11 Jun 2015

Whanganui iwi learn about tribal history

6:44 pm on 11 June 2015

Whanganui River iwi descendants concerned about protecting and being able to tell their tribal stories through traditional performing arts gathered in Whanganui this week to learn more about their history.

Whanganui River

Whanganui River Photo: 123RF

Tribal historians, knowledgeable in iwi tikanga, gave presentations on how important it is to distinguish themselves from other kapa haka teams at events such as Te Matatini, rather than trying to copy what other roopu are doing.

One of the presenters at the Tū Kapa wānanga or workshop, Rama Ashford, said it is important for her iwi to protect that pool of knowledge.

She said with the national Māori performing arts competition Te Matatini coming up in 2017, iwi descendants needed to start preparing and look at ways of showcasing their Whanganuitanga.

"It's only right that we equip ourselves with the knowledge and understanding so that we're able to present ourselves in our unique way on a national platform," Ms Ashford said.

"And deliver our history and our stories from home, as well as maintaining the integrity and mana of those before us."

Rama Ashford also acknowledged that the death of kapa haka tutor and composer Morvin Simon last year had left a huge gap, despite his leaving a lasting legacy.

But she said with tribal historians such as Gerrard Albert and Turama Hawira giving presentations at the Tū Kapa wānanga, she was confident that the survival of tribal knowledge will endure.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs