Māori sports help students learn leadership skills

By Mahina Hurkmans

Te Wiki Hākinakina is a biennial sports event for Kura Kaupapa all over New Zealand. It's also an opportunity to celebrate the values of Te Aho Matua.

This year, Te Wiki Hākinakina was held in Te Tai Tokerau, with schools visiting different whenua of Te Hiku o te Ika.

Today Kura Kaupapa come together in Taipa, in Ngāti Kahu country, not only to play Kiorahi but to also feel the presence of the land.

Event organiser Te Ikanui Kingi–Waiaua explains the importance of not having Te Wiki Hākinakina in one location. Kingi-Waiaua felt it was important to travel and feel the mauri of the significant sites in Te Tai Tokerau.

Students were able to learn the ancestral place names, history and new words through the games they play throughout the week. In the days leading up, students were involved in Waka Ama at Te Roto o Ngatu, Hopu Ariki at Te Paki, Oma Roa at Te Oneroa-ā-Tōhe.

Students of each kiorahi team decided how the games were to be played and what rules would be abided by.

Te Ikanui Kingi-Waiaua expressed the importance of letting the youth make decisions:

“They are capable of making decisions, they’re not stupid. We also wanted to empower them. We hoped that they would grasp leadership skills as they took the lead today, help them in the future.”

This year was to be the first time where all the sports played were of Māori and Pacific origins. It is considered to be one of the best events for Māori youth aged 15-17 years. It celebrates who they are as Māori students under the values of Te Aho Matua. Students have come from as far as Christchurch but teacher Hineao Taite-Mclean says the benefits are clearly seen from this week’s events.

Te Wiki Hākinakina inspires students to get out and get fit in preparation for the event, and although it is a competition a student from Te Kura o Ngāruahine also remind peers of Te Aho Matua to remain in positive spirits.

“The most important thing is the kids have fun, it’s a sports week, so its meant to be a happy week,” Tika Mete-Matehaere Weston, concludes.