Tāngia taku mata ki te moko, hei hoa haere, hei hoa matenga mōku.
Etch my face with the markings of the ancestors, that they may be my companion in life and death.

These are the words that Ange Tuhura (Tahuna)  shared with her whānau after she and her two younger sisters, Dani Pihema and Jess Pihema (Te Awa Kairangi), received their moko kauwae over an Easter weekend Mokopapa Wānanga held at Te Rau Ora, in Kaiwharawhara.

Over 100 people participated at the wānanga both in person and online.

Re-establish the Mana of Wahine

The mokopapa wānanga was delivered under the mantle of ‘He Whare Wahine who seek to reaffirm and to re-establish the mana of wahine through wānanga that help support our wahine Māori and their whānau, to remember their sacred connections to Papatūānuku, and to forge pathways of wellbeing in an ever-changing and challenging society.

Preparation, cleansing and doing

The wānanga helped prepare the young women for the life ahead of them and their young families. The lead-up to the mokopapa wānanga saw them engaging with He Whare Wahine leads, Maira Pihema and Kirimātao Paipa, who guided them through a process of ‘whakarite, whakawātea, whakamahi.’  Preparation, cleansing the way, and then the actual doing.

Through wānanga such as this, He Whare Wahine can reach a demographic of young Māori women who are seeking ways of understanding their culture, ultimately leading to all-around better health outcomes for our women and their whānau. We look forward to supporting future initiatives like this and are open to assisting in this area.

We acknowledge the footage taken by Nicholas Matthews of Tuatahi Creatives, who did an excellent job of capturing the faces of whānau members during this experience. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou o Tuatahi Creatives.

Photo credit: Maira Pihema

Glossary of words

Moko kauwae – chin tattoo.

Mokopapa wānanga – a gathering that is called specifically to apply moko kauwae (chin tattoo) or mataora (full face tattoo).

Wānanga – gathering, meeting.

Whakamahi – to do the work.

Whānau – family.

Whakarite – prepare.

Whakawātea – to clear the way.

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About Us

To improve Māori Health through leadership, education, research and evaluation, health workforce development and innovative, systemic transformation. We strengthen Māori health and wellbeing through nationally navigated and locally led solutions.