Skip Content
Tamiaho

Tamiaho Herangi-Searancke started formal traditional learning of mau rākau at the tender age of three from his kuia and kaumatua in the far north (Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe, Hokianga-whakapau-karakia).

Now, at 40, he’s a long-established kaiako in this ancient Māori martial art at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He’s running a new mau rākau course for the first time within Waikato-Tainui at Mangakōtukutuku in Hamilton, and is looking forward to the art’s further spread around the motu.

Tamiaho, a Masters of Arts and leader among the warrior guard of the Kingiitanga, started out his life in the far north under the watchful eye and guidance of his kuia Whina Cooper, Arana Karena (kaihautu of Ngatokimatawhaorua) and his grandfather Benjamin Titore (McLean), a 28th Māori Battalion veteran. Under these great leaders and significant others, Tamiaho quickly advanced his skills and knowledge. 

At the age of five he was a kaiwero for his takiwa of Panguru and, at 14, went on to give his first mau rākau instruction session, alongside his Aunty Vicky Te Rangiataahua Wehi, during a kapa haka at Te Aute College in 1993.

By that stage, Tamiaho was well-versed in the mau rākau styles of Tainui, Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pūkenga and Te Arawa, all iwi he has whakapapa to (as well as Raukawa and Ngai Tai).

From that knowledge base, he became closely involved with the oversight of mau rākau tu taua at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for over 10 years before getting involved in the new course being offered at a number of campuses from this year.

The 25 places on the current Mangakōtukutuku course were filled before it started and another similar-sized course next year is already full, with a waiting list of 50.

Interest comes from tauira of varying backgrounds and “it’s not only Māori wanting to learn”.

Tauira motivations for signing up can include a desire to understand their identity, “their place in the universe” and “wanting to learn these ancient skills at arms”.

“As part of all of those aspects…is learning the ancient streams of knowledge, narrative and epistemological truths that are inherent within mau rākau,” says Tamiaho.

“Rākau has a lifeforce and that force is to understand the world of light. He mauri tō te rakau, ko tona mauri he whakaaomarama as my grandfather said.” The purpose of mau rākau, he says, is to understand our ever-changing world around us and our place in it.

For the benefits it brings to practitioners, Tamiaho is keen to see the further spread wherever possible of mau rākau courses around the motu among hapu and iwi.

“Mau rākau is a big impact knowledge base because it requires a total being approach. One's mind, body and spirit are immediately infused and uplifted with wairuatanga, mātauranga, kaupapa and wānanga to its fullest senses.”

 Back to news & events

Published On: 12 November, 2019

Article By: Stephen Ward



Other Articles

  • 24 January 2023

    From Kenya to Aotearoa - Toi and its many connection's

    Jennifer Dickerson, a self-proclaimed "Third Culture Kid" due to her unique upbringing around the world, has discovered who she is through art.

  • 19 December 2022

    Masters opens door to book project

    Juggling work as Communications Advisor for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa while completing his masters, and writing a book has meant Tracey Cooper’s plate has been rather full recently. Fortunately with his exegesis completed, book published and work in wind-down mode for Christmas he’s able to take a breather and reflect on his journey through study.

  • 15 December 2022

    ‘Rererangi ki te Ao’ Opens doors at Kirikiriroa Airport

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Kairuruku and Pouwhenua Whakairo (master carver), Professor Kereti G. Rautangata, (nō Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura) and his team of carvers have left their mark on a significant piece of the Waikato landscape.

  • 14 December 2022

    Making a difference with mau rākau

    Tamiaho Searancke, who started learning the art of mau rākau at age three from his kuia and kaumatua, has guided another cohort of tauira through their journey of learning the ancient Māori martial art.