Atuatanga & Whakapapa


“Kia whakamau ki a Ātutahi-mā-Rēhua, ko Ātutahi whakataha nei i te Mangoroa...”

Keep bearings fixed for Canopus via  Antares, ensuring Canopus remains to the side of The Milky Way...


We “As Māori” excel in almost if not everything we put our hands to, so it is not surprising that we are experts in the daily re-colonisation of ourselves in the dominant culture.  A culture which we are fond of despite its inability to provide us with the great health and prosperity we deserve.


Therefore, it is interesting that from a complex traditional culture of sharing, collective responsibility and respect we have allowed ourselves to be overtaken by negative Western influences which in some cases has contributed to the extinction of whole whānau and hapū genetic lines.


Within Te Arawa traditions, Kupe Rauru Koata who ultimately was responsible for the discovery of Hawaiki-Tautau or Aoteroa set a precedent of establishing ancient Mātauranga contributing to race survival, societal activity regulation, and inter-generational advancement.


Experience base knowledge acquisition, historical cultural imperatives and genealogical strength perpetuation were implemented six generations after Kupe by the infamous captain of the Te Arawa canoe Tamatekapua and navigator Ngatoroirangi; accessing pivotal ancestral information in order to navigate from the distant homelands of the Hawaiki Islands, through the Pacific Ocean in search for Aotearoa.


Understanding the importance of Mātauranga, Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa approaches contemporary realities through creative systems of potential once used by our tūpuna (ancestors).  Atuatanga, a newly coined phrase, however an inherent philosophical practice is being reintroduced by embodying standards of living and expectations of excellence that would deem all persons to be of ‘boundless-potentiality,’ in of all aspects of life.


We are conditioned by the communities we live in to perceive health and exercise to look, sound and feel a particular way.  In addition, the key guiding principles for which the majority of New Zealanders, but more specifically Māori do this is through a non-Māori, Western philosophical base.  Through a long process of colonization, language and culture loss, Māori communities today devalue the capacity to view health and exercise from a traditional Māori perspective.


Māori identify their uniqueness through acknowledging a distinctive set of cultural practices and belief systems, a diverse language and a cultural knowledge base different from other cultures in the world.


Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa seeks to enable Māori to rediscover fundamental relationships and re-establish the importance of Māori cultural products such as tikanga (cultural practices), reo rangatira (language), Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and theory) etc. as approaches to greater Māori health and wellbeing.  To revalue the importance of cultural products that have informed a Māori worldview will reshape health and exercise for Māori communities.


The power to identify, connect and research links through whakapapa (genealogical precedents) to attain a better level of health and wellbeing physically, mentally and spiritually through the act or acts of physical activity is explored here.  Furthermore the integration of modern technology, tools and environments to achieve goals of excellence through physical activity is important to connect to our current realities.


Today’s health and wellbeing sector is not catering for Māori or Te Arawa and in fact is hindering the ability to maximize collective gain, this is evident in the worsening health profile for Māori.  People need an alternative choice and Atuatanga, although not new, is a birth right, is genetic inheritance and may be an immediate solution.


Atuatanga provides an opportunity to not only meet contractual obligations but provide the reasoning’s of ‘why’ you are hosting an event at a particular ‘’venue/facility” and in a particular way.

Atuatanga demands accountability of authentic connection with that particular [site of significance] venue/facility through the historic relationship exploration and reestablishment and conscious Mātauranga respect and acquisition.   How did that land come to be?  Who walked, lived and developed relationships with this land before now?  Why was that important and what important genealogical opportunities exist and have continued over time in different forms from origin to current (ie: Kaitiakitanga and Tupua)?


Atuatanga provides opportunity to create deeper understanding and connection, reinvigorate long dormant relationships with the land (and venue) before even thinking of the type of appropriate activity that will be conducted.  It is an opportunity to provide or enhance Mātauranga of that whenua before stepping foot onto it, so that we no longer perpetuate a user pays, individualistic, exploitative accession. 


Te Arawa

Kai Taketake


Dr. Ihirangi

He Kinaki Korero