This Tākai Kōrero webinar from 15 June 2022 features Deb Rewiri, Elizabeth Emere Harte, Dina Awarau and Maraea Teepa. They discuss mātauranga Māori and how this can be used to support whānau and tamariki to reawaken their DNA.
Watch the webinar recording
Tākai Kōrero Webinar: Mātauranga Māori – reawakening DNA (transcript)
Ka waiori te kutu
Ko te ata nui
Ka horonia ko te kore, ko te pō, ko te ao, ka awatea e.
Appear the sunrise appear the dawn
The birds are chattering the beaks move
The important early morning spreading over the surface of our whenua, our earth
The dawn chorus from the stillness of the night, comes forth the daylight.
Ngā mihi nui kia tātou e te iwi. Mōrena, nau mai ki tēnei wāhanga hou o Tāki Kōrero, Tākai Kōrero. Nau mai and welcome to this first of our Tākai Kōrero series
Ko Maraea Teepa ahau. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy morning and all the mahi to join us today in our Whenu session and a big shout out to those of you who are watching on our Tākai Facebook page too.
This session will be recorded whānau for you to watch later, or to share with your whānau, colleagues, friends who weren’t able to make it today and know that the recordings will be emailed out to you in the next few days along with a few of the links that we talk about today. It will also be available on the Tākai website.
[Graphic titled Kaikōrero with photos of Deb Rewiri, Brainwave Trust Aotearoa; Elizabeth Emere Harte, Tūpuna Parenting; Dina Awarau, Taiohi Morehu]
Now today are lucky enough to have three ātaahua māreikura with us ināianei to discuss this kaupapa. We have Deb Rewiri is a Brainwave Trust Aotearoa kaiako. She’s passionate about connecting neuroscience and tīpuna parenting, for me she makes neuroscience sexy e te whānau.
And Dina Awarau has a background in social work and community development and has lived experience of walking alongside whānau, hapū, iwi and her hapori and many hapori. She is leading the Tākai [Taiohi] Mōrehu kaupapa funded by Tākai Local Intiative Fund.
And we have the wonderful Elizabeth Emere Harte is the founder of the Tūpuna Parenting movement sharing that gentle and respectful way of tūpuna Māori with whānau across the motu.
A huge mihi to all the three māreikura here today, let’s get into the kōrero and why we’ve come today.
And I think a big part of that is to really ruku into that big kaupapa of mātauranga Māori and he aha he tēnei mea? What is this thing that we talk about around mātauranga. We’ve had many scholars, we’ve had many kuia and koroua sharing that tāonga tuku iho, that have come through generations. But I’m gonna put that out to our whānau our beautiful māreikura that are gonna open up the session and I’m gonna let Whaea Deb give us a kōrero and it could be about Atuatanga around our Gods and our Godesses that have guided us here and alot of that, so tēnei ka mihi kia tātou.
Whaea Deb going to this kaupapa of ‘What is Mātauranga Māori’?
Kia ora, tēnā koutou ngā manukura e tiaki ana ea tātou tamariki mokopuna, tēnā koe Maraea.
Well and for me mātauranga Māori really means the theory of knowledge. So from a cultural context for me, it’s sort of like, what underpins all of that, where have we got that from? And as you so appropriately put into it you know ngā Atua so our tikanga has really been premised off our ability to do our practice based research and that research has been around te taiao, you know the way that we research is actually by acute observation.
Looking around te taiao you know that’s why we can relate it our pakiwaitara, our pūrākau all of these. Our tauparapara they’re imbedded with the things that we’ve observed over a millenial of time and so from that practice based research what we can now do is align it to how we raise our mokopuna, our babies, in a way that is really condusive to growing the potential. So if we think about Māori in a cultural context it’s from a growth mindset. And so you wouldn’t care naturally for te taiao if you didn’t have that same process in place for tamariki Māori.
So that was why when you know when the colonisers came here and they were observing us, from their own visceral background they said things like you know when Samuel Marsden said ‘I saw no quarelling while I was there. They’re kind to their women and children. I never observed any type of violence upon them nor did I see a child struck. Or Richard Cruise in 1824 said ‘in the manner of rearing children and in the remarkable tenderness and solicitous care bestowed upon them by the parents, no partiality on account of sex was in any instance observed’. Meaning it didn’t matter if they were tamaiti tāne or kōtiro tama you know they were treated as being special because their wairua was already in tact, that was embedded in our mātauranga māori.
So hopefully that’s encapsulated a little bit of what my understanding is and you know working with these processes through different things that had been written you know is really really essential because it’s sort of like, we do hold the answers. For me, the neuroscience that began to be studied by neuroscientists, early developmentalists, what they have done is as create an understanding in a eurocentric construct why our tūpuna were parenting in the way that they were, and gives us more impetus to continue these practices.
And I think Elizabeth it really emphasises the mahi that you do around tīpuna parenting and that knowledge that was passed down ngā kōrero tuku iho, from your whānau and maybe you can talk about how you came about that knowledge and how you put that out to the motu cos Whaea Deb talked really in depth around what mātauranga Māori is and this is about how you came by this knowledge .
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
Kia ora, ngā mihi nui kia koutou.
I guess with the mātauranga that I came across, I guess mātauranga has, there’s different kinds of mātauranga. There’s mātauranga a Māori so kia ora Whaea Deb, I tautoko your kōrero. Mātauranga can also be more specificially located so you can have mātauranga a whenua or mātauranga a whānau. So mātauranga, that’s associated with the land or a particular area or a mātauranga thats from a specific whānau or hapū or iwi. And so for me mātauranga a whānau has been a really critical part of Tūpuna Parenting and, of course my Ngāpuhi side says tūpuna, but everytime I hear you speak Maraea, my Ngāti Porou ears go tīpuna Lizzy, it’s tīpuna. Āe kia ora kia ora.
Tūpuna Parenting, the Ngāpuhi dialect won out when i was having those discussions. And so mātauranga a whānau for me has been really grounding in, in this mahi that I do and so it’s really about those stories from your whānau, from your whakapapa that connect back to the tūpuna ways. So Whaea Deb spoke about some, early explorer accounts talking about tūpuna ways and that’s abosolutely mātauranga in the space and there’s we have whakataukī and we have waiata oriori and we have Atua pūrākau that have been passed down.
But there’s also whānau pūrākau there’s also those whānau oral histories that have been passed down through your whakapapa so some of those are lived experience. Like for me, there’s we have many stories for example of how we acknoweldge the tapu of pēpi and tamariki in our whānau. So burying the whenua and the pito, the placenta and the cord stump of pēpi after birth. You know returning the whenua to the whenua is the way that many whānau acknowledge the tapu of pēpi and of childbirth um by returning the whenua to the whenua. And that’s something we’ve inherited through our whakapapa.
My nanny and grandpa never smacked their tamariki or their mokopuna. Which is also something that our tūpuna never did either, as Wheaea Deb said from that Samuel Marsden observation, and we have many other references that we know that our tūpuna didn’t smack their pēpi and tamariki in pre-colonial times, that was something that was introduced by the Europeans at the time, that you had to use physcal force to teach kids a lesson at home and at school. There was quite an uproar for Māori when that was introduced, and now we’ve of course we are trying to reclaim that knowledge from our whakapapa. And so my nanny and grandpa never smacked their tamariki or mokopuna which is a beautiful way of acknowledgeing the tapu of the tamariki, that you protect them.
Tapu doesn’t mean just sacred that’s quite good for a one word descrption. It’s also a protection, a restriction, setting something apart. You can have things or places that are tapu, like ‘dont climb that maunga, don’t swim in that awa that river because it’s tapu’ but it’s also an inherited quality of all people and its a quality that deserves respect and our tūpuna would respect pēpi and tamariki for their tapu because of their tapu, because they are from the Atua from the spirit world from the gods and they inherited that tapu from.
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
Āe, sorry sorry. And so yeah, stories from your whānau and whakapapa, lived experience, those are really a key way to to learn mātauranga a whānau and take lessons from it.
That’s something that you’ve sort of been part of too aye Dina with you know with the mahi that you do with Taihoi Mōrehu, around oriori, lullabys, waiata, haka.
Talk about some of the what you did even with your own tamariki, around building and instilling that tikanga, and and mātauranga into your tamariki, because you live away from your papakāinga.
Kia ora e te whānau. Nō Ngāti Porou ahau. I tupu ake au ki Waipiro Bay. l see some of my Ngāti Porou whānau in the chat screen.
So yeah I was born and bred on my whenua and just like what Whaea Deb was saying, about you know taking our pito back or our whenua back home to our own land. So for me it was important for us to make sure that our kids and our mokopuna were still connected home.So that’s what we have done with their whenua it has gone home and it’s buried at our whare in Waipiro Bay.
But I think for us at Taiohi Morehu we see waiata and toi whakaari as ways of connecting back to the past. So mātauranga is about the past, the present and the future so I think we use those we’ve got skilled people to teach that, not me I’m not one of those people but you know the toi whakaari side of things and the waiata and they tell stories like for our tamariki our pēpi, our pēpi tīoriori when they sing their waiata they’re learning. So they’re learning about their past, they could be singing things, be learning about our Atua, about Tangaroa, so I think the stories have been told through waiata are great for our tamariki to be learning, and that’s what were trying to instill in our whānau.
I think the whānau that I work with they’re quite disconnected form their whakapapa and it’s about finding that you know their way back in. And as Whaea Elizabeth said, Liz said, that we are this is a time when people are trying to get back to their you know, connect with their whakapapa. Trying to look at things, so for the hapū mama they wanna look at, they wanna be able to explore traditional ways but also mix them with the you know today’s birthing practices.
I dont think, I think that you know that the concept of using the ipu whenua of using the muka ties, our young parents are looking at those kind of things as well but still being engaged in the mainstream system. But yeah I just um thats the kind of thing. We tell stories through our waiata through kapa haka, our taiohi do little whakaari, just around things that are that they’re thinking about in today’s world.
So kia ora koutou.
Thinking about waiata and stuff and the beauty of waiata around that transmission of knoweldge. You don’t have to be the Maisey Rika’s aye Whaea Deb, because tamariki are all goods when you have an attachment is that tika Whaea Deb?
Āe, āe. It doesn’t matter if you’re tone deaf. Will your baby be tone deaf too? Probably, but it doesn’t matter. The the process around our waiata and that was a beautiful one that you started this morning with Maraea. You know it pulled me back into some of our old old kōrero. So bringing those ancient things forward you know as one of our our Amster Reedy talks about, it doesnt matter how far back you go, it’s how far foward you can bring it.
So for me the oriori, what it does inside the brain, is it activates you know not only in the prefrontal cortex. Not only in the language pathways of the brain, but that emotional stuff in the limbic centres of the brain. It’s actually activating this joy and harmony that people are enjoying their space with me; and that’s what the baby is repsonding to through their sensory system. And so and all of these processes that our tūpuna had in place in a modern day context, what it’s doing is activating the brain so that again this is the growth mindset.
And I think it’s as Liz talked about, you know she said you know there wasn’t this calm embracing space that our mokopuna that our tūpuna provided for our babies, was actually working in harmony with te taiao. And it’s so significant now as we move into, you know the maramataka because a lot of the kura are taking that on board. And so what we can see is actually what we’re doing you know moving away from the Gregorian calendar and moving actually with how our tūpuna, were actually moving with the seasons. So significantly as we move into this new year with Matariki up here we say Puanga because that’s the celestial star system, that’s more present to us here on the East Coast and in te norther.
So for me, that singing is really, really, you’re activating those endorphins, those happy hormones within the baby.
So whānau, as Whaea Debs said, you are the Whirimako, the Ria Halls of your pēpi’s lives. Or if you’re a pāpā, you are you are Katchafire.
Don’t be ashamed if you can’t waiata, and you know celebrate waiata. No matter how much and sharing waiata with whānau, is a really good way of installing mātauranga Māori. E tika ana e te whānau? Pae terā whakaaro aye.
I think one big you know something, we continue to talk about. Hē mama ma tātou, it’s easy for us, but what about our whānau that have been disconnected from whakapapa, from te hou kāinga, from their home fires.
How do we ignite their DNA, to really want to learn about their whakapapa and themselves when they’ve gone through so much trauma? And especially as whānau supporters, how do we do that even when whānau who are supporting whānau have gone through that trauma?
Ka pai, should I chuck it to someone?
Kia ora Whaea Deb.
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
I, I can do a little.
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
With the Tūpuna Parenting mahi, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is how difficult it can be for whānau to talk about talk about their own childhood or talk about their own whakapapa. And when I’m talking about whānau pūrākau, you’ll meet wahine who will say “but I haven’t got any good stories in my whakapapa”.
Or “oh i don’t’ know where I’m from, I’ve never been to my marae”.
Those are really hard conversations for them, and so holding that space for them and bringing them, but still bringing them into this kaupapa. It’s kind of even if you don’t know or even if you don’t have those stories. We know that our tūpuna broadly, all did the same thing more or less. Sure there’ll be some regional variations, but ka pai.
So you can take inspiration from the broader lessons, from our tūpuna, of how they in this Tūpuna Parenting space of how they treated and raised their pēpi and their tamariki. But also, perhaps that means that you’ve got an opportunity where you can be the first tūpuna in your whakapapa to parent in a different way. To to parent the way that our tūpuna did, to parent the way that you want to raise your pēpi and tamariki. You can choose to be that and it kind of raises the question of “what kind of tūpuna do I want to be”?
How do i want my mokopuna? I tell stories of my nanny all the time, as her moko and so do all of her mokopuna. And how do I want my mokopuna to talk about me? And so that’s a question I put on to some of these wahine as well, is to be inspired by our tūpuna and to visualise what you want to be and where you want to go. What kind of tūpuna are you becoming and how will your mokopuna remember you? And be driven by those lessons, that’s one angle on it, I’m sure Dina and Whaea Deb have another but āe.
Dina, pēhea koe? Because you’ve done a lot of work in the hapori and talking about reigniting that you know ‘te mana o te waiata’, play and all those different kaupapa that we have for our whānau.
Especially with the whānau whero that you’ve been involved with and stuff like that. How do you engage whānau that aren’t engaged with mātauranga or whakapapa?
I think it’s about giving them that space and having the right space to do it in. You know we have all these kaupapa around the hapori, but the safest space is in their own communities. And I think that we do have to acknowledge that there’s many many people in our hapori that aren’t connected home, or to their whakapapa.
And I think identifying like groups or spaces where they could be. Like we have Ngāti Porou ki Poneke, that do kapa haka, you know they have online classes inviting people into all these spaces and they don’t have to kōrero. They just need to listen, they can listen. They can be in and out as they please, that’s why I really like Zooming, because you can be in and out, you don’t need to be seen. You have the opportunity to zap in and listen and listen to the kōrero and that’s what I think a lot of our whānau today are trying to do. They’re connecting like that because they do feel whakamā about not being in that space.
And I think it’s about offering a space like Te Rito is a great space for our, especially for our rangatahi to come. And it’s a space we created because of that. Because there weren’t spaces where our kids could be who they needed to be. Everything around here in our space, it connects them to their culture. Like it’s totally, it’s aye well it is a performing arts centre, we call it, but you know it’s not flash but it it connects our rangatahi because this is a safe comfortable space for them to be.
So I think it is about providing that safe space for our whānau to dip in and out as they feel comfortable. Yeah.
And Whaea Deb you’ve been part of mahi i roto i ngā whare herehere, in the prisons. How are whānau, what is it like delivering in prisons when whānau aren’t in men or wahine aren’t in that space to take on this kōrero or have you had instances?
Yeah you know for me, it’s like when you bring this whole kaupapa into into this whatever the environment is. People are gonna take it from their own personal perspective and I remember one of the tāne said to me “oh Whaea, that was 250 years ago what does it matter now?”
And I said, “it matters, because you matter and more importantly your tamariki matter, and your mokopuna matter.”
And so I always talk from the place of you know, what is the legacy you want to leave? And we can’t dismiss, hurt is hurt, hurt people hurt people. Trauma, whatever that may look like, whatever that feels like, we have to be present to that.
So I always say, engage your you know for me waking up your DNA for me, more practically means your prefrontal cortex which houses our empathy, which houses our compassion which houses the ability to create a long-term future. That’s what I’m meaning. Wake up the prefrontal cortex, which is your whakapapa connection to where you’ve come from and where you’ve come from.
If you if you whakapapa Māori, you’re descended from a line of Chiefs, and our Rangatira never ever saw anybody as being deficit. And and this is always the thing that the construct we’re having to work against. So you know, sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to meet within these places. Because I remember one tāne saying to me one day, he said “you know, I’ve been to psychologists, psychiatrists” and he looked at me and he said, “you see me, don’t you”?. And I said “Āe” and he said “you see how I really am”, and I said “you know what, I see how clever you are. Your tūpuna would be so proud of you” and he said, “you know I’m struggling with this aye”, and I said “Āe” and I said “but what I want to acknowledge you for, is you keep coming back”. And he said “Āe”.
You know because the resonance of this kōrero, it resonates with us at a cellular level. Because you know, here’s a big term you know the epigenetics, the whakapapa of who we are in our cellular system, comes from our tūpuna. And it’s sort of like, thats what waking up the DNA is. Somewhere deep within our very being, we understand this and it’s sort of like, if nothing else has made sense before, these pūrākau, these pakiwaitara, these oriori suddenly they’re meshing with us at this deep level, but they’re also activating our brain in a way that it’s never been activated before.
And I just say bring it on, karawhiu, mahia te mahi.
There’s you know as you as Tā Heemi said we’ve come too far to not go further we’ve done too much to not do more. Let’s just carry on with this, because as hard as it is, as challenging as it is for some of our whānau. If we can be compassionately with them, as they work through this process. They know we’re not judging them. We’re with you, we understand, and you know even if we don’t understand we wanna be with you as you travel through this process.
So if we can deal with our own internal trauma and do our [MT1] healing, it doesn’t mean to say that we’ve all healed. We’re never gonna heal, you know we’ll be healing till the day we pass on. But if we can do this what we’re saying to our tamariki, you know my son always say’s to me “well mum, you yelled at us” and I said, “yeah ,be better than me, do better than me, you know, what did I know back then son”. You know and he goes” hmm okay”.
So for me, it’s like acknowledging our own faults and limitations and bringing that to the fore. So you know all the parents are the experts in their baby and I start that first and foremost, I am not the expert in your tamariki, you are. You know and I might have some knowledge but you will have the best knowledge that there is to access from within you.
And I think, that’s the best thing about mātauranga and when we’re sharing mātauranga is how it always looks at the positive kaupapa, and really whakamana like builds the mana of parents, caregivers even kaimahi. When kaimahi have that knowledge you don’t’ have to be a tohunga. Is that right, do you have to be a tohunga to share mātauranga whānau?
[Dina, Deb and Elizabeth appear on screen and shake their heads saying ‘no’]
E tika ana we don’t have to be those tohunga whānau and so it is about, what happens when you know whānau we heard your stories when whānau aren’t don’t are sort of resistant to mātauranga Māori and whakapapa and understanding that importance of that.
What happens when, when our kaimahi our people that are supporting whānau are on a journey? You know what things have you seen out there that has supported people on the journey of gaining more mātauranga or just little bits to fill their kete,
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
I guess whether it’s whānau or kaimahi, it’s kind of, you have to be in the right place to be receiving this mātauranga. So you’re saying everyone is on a journey, some people haven’t started their journey yet and that makes the kōrero hard. Or or it means it’s just not the right time. What I talk with I talk about with the kaimahi I’m teaching about Tūpuna Parenting kaupapa is doing gentle drops, is what I call them.
I know I couldn’t come up with a better name, but doing a gentle drop to like introduce some of this mātauranga with a whānau. Just to see if they are interested, just to see if they are ready cos sometimes they won’t be. They might just give you the blank of “oh thats interesting” and then you know that they’re just not on, but sometimes they’ll be like, “oh really, I was thinking about this the other day” and and will be really engaged and crack into a really in-depth kōrero.
And so sometimes, yeah you just have to be open to the fact that some people just won’t be ready. And you can’t push it, but you can try and inspire them or perhaps get them curious and maybe they’ll then have another kōrero with someone else. And next time you come back to that conversation, they’re actually a bit more primed and it could be because you did that teaser. Because you asked that question and gave that little introduction. So having those, not giving up after the first kōrero.
If you’re a kaimahi and you’re listening to this, if you’re kaimahi who support whānau. If that first time you ask, and they’re really not interested. Try again next time or give it a couple of months, and then try again and give them a little more. And at some point, they will be ready but they won’t be ready straight away, gentle drops.
We love the gentle drops, those are nice. Cause that’s those little nuggets that we try and drop into them so I really like the gentle drops.
Now whānau, if you’re listening and you have some pātai, remember go to the bottom of the screen whānau and there’s this little symbol that says Q&A āna can you see? Kerewa aye.
So put your questions in there. We’ve got a few questions. But at the end of our kōrero with our panellists, we’ll be able to answer those questions.
Okay, now we’ve heard a bit about those gentle drops and it just kept going back as Liz said and as Whaea Deb said right throughout the kōrero, it’s like “just try”. You know and whakapiki te wairua o te whānau. It’s about building that encouragement, because not enough of our parents are encouraged. And Dina definitely around, it takes time, but you have to look at where they’re going to. The places that they feel safe and secure in.
And I think that’s a real good space to really transition into you know people think about mātauranga, where do you find this information? You know. We heard Liz talked about her whānau tikanga more about mātauranga whānau and where do whānau go and whānau supporters go to get this knowledge?
For me having being raised, you know we were pretty much colonised and assimilated into another way of being. So, I always say, I was grew up as a Māori in Ngāti Tūwharetoa. I have to acknowledge them because for me, you know they shared a lot with me. Having grown up in Kororāreka I learnt very young when i attended kura who the bad people were and who the good people were. And apparently people who looked like me were all the bad people. I didn’t know that, so you know changing that that process of now that Hone Heke is revered as one of our heroes up here is awesome.
And all the tupuna, you know, and having those structures still in place where people have had that embedded tikanga with them. Because if you come to the North you will find no historical whare that have the carvings available. Okay it’s only our modern day whare tūpuna that actually have contemporary carvings in there. Does that mean its all lost? Oh certainly not. Because the ones and this is all what I’m always challenging our kaumātua, is that a perception from tūpuna? Or is that something that has been blended with a modern-day context, you know through colonisation they get a lit bit wiriwiri with me but I always think there’s always a rationale behind you know that understanding.
So whereever you’re looking for it and look we have some amazing written work you know I think about Mason Durie, Amster Reedy and look there’s a wonderful book ‘Te whatu pōkeka’ that’s that’s really really awesome in terms of talking about mātauranga Māori but in a way that connects us to tamariki Māori and how they grow and develop. So you know the research you do is actually with the people that you trust around you and then you grow out. And those are the things that actually are more sensemaking to me it’s really practical.
You know I used to, I go over to Waitangi and I work in the kitchen. I’m not sitting on the taumata, I’m just working in the kitchen and everyone, when people know who you are and suddnely you know, because you’re helping them in the kitchen, help feed the people. It’s not like you’re not a rangataira or anything, you’re just helping there and you’re listening to the kōrero. So those things really equip us well. You know and I just think we do the practical mahi rather than thinking we got to you know, go where all the knowledge makers are. Because that will actually, there’s knowledge wherever you go. Whether it’s in the kitchen, scrubbing out the toilets, you know whatever it is we’re doing. I always say “If service is beneath us, then leadership is beyond us”. So our people always about kaitiakitanga, that service mentality.
And te reo o te kāuta. Going back to our kāuta, going back to our kitchens and you know doing a bit of tea towel-tanga. You know, picking up that tea towel as Whaea Deb says, because from tea towel-tanga you’ll get all that beautiful kōrero and whakapapa stories and that’s also building that when we think about brain development. Whakapapa is brain development whānau and understanding that.
Dina and you’ve been in a space where you know, where you see young people and where do they get their knowledge when we’re talking about mātauranga?
Where have they got that knowledge from that are doing all this awesome kaupapa around sharing the knowledge to their own peers?
Yeah I think our rangatahi today are real clever and onto it when it comes to whakapapa stuff. Because they have been, they’ve got the opportunities out there. We’ve got kura, we’ve got you know kōhanga reo they’ve been embraced in that space.
For my kids they went right through kōhanga, kura and then went to Saint Hato Hohepa and I think for them, they’re quite knowledgeable about their own whakapapa, on the Ngāti Porou side I must say. I don’t know on their father’s side yet. They’re seeking that. But I think there’s lots of information out there.
We have whānau. We have, the best people to talk to are your kuia, your kaumātua and they love talking. They can tell tell you lots of things from mai rānō. What they know but I think that for our rangatahi, they’re they’re embracing their culture now. I guess like probably my generation I think we need to go back, you know that book the ‘how to be a good ancestor’? I wanna be a good ancestor.
For a lot of our whānau, they have to go back a few generations to find, a good ancestor and so for us today, we want our kids or ourselves to be those ancestors, for the future generations. But I think there is lots of information I think we yeah talking to people is the great way to go about seeking that support and stuff just having kōrero.
Sitting down and taking time, we know that time is precious. You know everyone is always all so busy but I think that’s really important that we do take the time and kōrero. You know my nan my nan was Niuean and bought up on the East Coast, she had some wonderful stories. I still remember those stories from when she was growing up. And she was brought to New Zealand from Niue because her parents were sick so and she lived down Ngāi Tahu just so. I just think that kōrero is the way to go rather than looking on the net.
So yeah, that’s probably where I’m coming from.
And what about you Liz?
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte
Well I spoke a little bit before about, you know mātauranga whānau, getting stories, lived experience stories from your whakapapa as a way of finding mātauranga and I’ll take I’ll take this kōrero a step further. Which is, have you ever asked your nanny, your kuia or your koro, about their kuia or koro? Have you ever asked them what they remember?
Cos even those little stories, that they might remember are absolute gold and you are hearing history. Because you’ll be hearing a story about someone who probably lived in the 1800’s.
And so, whether it’s a, I had a story shared with me by a kaimahi last month. Where she asked her koro about his grandfather and he said, “oh I don’t remember much, but I remember he use to sit and talk with me about the birds”.
Oh sorry. And it’s just a simple little thing, but it was a piece of gold. It was such a taonga and I don’t have my grandparents or my parents anymore and I wish I could ask them. And so, I put the rākau out to you. If you guys have your kuia, or your koro or your parents and that you ask them you ask them those stories. Because they are taonga. And so I get the stories where I can now, from my from my. I still have elders in my whānau of course and kaumātua in my hapū and such. But those little stories are just as valuable as any of the big stories that are written in books. And so I just it doesn’t have to be yeah they don’t have to be big stories they can just be little memories but even those little memories can be beautiful and so that’s what I put out to you all today.
Tēnei ka mihi kia koe e te tuahine. Um and beautiful kōrero kia ora e te tuahine.
It is those small stories.
Oh, Whaea Deb.
I just want to acknowledge Liz for that. You know for me; I talk to my tūpuna they’ve never left me. They sit on my shoulders, always.
So, kia ora to you Liz, you know and if I’m struggling with something I turn to them and I say “okay tūpuna, come on down” and I know. You know in in a European way, they say you’re hearing voices. I go “Āe, tika tau I’m hearing my tūpuna voice”.
I said they’re guiding me in a way that they’ve never left. You know so so yes even though they’ve departed from the physical realm and that’s you know for me, we have so much richness in our in our tikanga. Because it’s sort of like, I remember a cousin one day he said to oh you know he was explaining this to a pākehā.
“You know the karanga the the wahine are saying come in and have a cup of tea” and I turned to him I said “I beg your pardon” I said, it’s.
I said “we are the portals that open up the doorway to the celestial realm. That’s what a karanga does. And I just said we’re asking our tūpuna to come and be with us and your tūpuna, you know everybody’s tūpuna and I just said, they’re just beyond the veil. And so for me physically they may not be in the same realm that I’m inhabiting but they certainly have never left. And those lessons.
And I always say to whānau who have been badly damaged through trauma. And they say “I can’t remember a good time that I’ve ever had Whaea”, I say to them “imagine how you wanted it to be, imagine your tūpuna and what you wanted them to gift to you”. And you know creating that space within. Again I talk about the brain, because it’s it’s their whakapapa stuff their awakening. They begin to say “this is what I wanted, this is what I needed”. Okay so bring that into the conversation. Because the more they focus on the on the trauma, the more it gets activated. And so I’m not saying to deny it. We can’t deny, trauma is trauma.
But if we want to paint a new pathway forward, then what is it you can imagine with you embracing, imagine what your tūpuna wanted you to have? Because when a baby is born, no one says “oh great, a life to stuff up”. Nobody says that, but we know that hurt people, hurt people – because they haven’t dealt with their own trauma. And so it’s creating these processes of building another whare, where they can reimagine how it could have been and then to embed that.
Ka pai, does that make sense?
And those are a beautiful kōrero to really get us in that space. Yes our tīpuna are always with me and always with us. Our kuia that have passed down, our fathers our mothers. And different people that have cared for us as adults as tamariki and guided us through that time.
Whānau we’re gonna actually go into a few pātai time. And we’re gonna go and answer some of the pātai. Remember, you can use the Q&A if you have any pātai for the panel.
And we’re gonna go to Mae Newey. I think that’s how you say your name May? Aroha mai. And she says and May says ‘Kia ora, can reawakening the DNA and the in the prefrontal cortex heal some of the neuro damage that’s been done by early trauma. And can it start a cycle for the future of healing of intergenerational hurt?’
I’ll chuck that to you Whaea Deb.
Āe, tika tau.
Yes you know for me, this practice based research that our tūpuna did. I remember working with a koroua once, and i said to him “koro”, I noticed that this is what a year that I went into CYFS and I thought I could change the whole system. That never worked for me, but anyway. This koro, I said to him, “I noticed you take that tama fishing” and he said “āe”. And I said “when do you get to the problem?”
And he said, “here’s the interesting thing Deb” he said. “I teach them how to tie and fly, and teach them how to fish”, he said. “Generally, by the second day”, he said, the rangatahi will say to me “koro do you know why I’m here?”
And he goes, “no boy, you tell me why I’m here?”
And so, he said, “that process” and I think, each of us in our own way in terms of the practices that we’ve done, we allow that compassion to be there, we allow our presence, it’s not so much about what we say. It’s how we listen.
Remember one mouth, two ears.
It’s how we listen to people. It’s how we create a process so that I’m here, I’m prepared to listen. I’m not going to offer you a solution because I believe, in you, that you have the power to make the changes that you want to make.
So yes, the more you can activate that prefrontal cortex, and guess who we have to have compassion for mostly? For ourselves. Most of these people are sinking. Remember, guilt is when you can correct something. Shame is like a korowai that covers us and pulls us down into the depths of our being where we can’t see a way out of. And so need to actually help uplift our whānau in a way that is hāpai hoki.
We uplift them with mātauranga Māori. It’s the only process that will work for us whānau.
A question going out to you Dina.
“What have been some ways you have supported whānau/parents that live in spaces where drugs are heavily impacted in the development of our mokopuna tamariki mokopuna?”
Oh you have to give me a hard one?
Yeah, I’m gonna give you a hard one.
Well you know that is a real thing in communities across our country.
I guess it’s about finding them the support. Like for instance within our community we recognised that that was an issue. So, we started a support group. It was the, it was around P. So we opened up a table for whānau to come and and kōrero.
So some of the time, people don’t a lot of whanau just it’s affecting them and there’s no one to talk to. And they don’t wanna talk about it because it might get their kids in trouble and they don’t know where to go. So yeah so that was one of the things, we identified an issue which we addressed by doing that.
But I think I think it is a difficult space to be. But it’s about finding that support for the whānau. I mean everybody wants to do good by their kids, regardless of what of what they are actually doing. Everybody wants to be good parents and tey want to um their kids to have a real great life. But it’s you know some of the stuff for them they haven’t addressed so I guess we’ve gotta find that support. As kaimahi, we have to find the right spaces for them to be to be able to address, those issues.
And I guess yeah I think it’s a difficult space because even as kaimahi going into home you never know what your gonna come up against.
And our last question we’re gonna have now, cos we’re probably have to answer the rest later on whānau and some have been already answered.
Is, “how would you recommend protecting our hearts, our wairua our hinegaro when we support whānau in difficult situations that can trigger you know mamae, our anxiety and how do we protect ourselves without hardening our own hearts? How can we keep going, keep serving and keep sharing and awhi and mātauranga and manaakitanga?
By triggering, you know this person is. Oh Ash is referring to violence and low socioeconomic situations and trauma and addiction. What happened to your tupuna? And stuff like that.
So how do we protect our hearts as kaimahi in our mahi, and so it doesn’t harden our hearts?
For me it’s always like, you know whats the purē? You know how do we, you know call on our wairua? A way. And you know part of this mātauranga Māori is, so we begin with a karakia?
You know even if our whānau are feeling a little bit wiriwiri and woh geez we don’t do that! Well, kia ora whānau I’m gonna begin with one.
You know so we begin with a karakia, we may introduce in a simple. You know waiata ‘Te aroha’ most people will will resonate with that. And people say, don’t you feel whakamā if you’re singing?” and I say “‘course I do’” but i said “I don’t let that stop me”. And then in a way, if some of the kōrero is is heavy, then we need to be able to have a way of grounding that information.
And some of the practical application is, when someone’s trawling through their own stuff, is I can see that they are lost in the space of that. And I will say to them, you know when I’m with them. Is like so you know pulling them into present time because you don’t wanna leave them you know crawling around in that past.
You say to them “oh um what’s that photo over there about?”. So what and in a practical measurement, what you’re doing is actually, you’re pulling them back into present time and concrete time.
So for me to even say “can we go outside and stand on Papatūānukū and do our final closure karakia there and finish with a waiata?”. You know, most people will actually allow you and will be guided by you. I’m always amazed, because you know once you start with that compassion, with that empathy, people will have an understanding of “I’m not doing it to you, I’m being with you.” I’m present I’m present to the stuff that’s happening for you. But I actually, I’m going to take the guide lead.
And so, for all the kaimahi out there, practice those things in a way that you feel okay. However small the karakia is, however small the waiata is, however small the grounding. You will soon pick up, that the whānau feel confident and and feel your competence in what it is you are shaping and forming for them. But what you’re doing is building more mātauranga Māori and that’s the key.
And we’re gonna answer one more question and it’s “If a child is born in a emergency caesarean, can we still practice mātauranga Māori?”
Āe, you can whānau. You know even if you’re not in the room, you can still do the karanga ki tō pēpi. Karanga our baby in karakia, ruruku, all those beautiful things. And you know when pēpi comes out, putting baby up into the four winds. So we can still participate in all of that tikanga. And remember tikanga is ‘tika’ which is ‘doing good in action’, so you’re doing something good and activating that action, so you can take tikanga in different realms.
E te whānau we’ve come to the end of Tākai Kōrero.
It’s all about sharing some practical rauemi. Some tools to build your kete, and here’s a few rauemi that we want to share.
[Graphic titled Rauemi with images of Whakatipu booklets, a photo of Liz Harte with pēpi and a photo of Heeni Hoterene.]
The Whakatipu suite gives you a taster around tikanga Māori, but a real light touch and how you can apply that for whānau.
Our tīpuna our Tūpuna Parenting website with the beautiful Liz. Go there and find out lots of information including awesome videos that she created with our friends from Talking Matters. Whakapapa, movement, whānau stories all those beautiful knowledge and kōrero that you heard today.
Maramataka with Heeni Hoterene who speaks on Facebook. There’s lots of great whānau pages sharing this knowledge around mātauranga Māori. Heeni shares her indigenous knowledge every day, every morning. What’s happening in the moon phases and what you can be part of.
[Graphic titled Let’s Ruku with the date Wednesday 20 July, 10am]
Don’t forget we do have heaps of kaupapa coming up. If you’ve enjoyed today, we’ve got a session coming up and it’s called the Ruku session. Next month on 20th of July 10am. We will dive into some of the kaupapa that you’ve heard today, here today, and we’ll share some ideas and build some connections. This is sort of a workshoppy kaupapa and we’ll be with whānau supporters. So yourselves. So don’t forget to register. We do have a registration of a hundred, so get in fast whānau.
But I want to send out, a big mihi.
Tēnei ka mihi kia koutou, koutou ngā māreikura i whanagai mai i ngā kōrero ātaahua nei i te ata nei.
I’d really like to acknowledge the beautiful kōrero from Whaea Deb, Liz and Dina today. And shared their knowledge, shared their own whānau stories, but also got us excited about how we can awaken our own DNA, and how we can support whānau in that space.
So, e te whānau, e ngā māreikura tēnei ka mihi kia koutou.
Ngā mihi nui ngā kaiwhakarongo. I want to also acknowledge everyone that came in part of this kōrero. We will be answering your quesitons.
Tēnei ka mihi kia tātou katoa.
Deb Rewiri, Brainwave Trust Aotearoa
Deb is passionate about connecting neuroscience and tūpuna parenting, as science is just catching up to indigenous practices pre-colonisation. As a Brainwave Trust(external link) kaiako she travels across the motu working with whānau and whānau supporters. Deb has two adult children, four whāngai and four mokopuna.
Elizabeth (Liz) Emere Harte, Tūpuna Parenting
Inspired by her mother’s and grandmother’s work, Elizabeth is founder of the Tūpuna Parenting(external link) movement, sharing the gentle and respectful ways of tūpuna Māori with whānau across the motu. Elizabeth's other mahi is as māmā to three tamariki, who she treasures and adores.
Dina Awarau, Taiohi Morehu
Dina has worked in the community for over 30 years, currently as part of the Taiohi Morehu kaupapa in the Hutt Valley which encourages strong whānau connections through performing arts. Her background is in social work and community development and has lived experience of walking alongside whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori.
Guide your own ruku
Dive deeper into the kōrero with these bite-sized activities. Activities weave in short clips from the webinar, along with prompts for group discussion. You can use these activities for a dedicated 'ruku session' or workshop with your team, or just at a team hui either online or in-person.