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A new short video series focusing on the reconnection of rangatahi with their taiao

Reconnecting Taitokerau rangatahi (youth) and tamariki (children) with their taiao (the natural world) and Te Rarawa’s ancient ngāhere (forest) – the Au Warawara forest is the focus of a new short video series now being released.

The five-part video series, ‘Te Au Warawara’, features rangatahi and tamariki from Te Taitokerau kura, kairangahau, conservationists, iwi, and other participants involved in a 2,000-year kaitiaki project: ‘Karanga a Tāne Mahuta’ led by Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research in collaboration with Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa.

In the series, whānau discuss the importance of empowering tamariki and rangatahi in supporting kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the Au Warawara forest near Pawarenga; the passing on of intergenerational knowledge; and the reconstruction of our unique taonga species, flora, and fauna for a better future.

The late Kahurangi Whina Cooper often referred to the Warawara as "Te wairua o te iwi o Te Rarawa. The living spiritual being of the people of Te Rarawa."

“This is an exciting outcome of our work together. Our whānau all over the world can enjoy these kōrero. Reaching and engaging with our whānau at home and afar is crucial, it is another way for us to support inter-generational transmission of our kōrero and mātauranga, regardless of where our whānau are,” says Phill (Hoddy) Murray, CEO, Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa. During the two-year project, rangatahi and tamariki from different Taitokerau kura attended noho taiao to help reconnect with the taiao and learn about their role as kaitiaki of the area.

“Students 11-18 years old were taught the narratives and history of their tūpuna, the tikanga behind Au Warawara forest, and gave insight into how to best protect it through hands-on learning and experiences amongst the taiao,” says Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Kairangahau Kiri Reihana. While the series and project focus on the empowerment of rangatahi in Te Taitokerau region, it also opens up the opportunity to reignite the desire of Māori and all people of Aotearoa to learn more and foster a heart and passion for protecting all taonga.

“It raises important discussions around the future of kaitiakitanga, a call to action, and how we can retain crucial intergenerational cultural knowledge and the sharing of this knowledge from our elders to our tamariki,” explains Reihana.

The free video series will be released on YouTube as one video per week over five consecutive weeks. 

Karanga a Tāne Mahuta is a Curious Minds-funded project led by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research with support from and collaboration with Te Rarawa Anga Mua, the Warawara Kaitiaki komiti, Te Aho Tū Roa, Far North REAP, and the Toimata Foundation.

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