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A new Te Wānanga o Aotearoa programme offers tauira a marae perspective of the environment and sustainable practices.

The 36-week level 4 Tikanga Marae programme to focus on the links between the marae and the environment.

The first programme of its kind is being offered to tauira at Whirikoka, Gisborne, who will stay on marae throughout the Tairāwhiti during the course.

Programme kaiako Tina Ngata said the course had particular relevance for the Tairāwhiti, which has a number of environmental concerns including the highest levels of soil erosion in New Zealand, forestry slash and difficulties for many marae in maintaining quality water over long summers.

The programme could also help Ngāti Porou hapū develop catchment plans, as a part of their recent historic agreement with the Gisborne District Council for consent authority over land and waterways associated with the Waiapu catchment.

 “There is also now an immediate urgency for the hapu of Ngāti Porou to be conversant in the environmental challenges and in particular how that links to us in relation to our marae practices and culture,” said Tina.

“A number of marae have committed their own trust board and marae members to this kaupapa so this can help facilitate the drafting of their catchment plans as well.”

“On top of that each of the hapu have been asked to nominate people to undergo environmental commissioner training …so they can have an equal say in resource consent hearings.”

Tina said the programme would also be looking at issues such as what natural resources did marae use for tangihanga and what was the role of those resources in the preparation of tupāpaku or care for manuhiri.

While this programme is focussed locally, Tina says it could work in any rohe around the motu.

“Each rohe has its own environmental challenges so we need to consider the longevity of our marae.”

“We need to consider that Taiao is also our marae and it manifests through our marae and our duties to kaitaikitanga within the marae and beyond the formal marae as we know it.”

She said the programme could also help non-Māori gain a better understanding of the intimate relationship between tangata whenua and taiao.

“It is something that is really vital for people who are involved in council or local government and state agencies like DOC or MfE in understanding the whakapapa links between Māori and the environment.

“It is often problematic for them in the administration of their duties but this allows them to understand cultural protocols on marae, it also allows them to get their heads around the very intimate relationships Māori have with their awa, whenua and moana.”

The programme, which is filling up fast with interest from tauira from through New Zealand, begins in March.  To enrol or to find out more click here

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Article By: James Ihaka



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