Whanau And Whakapapa – Poi Princess Newsletter #5

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Kaupapa o te marama – Topic of the month
Whanau and whakapapa – Family and Geneology

Āku whakaaro – My thoughts
One of the first things we learn when we study te reo Māori is our pepeha or our whakapapa. I know from high school it was the first thing we began to recite. In hindsight I didn’t didn’t fully grasp what I was really saying and furthermore why I was saying it.
I understood it was my ties and a way to tell people where my family were from in case they knew people from there. In the beginning I didn’t know my tribal ties, so I added information from the place I currently lived.

Connecting tamariki with their whakapapa
Recently myself and my daughter have separately been involved in some opportunities that have addressed our pepeha.
I had prior been promoting some te reo Māori surrounding her relationships at home as a game… These are phrases I asked and she answered but you could potentially use them at Preschool or at your whare if you don’t already…
Ko wai tō Māmā? Who is your Mum?
“Beth” she would say
Ko wai tō Pāpā? Who is your Dad?
“Greg” she would say
Ko wai tō teina? Who is your sister? (Teina is a younger sibling of the same sex)
“Manawa” she would say
Ko wai tō ingoa?
“Wairua” she would say with a smile.

She enjoyed this little game and she learnt very quickly what was being said.
Fast forward through a number of experiences in regards to this kaupapa. Mihimihi, discussions, waiata, videos and sharing her knowledge. My girl stood proudly in front of both of her Kindergartens together and recited her mihimihi acknowledging her family with strength and pride. As you can imagine this was a real Māmā Mana Moment for me!

Continuing on from this, I considered the best way to extend her learning and I came up with the idea of a book. She drove her own learning with reciting the first part of her mihi with her parents and her own name. As an adult we recite large whakapapa, but I wanted to extend on her current learning gradually.
When she was a baby she visited her marae on her fathers side but of course she doesn’t remember. We as a family have never been further south than Chch and I thought how could she understand and experience the words that she is saying until a time comes when she can visit these places and potentially feel the connections to the places…. Visual cues!

So I went about collecting the right images to make a book.
This was made so much easier by this amazing website I was told about Maori maps.

All you have to do is put in what you do know…. Town, maunga, awa, marae even a region and it tells you the other details and give you relevant pictures. For pictures that weren’t on there I used the details on the site to google the rest. For Iwi I used the images from NZ trade and enterprises, Iwi – Tribes of NZ

My daughter has been extremely excited to share parts of her heritage with her teachers at Kindy and learning some more of her pepeha with the help of her own pukapuka.


I will add more information later including grandparents. For now I want to try not to overwhelm her and just give her bits at a time that are digestible.

Ngā rauemi a Poi Princess – Poi Princess resources available:
I have a couple of rauemi that would really suit any learning surrounding this kaupapa. Check them out.

Korero Mai – By Sharon Holt
Korero Mai (Speak to me) helps children, teachers and parents to practice their mihi/pepeha greetings. The catchy tune, gorgeous illustrations and repetitive sentence structures make learning te reo easy and fun for children and adults. This book is part of the award winning series of Te Reo Singalong books. Each book contains a singalong CD, English translation, glossary, guitar chords and list of 10 activity ideas.
Buy Now
$25.00
Whanau Nesting Dolls
Set of 4 painted wooden family figures that fit inside each other like traditional Russian dolls. Good for storytelling, decoration and learning concepts such as seriation. Pāpa measures 13cm high and the youngest tama measures approx 5.5cm. Dolls come inside a clear plastic box.
Buy Now
$30.00
3 pack of Maoritanga stickers
3 sheets of acid free stickers, 50 stickers all together.
Buy Now
$6.00
Māori whānau character stickers
12 cute stickers of the Māori whānau characters with traditional outfits and related words.

Buy Now
$2.00

Kapahaka kotiro sticker album set

Kapahaka kotiro sticker album with 54 Māori theme inspired acid free stickers.

Buy Now 

$4.00

Āku whakaaro mutunga – My closing thoughts
After more of my own studies I have gained a deeper meaning of whakapapa and I know there is much more to learn.
Through recent experiences I have learnt that every single thing in the natural world has a whakapapa. That we as people and within our environment are all connected.

It has come into my awareness, the significance of the places we are from, the landmarks we recite in our pepeha. The maunga (mountain) that would have been a guide for the ancestors navigating the terrain (long before google maps), the awa (river) the ancestors drank from (before councils made treatment plants), the same awa that provided fish or other food as sustainance. These are living entities. They feed you, they nourished you and your whanau physically and spiritually, you are a part of them and they are part of you. The waka (boat) that lead you to whenua that was your home, with your entire tribe and the families within those tribes. These are but a few points of significance and why these connections and traditions are of such importance.

Reciting your Whakapapa gives people the background history of the whenua your ancestors made their home and the whenua that runs through your veins.

There is a Whanganui whakatauki/pepeha dedicated soley to this connection.
“Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko au.”
I am the river and the river is me. This is recognising that connection and that one cannot exist without the other.

Recently after 140 years of negotiation the Whanganui tribe has won their fight for recognition to call their river an ancestor. It has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.
“The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same”.

This really resonates with me on a deep level. After recently watching pieces on the news and in the media about the state of our current rivers if we would only see them for what they really are…. Hei aha… that’s another topic for another day..

Other free and useful activities and rauemi Māori
For free resources and activity ideas about this kaupapa be sure to go over to the Poi Princess Facebook page, give it a like and a follow and stay tuned next week for all of the links to the free things I have found!

If you found this newsletter interesting or useful or any other thoughts or feedback kōrero mai ki ahau, please feel free to email me, I would enjoy hearing from you.
To see all of the other beautiful rauemi Māori I have for sale please click here.

Ngā mihi mahana,

One Response

  1. Betty Scott

    Beautiful my gurl condensed and very easy reading you nailed it. As usual so proud of you
    Mama xox

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