Examining Tairāwhiti voyaging philosophies

The list of recipients of the Health Research Council of New Zealand's 2019 Career Development Awards has been announced. 

Among the successful recipients is Ngāhuia Mita of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Hako.

"I'm thrilled to have received this award and to be able to support Te Tairāwhiti Voyaging Trust and the wider Te Tairawhiti community," Mita says. 

She will receive over $140,000 which will help go towards her research titled Tairāwhiti Waka, Tairāwhiti tangata - Examining Tairāwhiti voyaging philosophies. It will look into the whakapapa of ancient waka Māori in Te Tairāwhiti.

Mita will interview crew members, and rangatahi of Te Tairāwhiti who will share their thoughts on the health benefits of waka voyaging. It's a kaupapa close to her heart.  

She says her passion for ancient waka stems from her participation in waka ama while at school. 

"When I was growing up I was a paddler. Once I started at the University of Otago I then began to study all aspects of a waka, what health benefits come from waka ama and sailing on waka hourua. During my Masters I worked alongside the waka community and looked at what the link is between the ocean and health."

Mita says after spending many years studying in Dunedin, she's looking forward to being at home in Te Tairawhiti to undertake her research.