Community event to whakamana 'our wahine' and educate about moko kauae

By Kelvin McDonald
Credit / Paul Taylor, Hawke's Bay Today (NZ Herald)

Whānau are planning to "come in aroha" to a public gathering to "empower" wahine Jay Scott and share a positive message about moko kauae in Hawke's Bay on Sunday. 

Jay Scott (Ngāpuhi), a Havelock North mother, was left in tears last week when two women at a local playground asked her to cover her moko kauae because they claimed she was 'scaring the children'. 

Now, a community event, Te Tira Moko Kauae o Ngāti Kahungunu, has been organised for the Village Green Park in Havelock North on Sunday afternoon to "whakamana" Scott and educate about moko kauae.

Credit / Kurawaka Retreat Centre

Piri Galbraith (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) is organising the event, after receiving a tono to do so from her mother Raina Ferris, a Māori educator who earlier this week told TVNZ's Breakfast that moko kauae are "soul enhancing" and "reclaiming our birthright."

"When you get your moko kauae done, it's an expression of you wanting to make change in your life, you moving into another chapter of your life," Ferris said.

Galbraith says the aim of the 1pm gathering is to "empower our wahine", to encourage and "whakamana Jay Scott", and to "educate our people, educate tauiwi and keep pushing the positive."

The event is an opportunity for the "many faces of moko kauae", she says.

The response has been heartwarming, Galbraith says.

"There's been a beautiful response. The pānui has been shared far and wide. We've reached 10,000 (on social media) and a couple of hundred are interested."

"It's been very positive, it's been lovely. It just grew and grew, the response has been overwhelming."

Galbraith says their hope is that the hundred or so who "come in aroha" to the gathering will "create some momentum for things to come."