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Celebrating Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023

This September our Enable New Zealand Pou Tikanga got hands on to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

Taking a more practical angle this year, we used tikanga to learn more te Reo Māori, unlocking childhood memories for some and teaching some of our Enable whānau new talents. 

Each lunchtime, through the power of technology, the Enable team across the motu (country) built, learnt and sang to embrace tikanga. Our Pou Tikanga Terewai Simmonds takes you through her well-laid plan to breathe mauri ora (life force) into Enable New Zealand’s Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori celebrations. 


“Tī Rākau making was our first activity, also known as ‘Tititōrea’ this game was originally played with sticks. As time has come on we now get a magazine or newspaper roll it into an easy-to-hold stick thickness, tape it together and from there play Tī Rākau. Games such as these were common and important for hand-eye coordination skills. These skills were useful for hunting and weaponry use”. 


“Traditionally poi were made from harakeke (flax) and Raupō ( bulrush/swamp grass). Today, we made them from wool, pillow stuffing and plastic bags. Our very own CEO Michelle Riwai ran this workshop, sharing her knowledge and love of poi making. 

Many years ago, the poi was used during training in weaponry such as taiaha and patu. By using a poi, it would strengthen our wrists and keep us limber, this helped us to perform with accuracy and precision.” 


“Mahi Ngao is similar to the Chinese tradition of Tai Chi. Mahi Ngao is movements and words of intention to Ranginui and Papatuanuku - Sky father and Earth mother. There are also words and movements of acknowledgement to the four winds. Just like Tai Chi, Mahi Ngao are exercises to improve mental and physical health. Wellness is at the forefront of Mahi Ngao as it uses breathing to help with anxiety and stress.”


“Harakeke is a native plant, ‘phormium tenax’, that grows abundantly throughout Aotearoa. Early settlers quickly realised that it had many uses, particularly for making rope for their ships and weaving masts. Māori used harakeke widely for everyday use.

Today harakeke is still widely used by experts of raranga – weaving.  You will often see Bags, mats, hats, and other adornments for personal use as well as art pieces in museums and souvenior shops.   I took the Enable New Zealand team through a few small patterns to create lovely flowers – Harakeke putiputi.

It was a fantastic week with a huge turn out from our teams in Christchurch, Palmerston North, Hamilton and remote workers. Thank you to all who were involved in the organisation of this week's activities and look forward to challenging the team even more next year as we progress on our te Reo Māori journey.