Through learning tikanga at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Walter Herewini hopes to give back to his marae and keep te ao Māori (the Māori worldview) alive and thriving.
Walter may be close to retirement age but he believes it’s never too late to step up, learn the tikanga of your marae and represent your iwi (tribe).
“I’ve been trying to upskill, so that when I retire from work I can be of some use to my iwi. I’ve been trying to help my iwi at home by learning tikanga and the tikanga for my marae and our history.”
Walter studied He Tikanga Whakaaro, NZ Certificate in Tikanga (Mātauranga Māori) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa campus in Ōpōtiki and says that the support he received was exactly what he needed to grow in confidence and achieve in his studies.
It is Walter’s hope, that through the teaching and guidance of his kaiako (teacher), Ripeka Mihaere, he will now be able to confidently represent and speak for his whānau and his iwi both on the marae and off.
“This programme has given me confidence when I’m at the marae and now I can stand for my family and if needed, my hapū (subtribe) and iwi. Celebrating birthdays, at tangi (funerals) and meetings at work.”
Whether you are Māori or not, Walter encourages others to learn tikanga and the history of marae around them.
He also challenges fellow Māori to stand up and give back and support their iwi by not only learning tikanga but learning to whaikōrero (formal speech) or kaikaranga (caller) as well.
“Iwi all over the country are running short of those who can whaikōrero and kaikaranga. If we don’t stick our hands up now, then there will be nobody else.”
The tikanga programme at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was the perfect start for Walter and his fellow classmates to learn whaikōrero and kaikaranga.
“It’s only us, there’s nobody else. You have got to stand up and that’s what this programme helps you do. It gives you the confidence to at least try. We are allowed to make mistakes when we are studying, but we learn from them.”