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Māori research powerhouse partners with hapū to combat crippling power costs

‘Mā te hau matao o Tongariro ka makariri te tinana, Mā te makariri te tinana ka wiri te kiri, Mā te wiri o te kiri ka piri te tangata, ma te piri o te tangata ka ora te iwi’

'The winds of Tongariro chill the body, a cold body makes the skin shiver, when the skin shivers the people unite, when the people unite, they thrive.'

A Māori led research Project exploring sustainable energy could benefit all communities in Te Rohe Pōtae (King Country).

Excessive power costs have plagued the region for many years and attempts to reduce exorbitant bills have had a severe impact on Māori health and well being in the region.

Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Unitec’s Kaupapa Māori & Indigenous Research Centre, is partnering with Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou Trust led by Ngāti Hinemihi to champion the project,“Hihiko o Mangarautawhiri: Power sovereignty for a prosperous whānau and hapū”.  

Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou Trust is a whānau who have been living in and around Taumarunui for generations.  

The Keepa Whānau, Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou Trust

Patrick Keepa, the co-founder of the Trust who’s whānau has experienced and witnessed the impact of power costs for far too long says kaupapa Māori research will find the best solution for communities and the environment.

“Years ago, our Tūpuna came to me in a dream and spoke to me about looking to the whenua, the awa, the sun, and the winds to resolve this power oppression ourselves, as whānau, as hapū, as Māori”.

Patrick Keepa and Hermione McCallum-Haire will be working in collaboration with Ngā Wai a Te Tūī on this project titled “Hihiko o Mangarautawhiri: Power sovereignty for a prosperous whānau and hapū”. 

The purpose of this research is to explore sustainable and clean-energy options in response to power inequities that Māori experience every day due to the excessive electric power and lines costs.
Ngā Wai a Te Tūī Researcher, Rihi Te Nana, “This is an exciting project and we are honoured to have been approached to collaborate on this whānau-driven kaupapa”.

In the context of this proposal, the whakataukī (proverb) above reflects the deep-rooted traditional cultural practises that found the philosophical mode of operation. A united hapū represents agreement and a sense of purpose that will deliver positive outcomes for Te Mangarautawhiri o Pukehou and the wider community of Te Rohe Pōtae.

The project is well underway and the findings and positive outcomes are expected to be completed by 30 November 2021.

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