First blog post from Te Ao Hangarau, woop!
So this weekend just gone (end of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, I might add), us kaimahi at Te Ao Hangarau were getting our wānanga on with more than 40 rakatahi Kāi Tahu in Ōtautahi.
Ngāi Tahu's te reo team hosted the Kotahi Mano Wawata Rakatahi Symposium at Te Puna Wānaka on Ara's campus, where we were onsite to film highlights and run workshops on what we get up to. We have to first acknowledge the epicness of the Kotahi Mano Kāika kaimahi - your organisation, facilitation and does of inspiration was a pleasure to be part of. He mihi mahana koutou!
Damo and Hori were on filming (watch this space for the highlights, coming soon!), Arielle was on photography and Hori got help from the team (Vinny, Luke and Jess) on facilitation. We took 23 rangatahi from the symposium through a presentation introducing who we were, a bit about getting started, then showed off some of our recent mahi.
Throughout the workshop, we introduced the rangatahi to an origin story we are currently collaborating on. It's still in the works, but you'll hear more about Waihiko, the daughter of Tama-nui-te-rā in time...! We can't take our workshops through every discipline we have within Te Ao Hangarau, so the animation of our orgin story, Waihiko, was the kaupapa this time.
We asked our youngies to work through a resource Vinny designed specifically for them - we got them thinking about character development within a Māori context. What is awesome about being Māori? What were some epic attributes of our tupuna and atua? How can we merge the world of fantasy with the world of Māori mythology?
We're pretty sure most of the rangatahi were into our presentation - but let's just hear from a few of them ay?
"It [the symposium] was mean! At our school, we have a lot of wananga instead of just math in period one and that sort of thing, so I'm pretty used to this. But getting to wananga in your own rohe? Yeah, it's pretty mean."
During the TAH workshops, he most enjoyed the character concepting and design. He also does animation at his school. Stan Fong, an acclaimed animator formerly employed by Disney, now works there. You can hear in Kiliona's voice the pride and respect he has for his kaiako.
"He's come all the way from LA to teach us animation. I wasn't that into it at first, because all I could do was doodle. But now, it's a mean opportunity."
(Check out more about Stan and his mahi at the kura here).
"What you guys are doing, it's a mean kaupapa. I've always liked movies and telling stories; I like how you guys are mixing one thing with another and creating your own narratives [referring to Māui Studios storytelling].
"It's been so cool to see people just trying - seeing people who are passionate about revitalising Te Reo Maori in different ways, like through your workshops and through our own storytelling.
"It was pretty good to be here, and cool to see the people I already know."
Nathaniel was on the Te Pokai Ao ropu in 2016, as were a few of the other rangatahi at the Kotahi Mano Wawata. Te Pokai Ao is an incredible Ngai Tahu initiative for Year 9 and 10s; they are shipped off to Silicon Valley to learn about all the things from the likes of Google and Facebook. It was cool to see how the connections those rangatahi had made with one another were still strong, one year on.
He enjoys photography and film (even modelling sometimes too, see above picture!) and is keen to "portray the Maori culture to the world and show how amazing our culture is."
Would you like to keep up with Te Ao Hangarau Nathaniel?
"Oh hell yeah, that'd be skuxx!"
"I really liked the workshops the most and doing the group work. I'm really interested in the film part of what you guys do and I reckon I could come up with ideas for short films, get creative. It's cool how it is open and creative [multi-discipline nature of Te Ao Hangarau], not restricted. Like, I can't draw but I could still write a story and make it work.
Last year, Ngahiraka was also on the Te Pokai Ao bootcamp, focusing on maths, science, technology and engineering.
"I'm in a dilemma about career pathways - whether I should go with my creative hobbies, or go for the money."
She's looking at engineering or health science as those 'money-making' pathways, but in her heart? "I know I'm a creative."
Part of our mish as Te Ao Hangarau is to show rangatahi that anyone can have what we have. You don't have to stick with the narrative you were born to. You don't have to be a lawyer to be wealthy. We have our own stories. Our careers, our industries are forever evolving and changing - our mahi is exciting and we all love our chosen disciplines.