A group of 20 Ngāi Tahu rangatahi (youth) went on a hīkoi around Kaikōura and then up to the Marlborough Sounds to learn about some of the first footsteps their tīpuna took on their migration to Te Waipounamu. The hīkoi is part of Manawa Hou, a youth initiative designed to pass on knowledge of traditions, history and stories, to help rangatahi get a sense of their Ngāi Tahu identity.

Tianha Haddon came all the way from Melbourne, Australia to be involved in this hīkoi. “I decided to come on Manawa Hou because I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about my culture.”

Kaikōura whānau welcomed the hīkoi on to Takahanga Marae and Manawa Hou participants took an active role in the pōwhiri, leading the karanga and whaikōrero. The rangatahi visited important Ngāi Tahu sites, listening to kōrero from Maurice Manawatu about Ngāi Tahu history in the Kaikōura rohe. The rangatahi also drank from fresh water springs, saw baby sea lions at the Ōhau Stream and learnt how to cook seafood in a bull kelp bag or pōhā at South Bay.

Te Moana Rehu-Ryan who grew up and lives in Rotorua feels more connected with Te Waipounamu after his experience on Manawa Hou.
“It brings you closer to your ancestors, being on this land, hearing about their stories and what happened to them and doing some of the things they would have done like making the pōhā and cooking in the sand.”

The rangatahi travelled to Picton and were invited onto Waikawa Marae by Te Ati Awa. After the pōwhiri and a delicious lunch the rangatahi boarded a boat and motored off into the Marlborough Sounds. Tā Tipene O’Regan provided commentary during this journey, touching on some of the Ngāi Tahu history in the area. The boat went all the way to Kaihinu Pā in the Tory Channel. Kaihinu is an ancient pā site and the first Ngāi Tahu settlement in Te Waipounamu. Here Tā Tipene told the earlier stories of Purahonui, Maru and the early battles Ngāi Tahu had with the Ngāi Tara people.

“The idea of the hīkoi is to take them to a few places of our forebears and ancestors and help them to develop a sense of who they are as Ngāi Tahu,” Tā Tipene said. “To let them practice and enjoy some of the cultural traditions and be participants rather than observers. It’s also important that the rangatahi meet each other, so that the inter-relationships within the tribe are on a personal level rather than just on a theoretical, academic basis – so they know each other as people.”

If you know a whānau member who would be interested in going on the next Manawa Hou hīkoi please contact Merekara Henare on 0800 524 8248 or [email protected]

Manawa Hou rōpū being welcomed onto Takahanga Marae.

Maurice Manawatu talking to the rangatahi about Waipapa.

Maurice Manawatu talking to the rangatahi about Waipapa.

Kihere Aumua-Jahnke on the Kaikōura coast gathering pāua.

Manawa Hou outside Waikawa Marae.

Manawa Hou rōpū farewelling Tā Tipene O’Regan.