How can a mātauranga Māori based Heke Ngaru contribute to flourishing whānau?

Māori continue to experience health inequalities in terms of the social determinants of health. Indeed, rangatahi Māori are a demographic who face significant challenges in life compared to non-Māori. However, the evidence suggests that a strong Māori cultural sense of self/identity and connectedness to Te Ao Māori can buffer Māori against the stressors of life. In this regard, this project will connect rangatahi to their Māori cultural sense of self as a pathway to flourishing.

The overall aim of this project is to explore how heke ngaru can transfer mātauranga Māori and contribute to flourishing rangatahi and whānau.

Eight rangatahi Māori of both genders will partake in a 6-week mātauranga Māori based heke ngaru programme called ‘Wai-Tai, Wai-Rua’. This programme will have a focus on the holistic nature of the moana and Tangaroa in terms of whakapapa, atua, kaitiaki, karakia, and purākau to develop and enhance rangatahi connectedness to the moana and their cultural sense of Māori self. The programme will draw on mātauranga Māori that is evident within such activities as Waka Hourua, as well as mātauranga Māori specific to heke ngaru and the inshore environment. This is important as the current international literature surrounding surfing is dominated by Western perspectives and worldviews.

Data collection will involve the use of the Te Hua Oranga survey, photo elicitation, and narrative interviews to understand the effectiveness of ‘Wai Tai, Wai Rua’. At the completion of the programme, it is expected that each rangatahi will be knowledgeable in the mātauranga associated with the moana and Tangaroa, and how this knowledge might be transferable to flourishing in their everyday lives. For example, goal setting, resilience, coping strategies, planning, mental fitness, self-confidence and problem solving. Finally, it is envisioned that this research project will reclaim little known Māori knowledge, heritage and mātauranga associated with Tangaroa, the moana and heke ngaru.

Project commenced:

Research Lead(s) and Team

Ngāti Pikiao Te Rarawa Ngaati Maahanga Ngāti Haupoto
Te Hautaki Waiora Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance

Jordan started as a lecturer within Te Hautaki Waiora Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato in early 2018. Previously, he was a Māori Health Consultant based out of Whaingaroa/Raglan.