Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai

Mā Ngātiwai, Mō Ngātiwai, e ai ki te Kōrero o Ngātiwai For Ngātiwai, by Ngātiwai according to Ngātiwai

The Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai team, left: Joeann Walters, Taipari Munro, Merepeka Henley, Aperahama Kerepeti Edwards and Elliott Heremaia (who joined our team in March 2017)
In March this year, Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai was launched as an iwi wide Reo and Tikanga revitalisation project at Te Paratene Te Manu marae in Ngunguru.

Whānau from Tuparehuia, Ngaiotonga, Punaruku, Otetao, Oakura, Mōkau, Whananaki, Matapouri, Ngunguru, Takahiwai, Motairehe and Kawa were all present to be part of the project launch.

The launch at Ngunguru followed on from a process that began over the past couple of years, where the Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai team; Taipari Munro, Merepeka Henley, Joeann Walters, Aperahama Kerepeti Edwards and the late Sarah Burkhardt, travelled the Ngātiwai rohe and listened to the aspirations, needs and ideas of the hau kāinga (home people) of each marae.  They asked whānau what their thoughts were for revitalising Te Reo me Ōna Tikanga within Ngātiwai.  Many responses and feedback were collected, all of which were resounding in their support of this kaupapa.

From this mahi and all responses collected, it was identified that there has been a down turn in the use of Te Reo Māori on our Taumata (marae orators) and Pae-Karanga (female callers) within Ngātiwai.  The team found that this had an impact on the capacity of our marae to conduct and deliver tribal hui, ceremonies, customs and practices in Te Reo Māori.  The need for a targeted programme was identified that has had input from its targeted communities, with a succession plan that is linked to the Ngātiwai Trust Board’s wider Te Reo strategy to increase the quality of Te Reo and Tikanga within Ngātiwai.

Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai took the name from a tribal saying – Ngā poitō maha o te kupenga o Toi-te-hua-tahi.  This korero refers to the offshore islands from Motukōkako (the hole in the rock) through to Āotea (Great Barrier Island), and its Ngātiwai connections through whakapapa, stories, customs, culture, reo and tikanga. Te Kupenga is a net, and the net stretches across all of the rohe of Ngātiwai. Ngātiwai have many marae along the coastline and like the islands, these are seen as the floaters of the net. It is a safety net that will capture all our people and ensure our reo and tikanga are kept alive.

Taipari Munro delivers the programme to participants at Te Paratene Te Manu Marae – Ngunguru
​Programme manager and facilitator, Joeann Walters says “With this programme we don’t just focus on the language alone, we help our people build a deeper understanding and connection to our language and tikanga.  We want it so that our Te Reo me Ōna Tikanga becomes the everyday norm, from simple things like the way we greet each other around our kitchen table, around the business table, to the various protocols we must uphold on the marae.”

During scheduled Marae Noho (live in), participants learn things such Karakia, hīmene, waiata, mihi mihi as well as protocols.  Outside of the weekend maraenNoho throughout the year, the programme’s participants also attend weekly tutorials that are designed to reinforce their learnings, and two Hui Rūmaki where participants attend a four day wānanga in total Reo immersion. 

Ngātiwai Trustee and Chair for Ngaiotonga Marae, Merepeka Henley, says “It is so exciting that finally after years of putting this programme together, we are now delivering a programme that our people have told us they want – Mā Ngātiwai, Mō Ngātiwai, E Ai Ki Te Kōrero o Ngātiwai – For Ngātiwai, by Ngātiwai according to Ngātiwai.” 

“Our team would also like to acknowledge the late Sarah Burkhardt who worked tirelessly to help bring Te Kupenga Reo o Ngātiwai to fruition.”

Te Kupenga Reo o NgātiWai are also proud to have three of their team members represent and present our Reo Strategy at the World Indigenous Conference on Education during 24 – 29 July 2017 being held at Toronto, Canada.  The team will be co-presenting with the Tahitian representatives in a panel discussion about an Iwi revitalisation plan for our language.

The work that the Te Kupenga Reo Team are doing has spread along the “Kūmara Vine” which has seen the team being approached from other iwi to observe and understand the kaupapa that is being delivered.  These iwi are interested in developing something similar to ensure preservation of Te Reo and Tikanga in their own rohe.

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