Tīpuna parenting is a journey to awaken the Māori DNA of whānau. It’s about reclaiming traditional Māori parenting styles that support the growth of pēpi, tamariki and whānau.
In pre-colonial times, our tīpuna encouraged strong whānau connections, and nurturing and developing tamariki within te ao Māori, the Māori world.
Pēpi are born with mana
Pēpi are born with mana from atua, the spirit world. Tīpuna saw pēpi as tapu, sacred. When Europeans arrived to Aotearoa they saw how tīpuna Māori cared for our tamariki like taonga.
Channel your tīpuna and keep your coolElizabeth Harte
Tūpuna Parenting: Mana and Tapu (transcript)
Liz Harte and Hana Tuwhare appear on screen together, seated opposite one another surrounded by native bush. The following text appears on screen beneath them: Liz Harte - Ngati Porou, Ngāpuhi- Pēpi Penapena AND Hana Tuwhare - Ngāpuhi - Talking Matters.
Liz: So our tūpuna, our ancestors from pre-colonial times, they parented quite differently to some whānau today. There are two pou, two pillars of tūpuna Māori parenting. Firstly, pēpi are born with mana.
Hana: What does mana mean to you?
Liz: I mean, the dictionary says it’s a spiritual power, it’s authority, its prestige. But , you know, for my whānau it’s that potential greatness of pēpi. It’s the potential they have to grow into a productive person in future. The mana comes from the atua, spirit world, and from their tūpuna, from their ancestors. It’s inherited and we all have it. Our tūpuna believe this and they treated pēpi with respect. So we know how we show respect to other adults. We hold open a door for them or give a kuia or a koro a chair. With pēpi we don’t really talk about that a lot. We can do that with pēpi. We can kōrero with our pēpi, we can interact with our pēpi just as we do with adults. Absolutely, aē. The second pou of tūpuna parenting is pēpi are born tapu, born sacred. Tapu is a tricky thing, but because pēpi are from the atua,that means that they’re protected, untouchable, protected by the gods.
Hana: So what did that mean for our pēpi?
Liz: Well, for pēpi and tamariki, it meant that our tūpuna didn’t smack them or insult them in any way.
Hana: Do you reckon our tūpuna used to kōrero more with our pēpi to enhance the mana of our pēpi?
Liz: Āe, absolutely. I remember the story you shared about the bean bags…
Liz: During the lockdown my son opened up the bean bag and got the beans all over the living room floor. Huge mess! But I took a big breath and I kept my cool.
Hana: Āe, I’m sure even though it would have been hard.
Liz: Āe, I explained to him that he wasn’t allowed to go outside and play opn his bike with his sister unitil we had cleared up every last bean. We got there in the end and I helped him and I was talking to him the whole time.
Hana: Beautiful, that was an opportunity for you to reclaim some tūpuna parenting. You got down to his level, you introduced some new language, some new concepts and you problem solved together as a team.
Liz: It’s really kind of simple everyday example of tūpuna parenting.
Hana:So next time I get hōha with my nephews and nieces and I’ve got some time…
Liz:Āe, channel your tūpuna. Keep your cool and have a kōrero.
Hana: It’s really the best thing.
Liz:E pai ana
(Fades to white background with and the words ‘TALKING TO PĒPI RECOGNISES THEIR MANA AND THEIR TAPU NATURE’ appear in the middle of the screen above logos for: Talking Matters and Pēpi Penapena)
Connecting through pūrākau
Pūrākau and pakiwaitara are stories that are passed down through generations.
These are simple ways to connect pēpi and whānau to whakapapa, by talking and listening. Reconnecting to whakapapa can be as a simple as looking into te taiao, the natural world, to start to share stories.
Refreshed Whakatipu pukapuka available now
Tikanga-based parenting resource Whakatipu has been refreshed, shaped by the voices of whānau and community.
Full of humour and heart, Whakatipu reinforces how tamariki and whānau can learn together at every age and stage. The 8 booklets weave mātauranga Māori, child and brain development information with whakataukī, waiata and pakiwaitara for all whānau to enjoy.