29 August 2022
Shining the light on challenges our tīpuna have overcome is a great way to reconnect whānau with their culture. Te Hono o Ngā Waka is helping whānau Māori make sense of their past, empowering them to take pride in who they are and where they come from.
Davida Simpson starts every day with multiple cups of tea and the same goal in mind – helping others.
As kaiwhakahaere at Te Hono o Ngā Waka, Davida helps whānau Māori who are based in Te Tai o Poutini to connect and learn more about their culture.
While working as a Mokopuna Ora kaimahi at WestREAP Davida identified a need for kaupapa Māori services to help link whānau with social, health and educational support.
"For Māori whānau at the time, there wasn’t anywhere they could go to get support that was grounded in mātauranga Māori. It meant there was a lot of whānau falling through the cracks and struggling to meet service criteria for support," says Davida.
With the support of her manager at WestREAP, Davida was able to establish kaupapa Māori organisation Te Hono o Ngā Waka(external link) in September 2021.
There's now seven kaimahi working tirelessly to address the needs of the community.
Understanding our past to create our future
Support from the Tākai Local Initiative Fund enabled Te Hono o Ngā Waka to plan and deliver a series of wānanga, helping whānau understand more about their cultural identity.
Topics like decolonisation are heavy yet empowering.
For many, it’s the first time that they truly understand the impact of colonisation on their identity.
Making that connection is key in helping whānau make sense of their past. And by doing that, they can learn about making a positive change for the future.
"This has included a major shift in parenting approaches for many whānau, and an understanding that this shift will have a significant impact on outcomes for tamariki and for future generations of Māori parents," says Davida.
It’s all about connection
Tamariki usually attend the sessions too, with childcare and kai provided.
"We’ve had heaps more connection into the community, heaps more confidence, heaps more positive parenting... you can see the difference in the mannerisms and communication between māmā and pēpi," says Davida.
The next step for Te Hono o Ngā Waka is starting He Kura Whatu – the Tākai group parenting seminars. These sessions will run weekly in Hokitika.