25 Jul 2013

Programme aims to keep karakia relevant

10:02 am on 25 July 2013

Karakia need to be adapted to remain relevant in today's society, an expert in te reo Maori says.

Pou Temara teaches at the Institute of Excellence in the Maori language, Te Panekiretanga o te Reo, which is part of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

He says 13 people are studying in a one-off, two-year course about karakia, called Te Matapunenga.

Karakia (prayers) are often used for cultural ceremonies, and to open and bless new buildings.

Professor Temara says research out of the class shows traditional karakia fall short of fulfilling the needs of the modern environment.

Buildings that need to be blessed are getting bigger and made of different materials, and advanced technology.

For there to be high understanding of how to carry out proceedings today, the students need to have an excellent understanding of the psyche of the tipuna, or ancestors, Prof Temara says.

The students of Te Matapunenga will graduate in six months.