- These wānanga draw on the polynesian pastime of heke ngaru (surfing) as a form of cultural reclamation and cultural affirmation. Drawing on a Kaupapa Māori pedagogy, these wānanga focus on the Māori whakapapa of surfing that stretches back to Hawaiki, the role of atua, and other mātauranga associated with the moana - all in a full-immersion Te Reo Māori setting. Evidence shows that tauira feel more confident in the moana, more competent in their ability to heke ngaru, and a fuller understanding of heke ngaru’s relationship with Te Ao Māori.
Following wānanga and research with Māori communities and Kura Māori, we identified two major barriers for kura Māori to engage in our traditional pastime of heke ngaru – these were (a) cost of equipment and instructors and (b) instruction in Te Reo Māori (as well as linking surfing to Te Ao Māori).
Firstly, the cost to hire surfing equipment (boards and wetsuits) and pay instructors has been a barrier for kura. Often they can transport the students to Raglan, but the extra cost to hire equipment and a surf instructor is a barrier.
Secondly, we received numerous requests for our full-immersion ‘heke ngaru’ wānanga from Māori Kura over the past 3 years. While there are numerous surf lesson providers, there are only a handful of Māori who can deliver in full-immersion Te Reo Māori. Moreover, none are able to provide links between surfing and Te Ao Māori (i.e., tikanga, whakapapa, ngā Atua, Mātauranga Māori). All of our kaimahi are well versed in this knowledge system as it is something we have lived our entire lives.
To address the costs need, we were fortunate to receive funding from the Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa Fund (via Sport Waikato) to purchase 20x learners surfboards, 30x wetsuits and a custom trailer to transport all the gear. We were also funded to deliver 10 of our waananga to various kura and Māori organisations from throughout the Waikato. This awhi from the Tū Manawa Active fund enabled us to address that cost issue. Moreover, with this equipment the cost (i.e., equipment) issue is alleviated for many years ahead.
To address the Te Reo Māori need, all three of us members of Aotearoa Water Patrol are fluent in Te Reo. We have delivered full immersion wānanga before so we were able to do the same for these kura. We have also published articles and stories the highlight the interface between wave riding (i.e., surfing) and Māori history, whakapapa and tikanga.
We do this by;
(a) reducing the associated costs of surfing for when kura Māori visit Whaingaroa/Raglan, by providing the wetsuits and surfboards free of charge, including the instructing.
(b) providing instructions in a full immersion Te Reo Māori.
(c) outlining the whakapapa of surfing within Te Ao Māori (both in Hawaiki and post-arrival in Aotearoa)
(d) describing the influence of Atua Māori on surfing conditions and the production of waves/swell (i.e., Rūaumoko, Papatuānuku, Tawhirimātea).
(e) highlighting the wider whakapapa links that exist within Whaingaroa (i.e., Turongo and Māhinarangi, Ngāti Raukawa) so that tauira feel a sense of connection when visiting Whaingaroa.
During and after the majority of our wānanga we ask for participants, Kaiako and whānau to fill in a survey, or verbalise to us their feedback. Here is a small selection (some of these are translated into English);
- - Learning that the Moana provides a space of healing, when things become overwhelming the Moana reminds you there is a world bigger than yourself. I found surfing was a therapeutic activity, great camaraderie with peers (cheering each other on), connection to the ocean (selecting waves & timing of when to get on board). Dragging the board up the hill was a mean test of resilience.
- Connecting with the wai.
- to actually believe in myself and trust my body to achieve things beyond my imagination
- Learning that the Moana provides a space of healing, when things become overwhelming the Moana reminds you there is a world bigger than yourself. I found surfing was a therapeutic activity, great camaraderie with peers (cheering each other on), connection to the ocean (selecting waves & timing of when to get on board). Dragging the board up the hill was a mean test of resilience.
- Balance, being social with others, being confident with the water.
- I learnt about resilience, not giving up when it gets tough. I learnt about the moana and how to ride the waves on my puku.
We begin our wānanga by sharing some of our traditional stories of Māori wave riders. We start in Hawaiki, and talk about our ancestors who rode waves there such as Turi (the captain of the Aotea) and his wives and sisters. It is important to outline our ancestral female wave riders as that provides a connection and confidence for the wahine students, emphasising that it is not an activity for males only.
We then talk about our surfing traditions post-arrival in Aotearoa, such as Te Rangituataka from Mokau, and wave riding traditions of Ngai Tahu. We make links to our waka hourua and indeed, Tainui waka. The particular beach (Wainui in Whaingaroa/Raglan) that we conduct the waananga at has whakapapa significance as close by is Te Whaanga. Te Whaanga was an old settlement site for the Tainui chief Tāwhao. A number of eponymous ancestors can whakapapa to Te Whaanga. We ask the tauira if they whakapapa to any of the iwi to provide them with a personal link to the area that we will be surfing.
When outlining our whakapapa and histories of surfing, you can see the students eyes light up and their sense of self-confidence, and competence improves.
Finally, as we walk down to the beach to begin the instructions some of the students seem hesitant, however by the end of the waananga they all have a big smile on their faces and you can hear them talk about their session (their waves, their falls) to their friends.
- Waikato District
- Commitment to Accessibility & Inclusion