We had a fantastic turn out for our ‘bringing the young ones back’ wānanga held at Waihao Marae over the weekend of 11-13 July. Over 20 tamariki from age five to 15 attended.

Each child learned their mihimihi and had several opportunities to practise in small groups and to the whole group (alongside our kaumātua, Aunty Marg and Uncle Pop Te Maiharoa).

We went down to the river at night to set some more tuna traps with Sophie Allen and Uncle Pop. The tamariki built on their knowledge from their previous visit to the river and noticed a considerable decrease in our catch. This was another great learning opportunity about why the fish were not as plentiful as last time.

We also went on a day trip into Timaru – to Te Ana Rock Art Centre where the tamariki were amazed by what the centre had to offer. Rachel took us on a field trip out to the Taniwha rock art site. Our tamariki showed how inquisitive they are by asking some incredible questions.

Aunty Sis spent the day helping with mihimihi and teaching the tamariki a new waiata and some basics with the poi. We even held a ‘Waihao’s Got Talent’ show with singing, dancing, poetry and of course some funny and not-so-funny jokes.

On our final day, tamariki learnt about the protocols around cutting harakeke (flax) — how to prepare it and how to make a gorgeous putiputi. For many of our tamariki this was their first time working with harakeke but they showed much respect for it – and to one another – as they helped each other. Every tamaiti received a journal that they had written their mihimihi in.

The aim is that they will be able to build upon this at future wānanga. Their journal also has some pictures of their time and a short reflection about what they enjoyed about the wānanga and what they want to learn on the next one. It was a huge success. Not only did our tamariki get to know one another but they learnt how to live on a marae (dishes/food prep/toilets and all). We had a huge amount of fun driving in the vans with music blaring and the loud chattering of voices as our tamariki made some long lasting bonds.

I would like to give a huge mihi to Sara, Aunty Sis, Aunty Marg and Uncle Pop, Mary, Aroha, Sophie Allen, Maurice, Ron, Graeme and Lynne for their support of this kaupapa. It would not have been possible without you all. Tumeke koutou.

Tamariki fishing down on the river.

Tamariki fishing down on the river.

Tamariki practicing their mihimihi.

A game of ultimate Frisbee.

Setting the traps in the darkness of night.