Tū te Manawa

Author: Oriana Paewai (Rangitāne o Tamaki nui a Rua Incorporation, New Zeland)
Speaker: Oriana Paewai
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2022 General Session


“Hapū (subtribes) and iwi (people) have a long and enduring connection to the Manawatū River and its tributaries, from Rangitāne o Manawatū, Raukawa Taiao, Muaūpoko and Ngāti Whakatere on the western side of the Ruahine and Tararua ranges, to the eleven hapū on the eastern side.

Utilising a creative hapū mātauranga model created by Punga Paewai at Kaitoki marae, hapū and iwi successfully applied to the Te Mana o te Wai Fund to establish similar models at eight iconic sites along the length of the Manawatū River (originally called Te Awa Pokere a Tamakuku on the eastern side). Called Whare Mātauranga (Educational Kiosks), they provide a place for the community to gather and reconnect with the Manawatū River.

The whare tell the stories of the cultural and historical importance of each of the sites. Local hapū, iwi and the wider community are addressing water quality issues with an extensive riparian planting and fencing programme. A Cultural Health Index Monitoring (CHI) programme provides information to support local hapū/iwi groups to make decisions on the ongoing management of the river. Find out more about the sites developed so far below.

This project combines indigenous narrative and knowledge with environmental science to revitalise Te Reo Māori (The Māori language), and the mauri (life force) of the Manawatū River, Aotearoa New Zealand. The Manawatū River (180km long) is the only river in the southern hemisphere that finds its source (te kāuru) on the eastern side of a mountain range (Ruahine range) and its mouth (ngutu awa) on the western side.

In 2013 an application was made by the indigenous stakeholders to the Ministry for the Environment Te Mana o te Wai fund to erect 8 Tāwharau Mātauranga (Educational Kiosks) along the length of the Manawatū river. The application was called ‘Tū te Manawa’ based on the indigenous narrative concerning the naming of the river Manawatū.  The application was written entirely in te reo Māori which was acknowledged by the government agency.

The project was recently completed in March of  2019. Each Educational Kiosk contains 4 portals of information; A generic map (showing the geographical position of the kiosks), Historical narrative (Indigenous knowledge pertaining to each area) , Scientific narrative (sentinel species,  and Community information.”

Keywords: Indigenous knowledge, revitalisation, language