Wāhine learn stories and ways of tūpuna at wānanga in Ihumātao

By Jessica Tyson

Me tītiro whakamuri kia anga whakamua. We must look to the past to strive for the future - That was one of the themes of this year's NUKU Live 2.0 wānanga over the weekend where wāhine from around the Aotearoa united at Makaurau marae in Ihumātao.

NUKU founder and organiser of the wānanga Qiane Matata-Sipu says the wānanga helped wāhine learn the ways of tūpuna to move ahead in their own lives.

“For me now needs old. We need to connect with our indigenous pūrakau, not just Māori, Māori, Pacifica wherever we need to connect to as indigenous peoples, Matata-sipu says.

“We need to learn so much more about those systems, those values, that knowledge because it makes us who we are and all of those things are the blueprints of how we should live well.”

The kōrero

As part of the event, guest speakers including Ngahuia Murphy, Donna Kerridge, Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, Maia Mariner, Manawa Udy and Mel Tautalanoa spoke about topics like business, entrepreneurship, te awa atua (menstruation practices), rongoā Māori and atua wahine (Māori female gods).

Tonisha Rohe, of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou, says one topic that challenged her was kōrero about atua (gods) by Kohu-Morgan.

“Particularly around Māui and how he’s painted as a hero, which is great. I am Ngāti Porou and I believe we are uri (descendants) of Māui but it’s how we honour the wāhine in those narratives as well and not just the tāne,” she says.

Rohe says every day she thinks about how she can use traditional Māori concepts in her own life.

“It’s not necessarily decolonising but how do we indigenise the way that we are and the way that we think and the way we treat people and the way we engage with our world today.”

Group photo at Makaurau Marae during the NUKU Live 2.0 wānanga /  Photo credit: Catherine Tamihere, PoppyMoss 

Performances and workshops

Slam poets Ngā Hine Pūkōrero and Natua Kaa-Morgan also performed, touching on topics related to gender, youth, indigeneity, racism and the power of wāhine. The guests also took part in a Kemetic yoga session and rongoā (Māori medicine), raranga (weaving) and poi workshops.

“It’s my first time engaging with anything rongoā Māori so I think I like being able to think about others, think how we could create something that could be beneficial for other people, not just ourselves. So that was cool,” Rohe says.

Katya Boyd, of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Waikato, took part in the raranga class led by Marcia Matata-Hohaia to create a pair of earrings.

“What I love was how easy it is. I’ve learned a lot about the taiao (environment) this weekend and how we have all the resources we need. If we look after them we can use them," Boyd says.

“I think it’s all about sustainability. That’s what I’ve learned. If we want to last, if we want our resources to last, our tikanga, our reo, it’s all intertwined. So we have to go back and listen to our nannies and our koros and all the rich knowledge that they have and use that in the modern world and I think it’s a beautiful gift waiting for us young ones to open and receive.”

VIP guests at the wānanga also took part in a dawn waka paddle on the Waitematā guided by Donna Tamaariki, as well as a kōrero about the star constellations by artist Nikau Hindin.

Matata-sipu says, “I really hope that they are able to learn more about who they are as individuals and with that comes their knowledge of mātauranga, of our indigenous value systems but also to learn what it is to them to be an indigenous wahine today and to be settled in that, whatever it looks like.”

About NUKU

NUKU is a creative, non-profit social enterprise telling the stories of 100 indigenous female change-makers through audio podcasts, photography, videography, books, art and live events.

Matata-sipu says on November 16 NUKU will release of NUKU 50, the first 50 wāhine in the series.

“We’re halfway to the 100 and as part of that release we’re also launching a Boosted campaign where we’re asking for the public, our supporters, wahine, to support these stories.”

Supporters will have the opportunity to donate to NUKU as part of the campaign.