Language: English | Māori

Ngati Kuia

Kaikaiāwaro Charitable Trust (Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Kuia)

In Aotearoa, people, place and connection are bound by stories. Rātā Foundation has been on a journey of Māramatanga, one that brings us closer to understanding the aspirations of iwi, hapū and whānau across Waitaha, Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka-a-Māui and Wharekauri.

Kaikaiāwaro Charitable Trust (Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Kuia) have built the first waka a iwi this century (since 1990), and the only iwi waka in the Te Tau Ihu region.

Ngāti Kuia have been building waka for over 700 years and this project ensures that this cultural knowledge will be retained for future generations.  The waka, named Te Hoiere, was constructed to give iwi members the opportunity to participate in a cultural revitalisation of moana navigation.

Te Hoiere has had a huge impact on iwi whānau, providing them with the opportunity to participate in te ao Māori traditions and learn the shared navigational histories of their whakapapa.

Ngati Kuia Kaiwhakahaere Taiao (Environmental Manager) Raymond Smith says working with Rātā Foundation through this project and developing a shared understanding of the iwi’s aspirations has strengthened their mahi and forged a deeper relationship between the two.

“Rātā Foundation has been a significant partner for us. In working with them, we know our mahi is funded ethically, not through funds generated by gambling or alcohol, but funded by a philanthropic trust which aligns with our values completely.”  

“This project provided the opportunity to educate and revitalise the waka voyaging traditions that Aotearoa and the Pacific were founded on and will create a legacy for future generations – a waka to carry the aspirations of our people into the future.”

“We were able to make the waka a home, clothing all of our kai hoi, making cloaks, all of the taonga that are necessary with waiata, karakia, reo, recognition of our atua.” he says.

“It’s about the revitalisation of our culture and sustainability with knowledge. The knowledge of our past will help us move forward in this economic world that needs a cultural component.”

 Ngāti Kuia’s strategic plan is based on four pou: Ngāti Kuiatanga (Our Identity), Te Tangata (Our People), Te Taiao (Our Environment) and Te Putea (Our Commercial Assets).

The pou are key to building understanding and capacity within the iwi, allowing them to increase their visibility throughout the top of Te Waipounamu (the South Island).

Raymond says the project to build Te Hoiere has been vital in revitalising Ngāti Kuia’s culture and sharing valuable knowledge for future generations to carry with them.

In getting Te Hoiere on the water, the iwi had a chance to have a hand in each part of the journey – from carving the waka, to exploring tikanga Māori around waka, and learning a series of waiata and karakia in the lead up to its launch.

Te Hoiere also connects the wider community by educating and inspiring people to learn more about te ao Māori and tikanga, and share Ngāti Kuia’s story from their own perspective.

From an iwi perspective this project will connect iwi and the wider community, allowing them to celebrate their dual heritage and shared future.

Rātā Foundation supported Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Kuia through their journey building Te Hoiere, providing funding under its Participate focus area.

Rātā aims to enable individuals and whānau to participate in te ao Māori, and have a deeper understanding and connection to tikanga Māori.

Rātā is committed to continue working with Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Kuia, strengthening their connection and understanding, and sharing the future kotahitanga (together).