Maramataka in urban spaces

In October the Te Pū a Nga Maara collective facilitated a field trip for South Auckland rangatahi to experience mātauranga Māori and maramataka in urban spaces. 

The collective includes Auckland Council’s The Southern Initiative, Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura and the Department of Conservation, underpinned by the needs and aspirations of Makaurau, Papatūānuku Kōkiri and Manurewa Marae.   

Led by Zara Moturere of Taiohi Whai Oranga, Rereata Makiha of The Southern Initiative and Systems Innovator Alex Whitcombe of Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, the rangatahi visited Te Wharau o Tāmaki, Pā Rongorongo hub and Wynyard Quarter in Auckland’s central business district. 

“The initiative was designed to give rangatahi a deeper understanding as to how pūrakau, tohu and knowledge systems have been integrated into urban spaces as a way of strengthening wairuatanga and inter-generational knowledge transfer,” shares Alex. 

“Te Wharau o Tāmaki showcases how a te ao Māori worldview can be threaded into the infrastructure of a building, from its naming of 200 rooms across 29 floors – names from ‘Wainui Ātea’ to ‘Papatūānuku’ – to its digital storytelling capabilities using scanning technology; bringing the rooms and their pūrākau to life.”

The urban, make-shift space of Pā Rongorongo presented examples of urban maara kai gardens and a pataka kai community fridge that inspired the rangatahi to look at a similar concept for South Auckland. While the Daldy Street play structure in Wynyard Quarter referenced maramataka months and seasons, integrating cultural identity into spaces that support and encourage wellbeing. 

“The Te Pū a Nga Maara collective is helping build rangatahi capability and capacity so they can play a lead role in Māori systems return to South Auckland,” adds Mason Ngawhika, Kaiārahi Māori Healthy Families MMP. “With initiatives like this, rangatahi can see how to use traditional knowledge in contemporary settings to connect people to place and, the environment, supporting positive health and wellbeing.”