Indigenous | Hunting

Kai gatherer opens her whare to people who want to connect to the whenua

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A kai gatherer has been offering up her whare to people wanting to get to out in the taiao and learn how to gather kai themselves.

Terressa Kollat (Ngāti Porou), also known as Aunty T, has been sharing her hunting, fishing, diving and kai-gathering knowledge for 14 years.

Based in the South Island, she has thousands of people each year requesting to jump onto her outdoor expos.

She said a lot of her requests comes down to people wanting to reconnect with the whenua and the moana.

“A lot of young people aren’t brought up the way that I was brought up, so they’ve never had access to that. Their parents don’t hunt or fish or anything. The closest thing they get to fish is the fish and chip shop.

“As soon as they come with me, some are just natural, they’ll just jump in the water. I’ll say “have you dived before or have you done this before?”

Kollat said she grew up on the Mokohinau Islands in the Hauraki Gulf and would visit her mum’s marae in Ruatoria for important events.

“Our home is like a marae. You always looked after your visitors. You looked after each other... So we already knew protocol when we came onto the mainland”

She found that most of the people she had taken on would come away with a different outlook on life.

“A lot of the people that I get have anxiety issues and confidence issues... I find that once they’ve been out with me they have a totally different perspective and a lot more confidence. A lot of them say they wouldn’t have thought that they could skin a deer or a pig.

“Once they’ve been with me, they’ve said it’s not as hard as they thought it would be.”