Becoming a tauira of Te Korowai Aroha’s Mauriora 2013 course was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. The teachings and learnings gained at every noho throughout the year have allowed me to add positive contributions in all areas of my whanau, marae, haapori, hapu and iwi engagement. Most importantly, in my current role as a youth mentor supporting rangatahi and their whanau within my own community.
When hope is lost and the ability to dream sounds like a foreign language to our uncertain youth and their whanau; the imperatives, principals and practicums set out in this course not only opened my own eyes and ears to the abundance of matauranga left by our tupuna, it set me in good stead to becoming a more assertive coach, and kaiwhakarurhau to my people. It also prepared me to detect and scent out the adversary when dealing with ways of dysfunction, oppression, racism, imposter tikanga, and false illusions of being.
One poignant transformation would have to be the Decolonisation workshops. A Noho that I will never forget and have forever etched those awakenings into the way I see the people I serve. My hope for Te Korowai Aroha is that it continues to spread it’s empowering teachings to all who desire to work with whanau , hapu and iwi.
Mauriora - Leon Wharekura
Leon Wharekura - Iwi Kaiwhakaruruhau Graduate 2013
Ko David Goodall taku ingoa
Ko Tongariro te Maunga
Ko Taupo te Moana
Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa te iwi
Ko Ngati Hinemihi te hapu
Ko Pungapunga te awa
Ko Kauriki te marae
Nga mihi ki a koutou katoa
I was asked to write a summary of my Mauri Ora 2017 experience. For me Mauri Ora is a complete transformation process that has changed my outlook on life. But to know the full story I will need to start from the beginning.
Prior to Mauri Ora I was aware of my Maori heritage, I grew up in Taumarunui with a deep connection to the rivers and lands of the region. I spent my childhood at either our whanau farm, at Kauriki Marae, playing rugby or swimming in the local rivers. I was loved and I have fond memories of my childhood.
My father is Pakeha and my mother is Ngati Hinemihi, Ngati Tuwharetoa. With this whakapapa I grew up with a sense of entitlement, I believed my heritage entitled me to approximately 2000 acres of land, and after my mother passed away 30 years ago I lived a completely Pakeha life within Te Ao Hurihuri. I was the ultimate cliché of a part-time Maori boy who came from small town, rural New Zealand. I was able to “play the Maori card” when it suited me. I had a Pakeha wife, a Pakeha job, a Pakeha house complete with a Pakeha mortgage, Pakeha thoughts and a Pakeha life. After years spent “keeping up with the Jones’s” and accumulating stuff, I could sense there was something missing in my life.
So when I saw a facebook post advertising Mauri Ora by an unknown outfit called Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa I was strangely drawn to it and thought this “course” could teach me a little more of my Ngati Tuwharetoa whakapapa as Mauri Ora 2017 was to be held within Tuwharetoa. At this point I had just qualified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for St John Ambulance. I saw Mauri Ora as a way for me to study something different to ambulance work before starting further study towards a Paramedicine degree to become a qualified Paramedic. After a number of inquisitive emails I still had absolutely no idea of who this TKAA crew were or what I had signed up for.
When I arrived at Korohe Marae for the first Mauri Ora noho of 2017 I felt completely out of my comfort zone. I was confronted with a bunch of weird, “out the gate” individuals and I distinctly recall wanting to jump into my car and drive home. I possibly would have done that if it weren’t for the (always late) arrival of the Ngati Raukawa crew. Travelling with them was my aunty, my mother’s sister, Aunty Hinekahu Gotty, she had travelled up to support her co-workers with their Mauri Ora journey. Seeing my beautiful aunty was all the confirmation I required, I knew right then and there that I was in the right place, and I also knew that I had to complete this journey and see Mauri Ora through to the end, even though every ounce of me was screaming at me to get as far away from these weirdos as possible. I remembered asking Aunty what this Mauri Ora “course” was all about, she replied, “Mauri Ora will affirm your place as Maori within Te Ao Maori.”
With this I spent the next 10 months getting to know these weird “out the gate” individuals. I was willing to open my mind up to new ways of thinking. These weird people quickly became familiar and I now regard them all as whanau. We set down a Kawa to guide us through our year and used 4 matapono to keep us true to ourselves; Manaakitanga, Wairuatanga, Hau Ora, Te Reo. We named ourselves Manaaki Ao after an ancestor who was famed for being a great provider for his people, we too wanted to become great providers for our whanau, hapu and iwi. Month by month we met, we laughed, we argued, we shared, we cried, we reflected, we grieved, we mourned and we healed. Month by month our bond grew. Month by month our knowledge grew, and month by month I witnessed true transformation within myself and also in all of my fellow tauira, one of which best summed up Mauri Ora as a magic show. Mauri Ora opened up a whole new world to me and has made me feel whole. Now I look at myself as 100% Maori and I am a guardian of our whenua.
Since Mauri Ora I have made tremendous changes in my life. I am making the necessary steps for me to return to Taumarunui. I am moving home and will look after our whanau farm as of early next year. I am still working for St John Ambulance and I will continue to do so, I am now utilising the many tools and practices I learnt during my mauri Ora journey. I am Kaiwhakaruruhau a Iwi.
You may ask what is Mauri Ora?
Mauri Ora is a transformation process
Mauri Ora is a magic show
Mauri Ora is reflection
Mauri Ora is healing
Mauri Ora is whanau
Mauri Ora is the affirmation of your true identity
Mauri Ora has changed my outlook on life
Mauri Ora has made me whole
Mauri Ora has confirmed me as Maori within Te Ao Maori
Hoki ki tou maunga kia purea ai e koe ki nga hau o Tawhirimatea
Dave Goodall - Iwi Kaiwhakaruruhau Graduate 2017
My name is Josephine (JoJo) Apanui I am a Kaiarahi Social Worker for my Iwi of Whakatohea and I began my journey with Te Korowai O Aotearoa in 2015 when I enrolled on the Mauri Ora Programme. I joined the programme hoping to enhance my practice with whanau. But the programme impacted me on both a professional and personal level.
My kaiako for Mauri Ora was the late Jozie Karanga and Jason Mareroa and later on Maudy Tupe and Mikaera Pou. The entire programme was life-changing in how I approached my mahi and how I approached my whanau. 3 years down the track I live and breathe the concepts of Mauri Ora.
If I were to quote what Mauri Ora was about, it would be to quote Jozie Karanga, that it was “dispelling the illuision.” The illusion of living and breathing in a pakeha world as a kaimahi. By the normalisation and acculturation of pakeha processes as opposed to the ancient practices of our tipuna which kept whanau together, thriving. It was about repatriation as a Maori to my whanau, hapu and Iwi. It is about understanding the violations that were imposed upon us as a people and recognizing and rebuking the practices that are inherent in a pakeha whare.
Most importantly it gave me skills to navigate my way through the suicide of my 21 year old daughter. I honestly do not believe I could have made my way through the loss if not for the skills I learned with Te Korowai Aroha O Aotearoa. Mauri Ora gives you the strength to face adversity, to face all negativity that comes to you and and walk through it with the coping mechanisms to make positive changes for myself, my whanau and the whanau I serve in the community.
Jo Apanui - Whakatohea, Ngai Tuhoe
2015 Graduated Mauri Ora
2016 Graduated Turanga Whanau
2018 Enrolled on Te Paeaarahi Whakatipu Rangatira
Enrolled on Matua Whangai
Jo Apanui - Whakatohea, Ngai Tuhoe 2015