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Takina Te Hau e Te Reo Karanga - empowering the voice of wāhine Māori

  • Powhiri

Unitec’s Te Reo Karanga o Wairaka – Tuu Puna, the Wānanga Karanga programme empowering the voices of wāhine Māori through tikanga Māori.

Takina Te Hau e Te Reo Karanga, a Unitec E-press book celebrates the programme and people involved in the kaupapa which ran from 2017 to 2022.

Reflections from previous participants are shared in the book which captures the depth of impact the programme had on its learners and its kaiako.

Te reo karanga of Whaea Lynda Toki has guided thousands of manuhiri onto Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae for many years. Whaea Lybnda Toki edited the book alongsid Dr Jo Diamond and Dr Diane Menzies, with contributions from Te Mamaeroa Cowie, Estelle Lloyd, and Nicole Fonoti.

The in-depth reflections come are described in extended essays, and some shorter prose reflections or poems. All the contributions express the powerful experiences of the authors as they came together for Te Reo Karanga o Wairaka – Tuu Puna

In an official launch hosted at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae former students, teachers and whanau gathered to celebrate the books contributors.

“We were also very fortunate to have representatives from Mataatua Marae, who are descendants of Wairaka, and we were also blessed to have Master Carver, Dr. Lionel Grant and his guests from Hawaii attend the pōwhiri,” says Whaea Linda Toki.

“This book acknowledges the journey of our ladies through Karanga, just as the journey of Ancestress Wairaka is acknowledged by Unitec in the Māori name of our Institution, Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka.

Wairaka is the only Ancestress named in Tertiary Education that l am aware of. The other female acknowledged by the use of her name is Victoria, our partner to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Every Iwi knows, the importance of pōwhiri in regards to Whanaugatanga and Manaakitanga, and that the first voice is that of a wahine, usually a Kuia.

At Unitec, Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae provides a framework for a learning journey that begins with karanga. Our students and guests are called to our Campus, introduced to our Institution through karanga andō. Their learning begins with tikanga and whakawhanaungatanga in their Wharenui Ngākau Māhaki.

They experience manaakitanga in our Wharekai Manaaki, as learning requires fuel to ensure the energy levels are available, to focus on the tasks within the classroom. They learn how our business of community education weaves all cultures together through experiences in our Pā Harakeke, Rangimārie.

They learn to stay hydrated through assisting the cleaning of our puna Te Waiunuroa o Wairaka, because learning is very thirsty work. They are here to learn the skills required to ensure a healthy future by the use of the spaces in Puukenga, our first Whare.

They learn the practice of Te Noho Kotahitanga from our principles and the name of our Marae.

Their journey of learning within mātauranga Māori begins at orientation with pōwhiri and the first voice, that of a female and karanga.

The celebration formalities at Graduation begins with karanga, a vibrational frequency to begin and end their education journey i Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka.

This is the reason why the voices of wahine at our Institution are heard within the education system and why we must continue to be heard. We are guided by the name of this Tūpuna Kuia, an ancestress, an ariki and a leader of her people.

Marcus Williams, Director Research and Enterprise said the keen attendance at the pōwhiri and launch of Takina Te Hau e Te Reo Karanga is a testament to the innovation in mātauranga Māori that is happening at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae.

“A large turnout of hau kāinga greeted an even larger crowd of manuhiri who were “brought on” to the marae by the participants of wānanga workshops run over several years, initiated by kaiāwhina Lynda Toki. Their karanga was sonorous and powerful like no other I have heard and these same women were the authors of the book being launched.

Evangelia Papoutsaki, Jasmine Te Hira, Claudine Muru and Kim Penetito all spoke to the kaupapa, while ePress Editor Marie Shannon navigated the digitally projected book for all to see. A stand out for me was the highly articulate confidence and palpable leadership potential of Unitec graduate Jasmine Te Hira, a testament to the transformational power of cultural identity within contemporary Western education.

The presence of Lyonel Grant, Tohunga Whakairo o Ngākau Māhaki, the beautifully carved wharenui in which the launch was held, suggested the mana of this event and of the mātauranga developed in and from Te Noho Kotahitanga.”

Access the book here