Te Arawa Games 2014

Te Arawa stems from a rich cultural history and our lives are woven together through our rich whakapapa, back through time to the great migration of Te Arawa waka and further back to Atuamatua.  With this in mind, whānau, hapu and iwi came together at Te Ihu o Tamatekapua (Maketu) and enjoyed a unique approach for the Te Arawa Games.


Activities were no longer based on the final score as the sole determinant of who was the winner of the games.  Te Papa Tākaro believe the 'win at all costs' attitude and behaviour is detrimental to Te Arawa celebrating and coming together as Te Arawa.  Representing ones marae, hapu or iwi and interacting with your whanaunga from other marae, hapu and iwi in a natural environment should take precedence over whether or not you won or lost the Ki O Rahi game.  

Therefore, whānau participated in accordance with the following principles:


Arikitanga         (Excellence)

Rangatiratanga (Self-Regulation)

Manaakitanga   (Encouragement)

Whakapapa      (Connection)

Whanaungatanga (Participation)



We rose in the morning to rain that poured straight down, even a quick sprint from one tree to another  got you wet, the cars and buses turned up from throughout Te Arawa and over 200 walked onto the marae of Ngāti Whakaue for the whakatau.


First up  - The hikoi throughout Maketu lead by Niven Tapsell.  Our koeke in their walking shoes and rain coats traipsed off into the rain - focused to learn more about Maketu.  Niven took our people sharing stories as our whanau reconnected with our whenua, maunga and moana…  they forgot about the time on the clock as the 1 hour walk ended up being 3 hours.   On their return to the marae, our kaumatua sat and enjoyed a cup of tea from the haukainga of Maketu and continued to reconnect with each other sharing stories (priceless to watch) – Te Arawa feedback reiterated distinctive richness of our people and this hikoi for our kaumatua was a highlight.


Our whānau were also assembling on the field behind the wharekai as they readied for the Duathalon, Tawhirimatea eased the winds away and the sea retreated out of the estuary leaving a lovely bed for our tamariki, rangatahi, pakeke and koeke to run around on.

It was so great watching our tamariki run to the water and head out into the estuary towards the pipi beds  – eads pocking out of the water everyone talking and giggling trying to get some descent sized pipi to add to the bucket, then whānau ran back to the finish line.  (Only in Maketu could such an activity be held.)


We stretched our legs out, dried off and embarked on Kaiaka (Athletic Pursuits) and Ki o Rahi - tamariki, rangatahi and pakeke showed their skill and the stories as whānau came into the whare had us all laughing.


Waka Tangata also started with whānau from different iwi and their hoe learning the calls together, the concentration on the faces – a strong sense of really wanting to do well, a sense of pride manifested as heads were high and postures tall.  Tangaroa decided what was happening with this activity and the course was changed as the tide turned and some new sand banks had appeared from the storm.


Further along the water was the surfing; born out of Hawaii, a homeland of our people and Maketu served up a lovely surf with all the locals coming down to support.  One of the surfers said he was addicted to surfing and one of the TPTOTA team simply asked “Could it be that you are addicted to Tangaroa”….  Quiet for a while he simply turned around and said, "Yeah, never thought of it like that!"


The day changed, out came the sun and as we all dried out -  the smell from the delicious kai moana stalls that Maketu whānau had for sale called to all of us as we gorged on the fruits of Tangaroa.


Manu Tukutuku (Kite Making) was matchless as an activity seeing koeke, pakeke, rangatahi, tamariki and pepe all together sharing, learning and enjoying  a past time of our tupuna.    One of the tamariki finished his kite, ran down to the sea where the breeze was and ran with his kite to make it fly.  He realized it was too heavy on one side, instinctively tied a shell to his manu and ran with it again – it flew!!  This moment was caught on camera and the picture says a thousand words – my all-time favourite picture.


To wrap up the activities was the Power Pulling – a mighty activity steeped in history stemming back to the days our people watched the whalers pull the whale onshore like tug of war – and we showed them how to do it better.  Our wahine showed exceptional talent for this activity.


At the end of the day, each marae, hapu or iwi were presented a rākau with a story about how that rākau represented the actions and behaviours of each individual marae, hapu or iwi on the day.  The rākau were intended to be planted at marae to symbolize the growth of the people, the marae and the kaupapa.


Tumahaurangi showed a great understanding and application of the principles based approach to the events and were named Toa of the 2014 Te Arawa Games.


We are looking forward to next year as Rangitihi made a tono to host the 2015 Te Arawa Games.


Mauri ora


 Moana Miller i tuhi



He Kinaki Korero