Rau Ora Celebration

Project Managers Moana Henry (front left) and Petina Stone (front right) celebrate with the taitamariki who graduated with NZ Touch certificates at the Rau Ora Celebration at Otetao marae

On Friday, 28th April, Ngātiwai Education – Te Au Here O Tūkaiaia gathered with whānau at Otetao Reti Marae to celebrate twenty two Ngātiwai Taitamariki who passed their NZ Touch Referee exams whilst gaining official accreditation and certificates.

This celebration was the culmination of four wānanga that saw these tamariki sit NZ Touch examinations to receive their NZ Touch Referee qualifications.

The programme’s kaupapa was based around suicide prevention, which the Ngātiwai Education team approached in a positive light based on “Rau Ora – Realising potential through sport.”

Rau Ora Project Manager, Moana-Aroha Henry says “For too long we have talked about all the negative things that have happened with high suicide statistics in the North, so we wanted to use this kaupapa to promote good things, promoting prevention and looking at ways our taitamariki can engage in better things and celebrate what they are good at.”

Moana said “To help the tamariki gain these qualifications we had the guidance of Lance and Fiona Watene who came up from Auckland for all of our wānanga, so we thank both Lance and Fiona for their time and support of the Rau Ora Programme.”


Rangatiratanga (Leadership) and Whanaungatanga (relationships) were specific outcomes that the Education team had set for Rau Ora.  These were highlighted on the night with Rau Ora participant and head boy at Tikipunga High School, Saadiq Tua, sitting on the taumata.

Saadiq says “It’s been a long programme that we have completed, where we really built up a great bond amongst all of those that were involved.  Even though we see each other every day on the bus, we all go our own ways, so it was cool to be involved in Rau Ora to be able to hang out and spend time with each other.”

Project Manager, Petina Stone says “We are delighted with what we have achieved with Rau Ora.  These tamariki really connected with their identity and have the mana to know who they are and where they fit into their community – Ngātiwai ki Whangaruru.”

“We know that when they wear their Rau Ora hoodies and taonga that they will stand tall and wear them with pride.”

Saadiq Tua says “On behalf of everyone that was involved in this programme, I would like to thank Aunty Petina Stone, Whaea Moana-Aroha Henry, Matua Tony Barber, Katya Timu, Agnes Pene, Kea Randell, Jackie and Johnny Saddler for all their mahi in running this programme to support and help us gain our qualifications.”

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