Tūhoe's Waimana youth hosted their inaugural rangatahi wānanga aimed at bringing both local youth and those living outside the region back to their homeland to learn their Tūhoe culture.
It was in the valley of Waimana at the humble Tauanui Pā the youth gathering took place.
Paku Titoko (Te Whakatāne, Ngāi Tamatuhira) told Te Kāea, “So they know their customs, their family connections and know who they are. To ensure nothing wrong happens and they're not harmed in any way.”
Waimana youth, Te Aroha Boynton said, “It feels nice. It just feels home.”
The purpose of the gathering is to be grounded in Tūhoe teachings, their genealogy and skills of their ancestors.
“So they understand the values that were held by their ancestors and taught to us by our elders,” said elder Keto Tait. “The most important was taking care of our visitors. That is paramount.”
“We have many traditions,” said Titoko. “Customs on the marae, in the forest, for our rivers.”
Besides instilling the customs of the marae the wānanga is a way of enticing their youth back to their roots.
“This means a lot to me because being the youngest my dad is old and ready to go soon,” said Boynton. “So I just want to learn about where he comes from.”
“These teachings are absolute treasures to us,” said coordinator, Tyson Grootjans. “These are the skills of our ancestors. We need to uphold them to guide us in the future.”
Locals hope to host annual wānanga run by the rangatahi every year.