The kaupapa Māori programme, Time2Train, run by Te Kura Taiao o Mātātoa, is gaining momentum, with plans to start in Queensland, Australia next year.
Time2Train helps to empower rangatahi by teaching them mātauranga Māori and connecting them to the taiao (environment). The programme focuses on five areas; mātāwaka, (canoe paddling); rākau matarua (traditional Māori games and weaponry); maara kai, (gardening); mahi pounamu (taonga) and hi ika (diving and water safety).
Frank Haimona, of Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, has led the programme for 14 years and says whānau Māori in Australia have asked for it to start there.
“Cousins on Facebook, social media, get to see what we do and I obviously want to be able to provide that for their tamariki and the rangatahi that they have in Queensland,” he says.
“We’ve now got Te Kura Taiao o Ahitereiria in Queensland starting up next year, so we’ve obviously had an effect on someone some people and it can only get bigger and better.”
In Aotearoa, the programme has 26 students involved fulltime. They travel around the country and engage with up to 2500 other students a year to teach mātauranga Māori.
Waitlist of 700
Neveya Henry, of Ngāitai ki Tōrere and Ngāti Manawa, and Dakota Roberts, of Ngāpuhi are two fulltime students in Tāmaki Makaurau. They are top students in mātawaka, leading the group when they go paddling.
Henry says the programme gives her “more confidence to speak up and do more and it gives me more knowledge about my culture and my ancestors”.
Roberts says, “It’s probably going to help me develop into the young lady that I am and help me develop and probably help me take responsibilities.”
Kingi Peterson, of Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa and Ngāpuhi, is one of the kaiako (teachers). His son, Samuel Peterson, is also one of the students who particularly enjoys learning how to dive.
“It’s important because, if there’s a big kaupapa on, and they need a diver to go and get a kai, then you’re there. Christmas is coming up. Me and my dad and my little brother will be the ones probably going out for a dive,” Peterson says.
Time2Train has a waitlist of 700 rangatahi, who also want to take part but don’t have enough kaiako to fulfil the demand. Haimona’s plan is to teach the students to become skilled enough to start teaching. Meanwhile, the programme will continue running wānanga across Aotearoa over the summer.
For anyone wanting to know more information about the programme in Australia Haimona recommends them to connect to the Time2Train Facebook page.