On August 28th and 29th, Allan, one of our whānau ora navigators, participated in the Mana Tane Wānanga—an event designed to unite male navigators from various backgrounds to build connections and promote growth. The event was organised by Te Ra Morris, who contracts with Te Putahitanga to work with Marae and host events.
Here is Allan's experience:
The journey began with Te Ra Morris himself picking me up, accompanied by Zac Guildford and Jacob Skilling, who are partners in The Broken Movement Trust. This trust recruits and places individuals from all walks of life into meaningful work without discrimination. Over parakuihi (breakfast), we connected, and I was moved by Zac's personal journey with Jacob, which gave me knew found respect for them both.
Our destination was Te Hora Marae, hosted by Ngati Kuia. The Marae location was stunning. As I looked around the roopu, I couldn't help but feel that we have all had to put something behind us to move forward, uniting us with positivity and purpose. As the powhiri began I started to get excited, I could feel our tipuna’s presence (Ancestors) with us all, so I said a karakia to wish us safety and good health on this hikoi together.
One of the highlights was witnessing a kaikaranga perform for the first time. She was so brave. The mana whenua handed over the marae to us, then we got to work. The Broken Movement Trust, presented by Zac and Jacob began with a haka and explained all the things they do while some of us received Romiromi, which is massage with healing.
After kai, Te Putahitanga sat down with us to explain our roles in whānau ora and reinforce the principles of why we do our mahi and how we can work with whānau. We learned valuable strategies for approaching difficult situations with resilience and compassion, which are essential skills in our line of work.
The following day began with Mau Rakau, a Māori martial art emphasising the importance of karakia (prayer) and intention. Tamu Mausii guided us through basic strikes and defence techniques while emphasising the spiritual aspect of this practice.
We then had the privilege of participating in a workshop with Tyrone Smith from Canterbury Mens Centre, who has a wealth of knowledge in Matauranga Māori. Tyrone was one of the first male navigators and facilitated a descriptive writing workshop that was impactful, diving into our experiences and emotions.
After that, Kahutane Tairaki-Whaanga taught us the significance of breath, resilience in the face of adversity, and the concepts of Tapu and whakanoa. The day concluded with a collective feedback session, where we shared our thoughts and insights to help plan for future wananga followed by the poroporoaki.
In reflection, the Mana Tane Wananga was a journey of growth, empowerment and connection. Sometimes, us as Tane struggle to communicate, and this workshop allowed us to connect and share experiences we might not have had the opportunity to in our day to day lives. I would love to give a big mihi to Te putahitanga for organising this Wānanga and to all the facilitators for sharing their matauranga. I look forward to our next wānanga to learn and grow so I can apply it in my own life and mahi.