Te Ao o te Māori

A window into the rich lifestyles of contemporary māori

Photographs and words nā Phil Tumataroa

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The Harvey household is a busy one. It’s full of noise and movement. It’s filled with life, colour, and creativity. It is home to Christine Harvey (Moriori, Ngāti Mutunga, Kāi Tahu) and her five children, Tamāhine (13), Tōmairangi (12), Akeake (10), Kahikatoa (8) and Tuawhakarere (4).

Christine and her tamariki returned to Christchurch and the New Brighton house her father built just before the February 2011 quake. They had just finished a six-month stint going bush in Te Urewera – living off the land in a shelter built from the surrounding bush with no power or running water.

“We loved it there – it was simple, the kids would take off, and I’d only see them again when they were hungry,” she says.

Christine home schools all her tamariki. They begin each day with a yoga session, te reo Māori is used as much as English, they take a daily walk along the beach, and in summer the kids more often than not end up in the water. Each of the tamariki have their own work space and direct their own learning, combining computers, iPads, books, and the world outside their door to do their studies.

Last year Tōmairangi turned her hand to film-making for the first time. In December the short animated film she made about the endangered shore plover (tuturuatu) won an award at the Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge. Now Te Ao o te Tuturuatu has been nominated for an award at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival, and in August, Christine and Tōmoirangi will travel to Tokyo to attend the awards ceremony.

Right now, Tōmairangi and her sister are working on a new film about raising and looking after chickens at home. They have three: Fugi, Lan Se and Chooky.

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