Karakia ready for Matariki

Healthy Families South Auckland is ready to unearth new whaikorero as part of its upcoming Te Tau Hou Māori (Matariki) celebrations. Over the past month, staff at The Cause Collective (a Healthy Families South Auckland site) have been undertaking ‘whaikorero lessons’ as part of the sharing of Matauranga Māori (an important enable of Māori health and wellbeing).

The ‘whaikorero lessons’ are an 8-week block for staff to learn the basics of whaikōrero for formal/informal settings, facilitated by Were Maiava. As part of their lessons, each person has been tasked with reciting a karakia (prayer/incantation) for the HFSA’s Matariki celebrations at Tōtara Park in Manukau on Wednesday 3 July.

Munro Te Whata (Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou), senior designer, will be reciting the Tipuarangi karakia and comments the whaikōrero lessons have given him newfound confidence.

“It’s going to be a great experience to participate in the Hautapu ceremony (acknowledge the rising of Matariki) bringing my whānau along to share the experience with me, which we can carry on ourselves moving forward,” he says.

“The whaikōrero lessons have significantly enhanced my confidence to speak in different family or work situations. It’s always been an issue for me. I’ve felt whakamā in the past and have wanted to hide or walk away because I didn’t have the words.

“Now, I feel like could probably be a whaikōrero and speak for others, particularly for my family, as there really is no one else to take up this role for the different occasions.”

Whaikōreo is centered around the art of oratory and speechmaking within Te Ao Māori. It encompasses the ability to deliver meaningful and culturally appropriate speeches. For the Healthy Families South Auckland, these spaces are regularly expderienced such as mihi whakatau (welcoming ceremonies) and participating in powhiri when at marae.

“Healthy Families South Auckland is committed to being responsive to Māori in the settings where we live, learn, work, pray and play. We believe its important to extend our whaikōrero internally so that we are prepared to engage with external people and organisations when it comes to mihi whakatau or powhiri,” says Tracey Walker, Indigenous Māori Lead at HFSA.

“If we think about it from a prevention lens, we believe that to attain good health for Māori it is embedded in the cultural knowledge and concepts of wellbeing that we hold. When people are more confident in their use of te reo Māori in different settings, they become more confident, resilient and essentially, well.

“The eight-weeks is really a starting block to give participants the ability to confidently be a whaikōrero in mihi whakatau and powhiri settings. From here, we encourage them to use it in work settings and sharing the matauranga with family, many who are Pasifika and Pakeha.”

Healthy Families South Auckland have celebrated Matariki at Totāra Park for the past four years. You can read about some of those occasions here: