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Tikanga Kaiako (teacher): Ngapaki Moetara

The practice and values of tikanga is relevant in our everyday lives and isn’t something just to be kept on the marae.

That is a belief held by many, and kaiako (teacher) Ngapaki Moetara hopes to teach tauira (students) that lesson and show them just how important tikanga is in everyday life.

“Tikanga is the foundation of a person. Tikanga helps guide people and translate their identity into what they create,” she says.

Ngapaki is in her second year of teaching tikanga and this year will offer the Certificate in Tikanga (Mātauranga Māori) Level 4 at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Whirikoka campus in Gisborne.

Even though tikanga is a traditional Māori practice and based on Māori values, Ngapaki hopes to see people from all cultures and backgrounds learn and embrace it.

“Tikanga helps to connect people with their identity, whether that be as Māori or any culture. It applies to our daily lives and work.”

With a background in performing arts and directing, Ngapaki bases alot of her teaching around the art of story telling.

“For me, the most powerful work is approached with an indigenous lens. I don’t mean the content or the people but rather the process of making”, says Ngapaki who has a Masters in Directing and Theatre.

Ngapaki says Gisborne is rich in Māori culture and resource and that it’s very evident in the towns local and surrounding marae.

But she hopes to draw out those resources and lessen the idea that tikanga is a traditional practice only kept inside the grounds of the marae.

“Our rohe (regions) across Aotearoa are rich in tikanga and kawa practices. There’s alot of richness here in Gisborne that plays itself out on the marae. In terms of tikanga there are people who live it and breath it but now we need to carry that into our workplaces and wherever we go.”

For Ngapaki, drawing out the best in each of her tauira and getting them to a place where they feel comfortable and confident in te ao Māori is a teaching highlight.

“I believe I generate a safe environment to learn but also make mistakes. That’s the best place to feel a bit vulnerable, is in a learning environment.”

“Tauira will get the chance to spend a year on something they want to move towards performance wise. Tikanga will be the guide. It will be an amazing journey of growth for all.”

Find out more about our Tikanga Māori and Indigenous Development programmes.

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Published On: 15 February 2022

Article By: Cassia Ngaruhe

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