Exploring the relationship between younger and older siblings.

How you approach this topic will depend on each individual whānau. You might want to start by exploring the relationships the parents have or had with their own siblings or cousins. For example:

  • Tell me about your brothers and sisters.
  • Where are you in the birth order?
  • What are your relationships like with them?
  • What about cousins? Have you grown up with them around?
  • What roles do you think older and younger siblings and cousins have?

Use page 7 of the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 1 to talk with parents. Even the drawing on this page shows a lot about the relationship between the younger and older sibling.


  • Are you familiar with the terms tuakana and teina?
  • What would you like to see happening with your children in terms of their relationships with each other or their cousins?
  • How will you make it happen?
  • What sort of things do you ask of your older tamariki?
  • What do you think they’re learning from each other?

The terms tuakana and teina are also used in school settings, where it refers to older and younger children and not just brothers, sisters or cousins.

Page 7 of the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 1 mentions more experienced parents acting as tuakana to new parents.


  • Are there people you know who are supporting you as tuakana?
  • How do you feel about being tuakana to some other new parents?
  • What are some of the ways you might do that?
  • Maybe you’ve learned some things through our sessions that you could share with others?
  • What have you found useful that you think you could pass on?

How does this relate to the Tākai resources?

Baby Wall Frieze – Kōrero mai mō tō tātou whānau – Teach me about our family

Six things children need – Te ārahi me te māramatanga – Guidance and understanding

Helpful resources for whānau