Explore kaupapa / Te hinengaro mīharo The amazing brain

Pēpi is precious and so is their brain. Repeating activities with pēpi, particularly during the first three years, helps to prepare their brains for future learning.

‘Hinengaro’ translates as mind, thought, intellect, consciousness and awareness. ‘Mīharo’ is te reo Māori for ‘amazing’ or ‘marvellous’. The brain is amazing.

Brainwave Trust kaiako Jason Tiatia explains how whānau can support tamariki to grow great brains. 

Neuroscience is just catching up

Tīpuna Māori didn't talk about 'brain development', but the way they parented was very much aligned to practices that neuroscientists are now discovering. A loving, nurturing and caring environment was part of a traditional upbringing in the pā, village. This was embedded into the Māori way of parenting.

Watch this thought-provoking kōrero from the Toi Tangata hui ā tau 2021. Brainwave Trust kaiako Deb Rewiri shares her knowledge on a kaupapa Māori approach to neuroscience, the important role of whānau and hapū surrounding and embracing our tamariki in order to build their potential.

Te mana o te whānau

We hear a lot about brain development in the first 3 years of a child’s life and how it’s the period of the most rapid brain growth in the lifetime of pēpi.

Parents, caregivers and whānau are responsible for building their baby’s brain – and they don’t need to be a scientist to do it.

Giving pēpi the best start in life is as simple as holding and talking to them right from the beginning. Even when pēpi is still in the kōpū, womb, their brain is making connections to sounds around them. So when you sing an oriori or talk to your puku, pēpi can hear.

Learn more about how oriori builds brains

Our brain likes a giggle

Laughing is good for all of us, not just kids. Endorphins, known as the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals, are released when we laugh. Especially when we laugh with friends and whānau.