanga also provides a space for whānau to respond with ideas or solutions. This process then flows into a collective discussion wrapped with the support of others and in return the wānanga can generate the momentum needed to action those solutions. 

“Our pēpi sharing space in wānanga allows the environment to become known to them, many of these environments (wānanga - shared learning spaces) are unfamiliar to our pakeke, especially when it comes to the evolution of te reo Māori. Our rangatahi are the present day future, how we behave, the way we practice who we are as Māori, how we treat our tikanga, and uphold our kawa, becomes a central focus within wānanga. These shared spaces are then pivotal for intergenerational transmission and survival” (Ruth Heta)

Ruth Heta said it has been a great experience for her and all involved. She wanted to acknowledge those who have made this series possible;

“Ngā mihi ki ngā hāpai ō. E tika kia mihia ki a Te Puni Kōkiri; Penetaui Kleskovic, who organised the installation of our marae connectivity which provides us with broadband and to Te Matāwai mō ngā Pūtea” - Heta thanked those behind the scenes who made this event possible.

As Aotearoa begins to transition into a world with less social restrictions post-pandemic, marae gain traction and open their doors for more hui kanohi ki te kanohi. Kawa were challenged during the pandemic, normal practices were put to a halt, combined with marae already decreasing in numbers, it is now, more than ever, that wānanga such as these can create a strong impact. Haami Piripi spoke to Te Hiku Radio about tikanga marae always making the top priority to manaaki and tiaki whānau.

“He kitenga kanohi, he hokinga mahara. Although we need to uphold our tikanga, the health and well-being of our iwi, hapū and whānau should remain paramount” said Piripi during a time where hui were heavily restricted due to the pandemic. It is great to see restrictions lifting post-pandemic, and different rōpū across Muriwhenua creating kaupapa to help our whānau rebuild and flourish, kanohi ki te kanohi.

There are three more wānanga in planning that Rangatahi Ora Roa, the youth development centre in Whangaroa/Kaeo, is leading. These will focus on waiata, karanga, and whaikōrero, with many lining up to attend in the future. 

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