Ngāi Tahu culture and traditions help to define who we are and where we have come from as a people. Ngāi Tahutanga is our inherited common identity, it guides us in all our decisions and underpins everything Te Rūnanga sets out to achieve.
Our whakapapa, language, tikanga (customs), our ways of life and our relationship with the land and sea distinguish our histories as the southern-most iwi of Aotearoa.
Protecting and enhancing Ngāi Tahu culture is essential to maintaining the life-force and integrity of the tribe.
Te Rūnanga firmly believes that with an individual’s cultural strength comes the growth of Ngāi Tahu communities and with it a sense of identity and pride – important building blocks for the continued development of our people as contributors to the cultural, social, environmental and economic diversity of Te Waipounamu and Aotearoa.
At the forefront of cultural revitalisation is the tribal te reo Māori language strategy Kotahi Mano Kāika, meaning, one thousand homes, one thousand aspirations. Partnering our te reo programme is the Ngāi Tahu Fund, which aims to strengthen Ngāi Tahu cultural excellence.
Annually, up to $1m is made available to directly fund Ngāi Tahu whānau to learn and share in cultural practices, whakapapa and te reo. Te Rūnanga has committed $1m each year to the Marae Development Fund to assist with large capital works projects and smaller maintenance related activities on Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Marae.
Te Rūnanga has also developed the Ngāi Tahu Cultural Strategy, Manawa Whenua, Manawa Reo, Manawa Kāi Tahu (Our World, Our Word, Our Way). It sets out a pathway to create successive generations of strong, vibrant champions of our culture. It guides our cultural investment and focus and prioritises five outcome areas; leadership; resources; growth of practices through intergenerational ownership; engagement, value, celebration, protection and authenticity and lastly supporting new forms of cultural expression.
There are many challenges facing the health of our culture, but as an iwi we are well placed to ensure there will be long term gains to create a vibrant, healthy, prosperous Ngāi Tahu culture, for our children and their children after them.