Atua Māori practices encourage traditional lifestyle in Gold Coast

By Regan Paranihi

Māori living in Queensland are using traditional Māori Atua practices to live a traditional healthy lifestyle.

It is a movement that was established in New Zealand by Beez Ngarino Te Waati and is being carried out on the Gold Coast to connect Māori living abroad to the Māori realm. 

This is a unique art form that is bringing a slice of home to the sunny shores of the Gold Coast which incorporates traditional practices stating back to the Māori Gods.

Māori Movement practitioner, Gayleen Ahipene (Te Tairawhiti) says:

"Being able to practice who we are, on the daily, to be able to offer different tools, to help us cope in 2019 and also being able to feel. I think that's the biggest thing."

The kaupapa Māori led initiative gives Māori living abroad a sense of their identity.

"The depth that we have and the rich source of life within our kaupapa really helps ground whoever is in the room. Whoever is in the space or in the wananga so is there a need, absolutely," Gayleen Ahipene says

While there's that stigma of returning home to practice cultural practices Andre Ahipene (Te Arawa), lead practitioner, says Australia has become a second home for many Māori families.

"Having the right and the access to anything Māori. No matter where we are in the world. Whether it be haka, be it kaupapa like this, it's just important."

For many who were born in Australia, this is where they have a sense of belonging.

"Sometimes this is more accepted here than it is back home. As funny as it sounds but I think the mauri, the wairua, that it actually gives to those that receive anything that we do Māori they benefit from it."

However, this Māori movement will always acknowledge the indigenous people of this land by asking for permission to practice Māori culture on their land.

"We've had a lot to do with the tangata whenua (indigenous people) here, and every time we run wānanga, we absolutely ask the iwi out of respect," Gayleen Ahipene explains.

"Our iwi taketake here are really encouraged by what we do, and the fact that we ask for permission, and that they can see us practising, and going through our daily mahi as Māori.

"That's really encouraging, so if it's encouraging to our tangata whenua here, I think it's important that we carry on," Andre Ahipene (Te Arawa) says.

The need for kaupapa like this is growing here on the Gold Coast and these practitioners will continue to develop te ao Māori.