Supporting vulnerable mātauranga Māori

Last week Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga was excited to announce the launch of a second round of Mātauranga Māori Contestable Grants.

The carvings of Tanewhirinaki rise up from scaffolding as people talk below.
Raising of Ngāti Ira whare Tanewhirinaki. Photo courtesy of Ngahuia Productions.expand/collapse

Further funding is available after a successful first round dedicated to the preservation of vulnerable mātauranga Māori. Twelve grants of up to $25,000 each are available to marae, hapū, whānau and Māori community groups for projects that support the revitalisation of mātauranga Māori relating to Ancestral Landscapes and Māori Built Heritage.

Mātauranga Māori includes the knowledge of history or arts central to cultural identity and wellbeing. This mātauranga is often only held by small numbers of kaumatua (elders) who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

There are six grants available under Ngā Riu o Ngā Tūpuna, Māori Ancestral Landscapes. These will support wānanga or hīkoi designed to revitalise mātauranga associated with wāhi tapu, wāhi tūpuna, ngā tapuwae o ngā tūpuna and other Māori heritage places.

Another six grants are available under Whaihanga, Māori Built Heritage. These will support wānanga and/or hīkoi associated with traditional building practices, especially the mātauranga surrounding Māori traditional arts and construction, including the architecture of marae.

During 2022 Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga supported 20 first round projects which benefited from contestable grant funding. These included standalone projects like the launch of Stan Pardoe’s book on Urupa, the raising of historic Ngāti Ira whare Tanewhirinaki, and other events which were part of larger ongoing projects like cultural mapping on the East Coast and reawakening the art of mahi kōwhatu (stonework) in the northern Coromandel.

Pou Whaihanga Matene Simon who worked with the 10 Māori Built Heritage grant recipients, says “From my personal experience with the contestable grant recipients, I have witnessed healing, growth and understanding through many of the projects. We saw the power of ancient philosophies and practice being brought back to the present for our people to witness, in the hope that future generations will carry forth the many teachings. Examples such as Tanewhirinaki, although it had only been re-erected for 6 days, brought a great measure of healing for the local iwi, Ngāti Ira. Stan Pardoe with his book on urupā stories, brought greater understanding of local knowledge and whakapapa connections to neighbouring iwi, and many more examples. Te Mana o Te Aroha with sharing local rua kumara knowledge for sustainable growth within the Matauri community, as well as creating a Pataka Kai for storage and a carved Poupou who is the guardian of the plantation. Inā te ātaahua o te noho ngātahi a te teina me te tuākana i runga i te whakaaro kotahi. (The beautiful aspect that all of these kaupapa had, was the power of uniting kaumātua, pakeke and rangatahi on one kaupapa).”

Funding for these grants comes from the Government’s Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku program, which supports diverse initiatives to safeguard at-risk mātauranga from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga recognises the importance of revitalisation and retention of vulnerable mātauranga Māori within Ancestral Landscapes and Māori Built heritage and through these grants will continue to support and assist whānau, marae, hapū, iwi, and hāpori Māori across the motu with projects that ensure the sustainability of mātauranga Māori for present and future generations.

Expressions of Interest close on 20 December 2022. Read more here.

Niki Partsch