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Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae

Urban Marae, Māngere

Pāpatūānuku Kōkiri Marae tamariki enjoying harvesting

Photo: Pāpatūānuku Kōkiri Marae tamariki enjoying harvesting

“A pounamu among the rocks”

Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae is an urban marae in the heart of Māngere with a huge vision to recover what has been lost to iwi Māori for many generations – and the drive and determination to make it happen.

It has set as priorities learning te reo Māori, strengthening cultural capability, and improving whānau health, and has brought in marae-based education programmes through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi to achieve those goals.

Over the past two years, more than 300 people have grasped the opportunity to learn in this unique setting, and marae trustee Hineamaru Ropati says demand is growing.

“My biggest role for more than 20 years has been to ensure that we service the needs of our whānau and community and that the values and aspirations of our tūpuna are not compromised.

“Our marae services the needs of all tribes and all cultures. We break stereotype barriers down for those who have never been on a marae, and for those who never go back to their tūrangawaewae. Many here in the urban setting are fourth or fifth-generation whānau. 

“Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae set up extensive community gardens nearly 30 years ago on a hectare of land. As part of the goal to encourage healthier lifestyles, we piloted certificate-level Kai Oranga programmes. Run in partnership with Te Waka Kai Ora – National Maori Organics Authority of Aotearoa, the programmes teach organic food production using traditional Māori values and ethics.

“This led participants to make radical changes in their lives in terms of healthy eating – but on top of this the reo components created a thirst in many participants and their whānau for reo, tikanga and whakapapa.”

Driven by this unexpected outcome, the marae negotiated with Awanuiārangi to have te reo programmes delivered alongside Kai Oranga.

“We had a Te Reo Strategy with the goal that by 2020 over 80% of our whānau will be confident in speaking te reo, in practicing tikanga and in participating on their marae with their hau kāinga. This year we have four te reo programmes at Levels 1, 2 and 3, and two Kai Oranga courses both at Level 3. There are ongoing new enquiries, and a backlog of Kai Oranga Level 3 students waiting for the Level 4 programme to be launched. More than 80% of each class has consistently moved up to the next level every semester. To date, Awanuiārangi wānanga have taken out every weekend through to November.

“Whānau are now contributing to their marae, participating in more events, using their reo and practising tikanga with confidence. Our Kai Oranga students are leading the drive among their whānau, teaching them how to build and plant gardens in their back yards. They are always on the lookout for heritage seeds, and having more in-depth conversations about mahi māra with their parents and elders.

“With the massive increase of students wanting to learn in an environment that is culturally friendly and enjoyable, this has increased whānau participation beyond classes. They come in to help and participate in many of our marae community activities.”

Besides the value of being able to offer these programmes to urban whānau, the partnership with Awanuiārangi has helped Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae to grow and develop.

“Our future plans are definitely to run all the higher academic programmes.”
 Pupuaruhe (Toroa) Marae, Whakatāne

Te Patuwai, Ngāti Maumoana

Education has been a force for change at Pupuaruhe (Toroa) Marae in Whakatāne, showing how targeted iwi development programmes can empower individuals and strengthen hapū and their marae. 

Toroa has been engaged in iwi development courses through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi since 2004. But four years ago, the hapū Te Patuwai pinned its future to a more formalised wānanga education strategy.

In 2013, Te Patuwai made a conscious effort to pursue a wānanga strategy through its connection with Awanuiārangi, Puti Koopu said.

“We had a longstanding relationship with the wānanga, and because of this we knew Awanuiārangi could support our endeavours.

“The most important outcome of engaging with education in this way has been the ability of the marae to cater to its peoples’ need to revive, rejuvenate and maintain its ways and values – and to pass this on to our future generations in a platform that suits us as Patuwai.

Awanuiārangi brought us programmes that can be delivered for and with our people, on our marae.”

Five hapū members who began with Level 1-3 foundation studies have completed their final year of the Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori degree and are expected to graduate in 2017. Another two people are in their final year of that degree programme. Puti believes most of these students would never have attempted degree-level education if not for the support of Awanuiārangi and their marae. Other whānau have enrolled in other Awanuiārangi programmes, including Te Tohu Paetahi Ako (Bachelor of Education), Bachelor of Environment Studies, Bachelor of Nursing, and five have graduated from the Masters programme with two of those going on to enrol in the doctoral programme.

At hapū and marae level, the results speak for themselves.

“We have had between 80 and 100 koroua, kuia, pakeke, rangatahi, taiohi and mokopuna participate in iwi development courses,” Puti says. “If I were to summarise what they got out of their study, I would not hesitate to sum it up in three words: Whanaungatanga, Whakapapa, Tikanga.

“Whanaungatanga underpins the programmes that Patuwai has engaged in under the iwi development programmes, and that has in turn strengthened whanaungatanga in everything we do, in every activity that brings our hapū back to the marae, whether it is birthdays or tangihanga.

“We started with foundation courses to build pathways to higher learning. The subjects studied were aligned with our needs as a marae, which most urgently were to ensure we retain and maintain capabilities and capacity going forward.

Each student benefits from wānanga education in many different ways as an individual, but the collective impact of this personal growth and development has also been transforming for whānau, hapū, iwi.

“Our overarching strategy as a hapū is to stabilise our capacity and capability to fulfill our marae obligations as pae tapu, kaikaranga, kaiwaiata. Wānanga education is helping us achieve that aspiration, and also giving us confidence to be who we are and confidence in how we do things.

“Are more people involved and participating in marae activities as a result of the programme? Most definitely. As an example, recently two kaikaranga were kirimate and unable to call. Two of the Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori students stood in their place. A further example would be the increase in the knowledge and expertise of the hapū in raranga as a result of making piupiu for the kapa haka – both activities a consequence of wānanga.”

Toroa Marae plans to continue to offer programmes “that our people deem important to us”.

“We will continue to pathway from foundation courses to Bachelor degree programmes and higher, to continue to ensure we are doing all we can to maintain our pae tapu and our knowledge base regarding taonga like whakapapa, tikanga, te reo, waiata koroua, to build and support the capacity and capability of our hapū."

 Ngatai Whakarongorua Marae, Tinopai

Te Uri o Hau

Ten years of marae-centred education programmes have transformed the way one small Northland community is approaching its future.

Education is now a priority for several generations of Te Uri o Hau whānau from Ngatai Whakarongorua Marae at Tinopai, at the end of the peninsula on the the edge of the Kaipara harbour. Ngatai Whakarongorua formed a partnership a decade ago with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi that centred on foundation courses in mātauranga Māori, including te reo, tikanga and waiata tawhito. As people progressed through the programmes, learning extended into areas such as rongoa (traditional medicine) and whenua (land).

Ngatai Whakarongorua programme co-ordinator Emily Ashby said the programmes changed many aspects affecting the small community.

“Our marae was all bush when our grandfather died in 1945. Eleven whānau decided together to purchase land from a Pākehā and build a marae. About 10 years ago, we wanted to develop our marae – improve our wharekai, our wharemoe, our ablution blocks – and our hapū. We wanted to wānanga. Our people weren’t going out for an education. We heard that Awanuiārangi would come to us – and its kaupapa was whānau, hapū, iwi development. The programmes had structure and were relevant; the learning pertained to us.

“Awanuiārangi supported us to develop capacity and capability to deliver the right programmes for our people. The teachers came out of the woodwork, our own, all those who were holding information – you couldn’t get that anywhere else, and be supported like Awanuiārangi supports us.

“Prior to our wānanga, there would be nobody at the marae. This kaupapa warmed our whare. Our wānanga brought us together and changed our relationships. We came together every month, a solid core of about 70 people over the years. This kaupapa put us all on the same page and brought discussion – robust discussion. It gave us the space for thinking. Everyone was a teacher and everyone was a learner – parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren. It changed the wairua. We were able to strengthen ourselves as a hapū, as a whānau, and this brought about some nice changes quite quickly.

“We found that this journey is not really about the tohu; it is really about the experience, about what we’re learning in that forum. One of our younger women went from a Pouhono programme to a teaching degree, and she is teaching now. Our wānanga gave our kids so much confidence, the confidence to stand up and give feedback. That is not something they were taught before; they were raised with the idea that they should be seen and not heard. Now the marae and in fact the whole hapū has shifted that thinking.

“In the past, we older ones did not prioritise education but in the last 10 years we have been living it. That changed mindset has filtered down to our younger ones. I look at our Year 12s and 13s and it is all about education. Our kids are now looking at university, and that whakaaro was not there before. Now you don’t finish school at Year 13 – you go on to further education. That’s the framework now for our marae and all of our whānau. That’s what Awanuiārangi has done for us. The priority now is to kōrero and think.”

 Uiraroa Marae Te Teko

Ngāi Tamawera, Ngāti Nuku, Ngāti Ahi

Twenty-four people from Uiraroa Marae graduated from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in 2015 at a special ceremony at the Te Teko marae.

Marae programme facilitator Kahupora Puutu said the graduation from the Te Pouhono certificate course was the culmination of years of wānanga which had brought whānau back to their marae.

In 2006, Uiraroa held its first wānanga through the community education programme. Tikanga and whakapapa were the focus. The wānanga resulted in a hīkoi to Heretaunga to find the tīpuna kuia, Uiraroa, who married Awanuiārangi No. 2. They found her papakāinga at Te Matahiwi Marae in Hastings.

“It was like taking her harimate back after 500 years,” Kahupora said. “It was a turning point for us in terms of knowledge, and the starting point of where we are today.”

Kahupora said many of the graduating students had changed since they began studying.

“School wasn’t a good experience for some of our people but Awanuiārangi has changed their mind about education. That was the goal – to provide success in education for the people of our marae. At the start, people were very reserved and hard to talk to, but through the years they have opened up as they have gained confidence. They know they can achieve now and they’re looking toward their dreams and goals.

“Our wānanga are at a level and in an environment that our people are comfortable with. Many had no experience of succeeding in education, but they were very motivated. And the younger generation seem to feel comfortable on their marae about standing up and giving their views, whereas they wouldn’t do that in a university setting.

“People feel like they’re at home, and learning as a group worked well. Our marae-based studies include all sections of our community – the kaumātua enjoyed being part of the kaupapa, and the rangatahi appreciated learning alongside and from their elders. It worked.”
Kahupora said learners were involved now with everything that happens on the marae. Her goal is for the Te Pouhono graduates to enrol in the Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori, and she especially wants to see the rangatahi follow through a bachelor degree to Masters level.


Iwitea Marae, Wairoa

Ngāti Kahungunu

Iwitea has been with Awanuiārangi for nearly 10 years. It has changed everything for us. Our first programme was Community Education and it was about whakapapa. Right from the start we were getting 50 students to each wānanga – not just from Wairoa but from all over, including Auckland and Wellington. This initiative was long overdue: our families were drifting apart – the wānanga brought us back together.

Ever since then, our marae has been fully active with our people. Families moved away – but they are coming back now to Iwitea. Marae-based education has brought our community closer. Now all our Wairoa marae have clustered and we share wānanga, we’re all talking to one another, we all support one another, sharing our speakers from our pae to help each other, sharing our kaikaranga and kaiwaiata. Everything has changed, not just for our whānau and Iwitea, but for all our Wairoa marae. We now have close ties with one another. These are quite major changes. We also invite our pākehā farmers and their families to wānanga, and they come and enjoy them, especially the farmers’ wives. It breaks down the barriers.

Over 100 of us have gone through our marae-based education programmes, including Te Pouhono and the Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori. Eleven people from Iwitea have teamed up with whānau from Te Reinga Marae to study toward a National Certificate in Seafood Māori (Customary Fishing). Now we’re eyeing up environmental studies. We need to be ready to care for our waterways and our environment.

Our relationship with Awanuiārangi has been excellent. Over 10 years you develop a strong connection. The experience of education has given our people a lot. New skills, more confidence. The programmes have built up our capabilities. Most importantly, it’s brought our people back to us. Our people are able to teach at our wānanga now, and Iwitea has some of the youngest trustees in the Wairoa region. People are no longer standing back, they’re coming forward.

Photo: The Whānau from Iwitea Marae, Wairoa. Back (left to right): Pita Robinson, Nigel How. Front (left to right): Kelly Munro, Doris Nicholson, Lana Keil.


Karangahape Marae, Matangirau, Te Tai Tokerau (Northland)

Ngāti Kawau

“Life is for learning and learning is for life” – this is the maxim by which Isabella Urlich and her whanau live their lives.

Born in 1938 this Ngāti Kawau kuia, along with her parents and grandfather, raised eight children in the coastal settlement of Te Touwai on the shores of the Whangaroa Harbour, ensuring that the remote location was never a barrier to education.

Four generations of the whānau nurture strong ties with their marae, Karangahape, and are involved as teachers or students of marae-centred education programmes run by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

The importance of education was instilled in Isabella as a child. However, no Māori was spoken in her home, despite the fact that her parents were both fluent speakers of te reo.

“My grandfather was from Dalmatia and Croatian was spoken in our home. My childhood was wonderful – I was very loved and protected – but we never heard any Māori stories. My storybook was the Hansard Report – the minutes of parliamentary sessions. My father read those to me in the voices of all the different ministers. I knew all the ministers’ portfolios by the time I attended school. At Te Touwai Native
School I witnessed the caning of students for speaking Māori; a permanent supply of supplejack stood in the corner. But I loved school life – I had developed a love of learning since birth and school was another learning environment.”

Isabella believes education has uplifted every generation of her whānau.

“Education has provided many opportunities for my family and for our people. It is the great machine to personal development. Education and economics are inextricably intertwined. The relationship between Karangahape Marae and Awanuiārangi has opened up a great world of knowledge for the people who participate in the wānanga here. Knowing who you are and why you are where you are gives one that strong sense of identity and belonging. It is a taonga for the people and they are eager learners.

“Our urban people, many of whom have become disconnected from their Māoritanga, travel from Auckland to every wānanga with a deep desire to know who they are. They are excited by the retrieval of their identity. They eagerly attend these wānanga and encourage their parents and whānau whanui to participate.”

Hugh says the opportunity for an education in mātauranga Māori “is everything”.

“When you live in a Māori community you have to be able to fulfil your obligations on the marae.”

Isabella adds that whānau support is key.

“The benefit I received from the support and encouragement that my parents and my grandfather gave me has naturally transferred to my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My children experienced positive role-modelling – it was expected that they would continue similarly.”

Isabella offers her experience to Karangahape Marae on Awanuiārangi programmes. Daughter Liarne assists with instructing in Te Pouhono programmes (designed to revitalise te reo, kawa, āhuatanga Māori and tikanga Māori), Customary Fishing and Te Wai Māori (Freshwater Fishing/environment), and, with the support of kaumatua and kuia, she is also the tumuaki of the Kōhanga Reo.

Liarne and Hugh are both graduates of the Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori. Sherene, Liarne’s daughter, is in her first year of the Bachelor of Education. Other family members who also work in the field of education include Verne, who has a Diploma of Teaching in E.C.E, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Arts in Education, and Vervies, who has a Bachelor of Education.

“In mum’s generation many Māori had negative schooling experiences,” Verne says. “Their children and their children’s children inherited the barriers that came with those experiences. However, our mother had positive educational experiences – she was and continues to be the role model for us all. It’s been a domino effect and we all share the benefits of our experiences and our knowledge with each other.”

Says Liarne: “It only takes one person to step up and set the example. It creates a ripple effect. My daughter and my grand children are witnesses of my example – they see their whānau engaged in learning so they know education is an option available for them to pursue. Education gives each of us the ability to provide a future for ourselves, our children and our mokopuna. There is an old adage that apples don’t fall far from the tree; for our
whānau this is true.”

Karangahape Marae has participated in Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi programmes since 2006. In 2013, the marae was presented with a special award for Contribution to Iwi Development and Advancement.