Ngāi Tahu youth explore the Banks Peninsula

A group of Ngāi Tahu rangatahi (youth) will spend the next three days traveling around Te Pātaka a Rākaihautū (the Banks Peninsula) exploring their Ngāi Tahu identity.

The hīkoi is part of Manawa Hou, a youth initiative designed by the Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to pass on knowledge of traditions, history and stories to help rangatahi get a sense of their Ngāi Tahu identity.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere tuarua (deputy), Lisa Tumahai is an enthusiastic supporter of Manawa Hou.

“So far we have held two wonderful Manawa Hou hīkoi in Kaikōura and Bluff. The hīkoi are run in a safe and supportive environment where our rangatahi are encouraged to be proud of who they are. Rangatahi meet each other, learn our history and take part in cultural practices.”

This hīkoi will be based at Ōnuku Marae and rangatahi will explore the historic peninsula. Rangatahi will paddle the ceremonial waka Kotukumairangi and travel around the peninsula to places of cultural significance, learning the stories of their ancestors.

“The idea of the hīkoi is to take them to some of the places of our ancestors and help them to develop a sense of who they are as Ngāi Tahu,” Tā Tipene O’Regan says.

“The hīkoi allows them to practice and enjoy some of the cultural traditions and to be participants rather than observers. It’s also important that the rangatahi meet each other so that the tribal inter-relationships are personal rather than just theoretical or academic – so they get to know each other as people.”

Tumahai says, “it’s important that the tribe supports our rangatahi, builds relationships with them and encourages their engagement in tribal activities because they are our future leaders.”

Ngāi Tahu rangatahi from around New Zealand will take part in the hīkoi, which will be led by Ngāi Tahu tuakana (mentors aged between 20-25), supported by kaumātua and whānau.

Manawa Hou is a long-term programme with the vision of eventually having four per year in different parts of Te Waipounamu.

Place-based learning is the main characteristic of Manawa Hou, with learning taking place outdoors on marae and in other places of cultural significance.

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