This week I spent my first few days as a PhD student at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne. Proximity to whānau and to the inspiring kaupapa being pursued by other students has been really humbling. I also feel incredibly lucky to have the supervisor I have as I have admired his work for so long (kaupapa Māori methodologies up in here), so at the risk of sounding #blessed, here’s my Rima Tere about how #blessed I am.
1. Whare Taonga
My doctorate kaupapa is in relation to post-Treaty settlement entities and the whare taonga model. Gotta admit that I’ve doubted the relevance of this kaupapa this week as so many of my fellow students are pursuing kaupapa that have such immediate effects on Māori: reo revitalisation, karanga, powhiri, intergenerational trauma, whānau bereaved by suicide etc. However, a kōrero from the wānanga’s post-doc fellow, Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena, regarding how all of the students that were present will need to consider colonisation as part of their theses reminded me that cultural revitalisation, as could be imagined through a whare taonga model, needs to be considered too. Haere tonu au.
So many of the students present were reo speakers and so this week I’ve heard the most reo I’ve heard in a long time and it was awesome. To be in a learning environment where this is the norm, where having a pōwhiri for new students is the norm, singing waiata, closing a session that talked heavily about mate whakamomori with karakia is the norm, it was great. It’s also the reason why I wanted to study at a wānanga rather than a university. Anyway, with all these matatau i te reo speakers, there's no option for me but to step my game up.
Another reason: I get to come home. So far this week I’ve seen three of my siblings, my dad, nan and koro, an aunty, cousins, nieces and nephews. I don’t get this in Pōneke! I do miss my babies though but this has been pretty boss.
On a related note, I get the mean kai! Koro made me some rewena for breakfast. I checked out Wharekai Café and had raw fish and fried bread for EIGHT BUX. The lady there before me had seafood chowder and fried bread and was raving about it. I had me a mean coffee at the café. My sister just told me that her partner caught a snapper and a kahawai last night. We had venison stew last night. Someone’s gonna need to roll me home.
Us Tūhoe are known as Ngā Tamariki o te Kohu, the children of the Mist and there really is no other feeling than waking up in Rūātoki and looking out the window to the mist rising everywhere. Nothing.
Rūātoki is also a short drive to the world’s best beach - Ohope. Happy place to many.
I’m in Rotorua today, where we also whakapapa to Ngāti Whakaue and dad and I went for a hikoi in the Redwoods (photo above). My siblings have been doing their swimming training in the (non-polluted) lakes.
Pretty sure you get the picture that this whole week has been my Self-care for the Yeah.
Anyway, this has been the green light for the week (terrible segue into the song of the wiki):