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Genomes run deep in whakapapa

Genomics is the study of genomes. A genome is the complete set of DNA of any living thing. Each genome has a history. It has parents, grandparents, and it potentially descends from a long line of chiefs. Like whakapapa, environment shapes the genome. Its surroundings cause adaptation and evolution.

Levi Collier-Robinson (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau a Apanui) is using genomics to help understand the kōwaro, one of our endangered taonga species.

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Against the COVID tide

Ruminating on the path that brought her to owning and operating a restaurant, Sahni Bennett (Ngāti Mako, Wairewa) says her success probably has a lot to do with her dogged determination to build on what existed before. At just 22, she opened her first cafe with no experience and three tamariki in tow. “I learnt how to carry a baby and make a flat white at the same time; they’d just come along to work and were very much part of it,” she laughs.

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A Dream Come True

The return of the Spirits Bay honey brand was a dream come true for the Murray whānau – a decade after it passed out of their hands. Celebrated at an emotional ceremony earlier this year, the whānau came together with a delegation from Ngāi Tahu and its subsidiary, Oha Honey, who brought Spirits Bay home.

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Life in the USA – A Grim Reality

When things are going wrong in America I hear from people: are you all right, what is really happening over there, when are you coming home? “It is beyond me why you have stayed this long, ” wrote a friend I have known since high school. “He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata,” I write back.

Tonight, people are rioting in Minnesota, the first state I lived in as a 17-year-old exchange student. People are rioting in Georgia, the state I call home. In Minneapolis, a police officer knelt on the neck of a black man until he could no longer breathe. Say his name – George Floyd. In Glynn County, Georgia, an ex-detective and his son have been charged, three months after killing a black man out for a run. Say his name – Ahmaud Arbery. They are not the first or the last, just the latest victims of modern-day lynching. Police kill people of colour in the US. There is no pause for a pandemic. This is the country I have lived in for 18 years and the country I am preparing to leave.

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Ngā tīpuna i Tamatea

Around 1pm on Sunday, 28 March, 1773 a small waka unua with carved taurapa and tauihu glided out of Te Unu-o-Momotu (Cascade Cove), the narrow bay on the south side of the entrance to Tamatea (Dusky Sound). As the waka rounded the point it came to a standstill as the eight kaihoe (paddlers) stared in amazement. Two days prior, the Resolution had slipped quietly into the fiord and anchored at Whetū (Pickersgill Harbour), a small sheltered bay to the north of Te Unu-o-Momotu. For 30 minutes the visitors on the strange vessel with tall masts and sails tried to entice them aboard. Eventually, as rain started, the kaihoe turned and paddled away. So began the encounter between our southern tīpuna, Captain James Cook, and the crew of the Resolution.

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Te Ao o te Māori

When COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill it required some people to strap up their boots and get busy. Waikura McGregor (Waitaha, Māmoe, Kāti Wheke) was one of those people who, protected by a mask and rubber gloves, was out in the community supporting whānau.

Waikura is a Whānau Ora Navigator with Hei Whakapiki Mauri, an Ōtautahi-based organisation which supports Māori, and their whānau, living in the community with disabilities.

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Hei Mahi Māra
Kai to Power up the Immune System

It has been a strange and somewhat frightening start to 2020 with the release of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2) casting a dark shadow across the world.

As we look to the night sky for the return of Matariki (July 13-16) and a new year, I think it is important to focus on what we can do to empower ourselves. It’s not enough to set up roadside checkpoints to discourage unnecessary travel as seen in previous lockdown levels – we all need to take responsibility for our own health to ensure our body’s immune system has everything it needs to deal with any virus that might come our way.

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Reviews

This book is anchored at Awarua. It offers rich and revealing windows into southern Kāi Tahu life on the coasts and waters of southern Murihiku. People who live seasonal existences in this part of Te Waipounamu – think muttonbirding, oystering and fishing – see their friends, cousins, and themselves in this book.

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Aukaha

Aukaha is a regular feature that celebrates the creative talent of Ngāi Tahu whānau. I First Heard Woody Guthrie At Moeraki nā Rangi Faith and Taonga Pūoru nā Teoti Jardine.

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He Tangata
Maui Brennan

Maui Brennan (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Tūāhuriri) grew up in Ōtautahi in a bicultural household. Being of Italian and Māori whānau, Maui appreciates not only the similarities between his two cultures, but also the strong sense of identity that has blossomed from his upbringing.

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