Regional | Kaitiaki

Rupapera hopes to maintain traditional teachers for others

Playing a kaitiaki role in handling dead whales when rescue efforts had failed, Harina Rupapera is taking her experiences into schools and communities with the hope this knowledge doesn't fade away.

At Te Rangihakahaka School in Rotorua, it was the first-hand life experience they were taught in the presentation from Rupapera.

“There is nothing better than our traditional Māori knowledge of our ancestors,” she says.

In May this year, 12 sperm whales were found dead on Kaupokonui Beach in Taranaki, that’s when Rupapera began learning traditional methods of dealing with dead whales.

“I’m new in relation to these teachings but once I was exposed to the knowledge it has made be very fortunate and blessed,” she explains.

Since then, she has shared her experiences when schools and communities.

Arapeta Williams of Te Rangihakahaka says, “These are the teachings that have been given to us from the past however for many of us these would be new methods.”

“What I want to do is to showcase and share this traditional knowledge that I have been given to those that don’t have the opportunity to learn it,” says Rupapera.

She heads back to Taranaki this month to continue to showcase what she has learnt.