Bike riding initiative revisits traditional Māori pathways, revives te reo

By Jessica Tyson

More tamariki and whānau across Auckland will have the opportunity to learn more about traditional Māori pathways through an initiative called Hapori Paihikara involving community bike rides.

It comes after the outdoor education initiative Mātātoa, which runs Hapori Paihikara, has received funding support from Auckland Transport's $50,000 Community Bike Fund to run the programme.

Mātātoa spokesperson Marg Haimoana says she’s thrilled Mātātoa, also known as Time2Train, is one of this year's recipients alongside 14 other cycling initiatives in the region.

"With this financial support we will be able to reach a far wider demographic scope and deliver a well-structured activation of bike safe assessments, learning- to-ride sessions, guided rides and tikanga and reo components."

For the past five years, Mātātoa has run the programme to help whanau connect to their community and the whenua.

"We encourage whānau to connect to their whānau, their community and the whenua that surrounds them. This includes the introduction of traditional pathways, the revival of te reo and encouraging intergenerational participation," Haimona says.

The weekend rides teach new cyclists the basics of riding and bike mechanics, riding the cycleways or old Māori pathways. The upcoming rides will be held in Henderson, Pt England, Matatua Marae Mangere, Manurewa Marae and Massey Park, Papakura, says organiser Frank Haimoa, of Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki.

“We use the ara (trail) from Manurewa through to Papakura, around the coastline; in Mangere from Mangere Bridge or the maunga down to Ihumātao,” says Haimona.

Wānanga teaches tamariki paddling skills and tikanga Māori 

Video credit / Te Ao, March 2020

Haimona says they first started the program at a kura kaupapa Māori in Kaikohe.

“Now we’re here in Tāmaki but we’ve actually extended all over the motu now down to Manawatu, Ahuriri (Napier), to the East Coast and soon Maniapoto. So it’s been a seven-year grind but it’s been an awesome journey.”

Haimona says Mātātoa also has a  programme within schools centered on waka moana, teaching tamariki water safety and what to do if they fall out of a waka.

“But more importantly just getting or allowing our community and whānau in Tāmaki to experience what it’s like on waka or waka tangata.”

With support from Auckland Council they will run their community activations from October to April "pretty much every weekend so our team is going to be very busy,” Haimona says.

To get involved in the waka or bike ride programmes, people can follow the Time 2 Train Facebook page or website.