In October this year, 10 Ngāi Tahu taiohi (rangatahi/youth) will go to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA to attend a five-day science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) boot camp.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Tapuae o Rehua have partnered with Callaghan Innovation and NZQA to offer this amazing opportunity. Inspiration is drawn from the traditions of innovation and transformation of Ngāi Tahu tūpuna, who would transform themselves and the environment to meet their needs – risk-taking and exploring – fed by courage, curiosity and passion.

The tradition of Tamatea Pōkai Whenua, Pōkai Moana of the Tākitimu waka is used as an exemplar – as a legendary traveller, an explorer of land and water, uninhibited by the obstacles he happened upon and, with a commitment to problem solving to ensure the survival and prosperity of his people.

As part of their pre-bootcamp activities, a noho marae and design-thinking workshop was held at Wairewa Marae. The purpose of this noho marae was for Kathrine Wiki Arapeta, Tiaki Huria, Bethany Kaye-Blake, Abraham Hix, Luca Mackenzie, Samuel Wixon, Nathaniel Cashell, Kiliona Tamati-Tupa’i, Sarah Langsbury and Ngahiraka Dallas to be introduced to Ngāi Tahu tikanga, waiata and haka, and, for the participants to learn and extend their mihimihi. It also gave them a chance to form bonds, and understand what is expected of them over the next two months leading up to their haerenga to Stanford.

They will be supported by four capable tuākana: Gaynor Hakaria, Te Rau Winterburn, Madison Henry and Jess Templeton. We wish them all safe travels, and can’t wait to hear about their stories and adventures on their return. Haere pai atu, hoki pai mai.

Te Pōkai Ao rōpū at Wairewa Marae.

Te Pōkai Ao rōpū at Wairewa Marae.