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Revitalisation of culture at heart of Korowai wānanga

Korowai Wananga

A wānanga held in Maraenui recently saw 40 locals walk away with their own hand-crafted korowai, along with a deep appreciation and connection to Māoritanga.

The one-day wānanga was hosted by Te Oranga Pūmanawa under the auspices of long serving community development consultant, Theresa O’Brien, as part of their Youth Rangatahi Leadership Programme, and facilitated by Theresa along with well-known and respected wāhine in the community, Mahinarangi Tuhi-Smith.

“Mahinarangi is a humble community leader in our rohe,” Theresa says.

“She is often leading and fusing together the revitalisation of whānau prosperity under the realm of Te Ao Māori.

“The goal was to connect people back to their culture and celebrate Te Ao Māori, what it is to be Māori and the beautiful parts of our culture that make us unique. It was about bringing back that mātauranga (knowledge).”

The Korowai is a traditional woven Māori cloak, which signifies great honour, esteem and leadership. Participants of the wānanga created their own contemporary style korowai from a selection of different colours and materials. Their creations were then named, blessed and kept for whānau or gifted.

“It was really nice to see the intergenerational mix, as well as a mix of wāhine and tāne – all walks of life coming together to share korero of Te Ao Māori.”

A $3,500 grant from Napier City Council’s Community Development Fund helped fund the wānanga.

“Our aim is to hold at least two korowai wānanga per year. We’re grateful to the Napier City Council for their ongoing support of Te Oranga Pūmanawa and their commitment to the Napier community,” Theresa says.

10 February 2021

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