Te Reo Wainene o Tua: The Sweet Story of Yester-year – a te Reo Māori storytelling kaupapa, revitalising purakau, reviving oral traditions, normalising te Reo!

In 2010 we applied for funding for an initiative that would encourage the art form and medium of traditional Māori storytelling.  The basis was simple, Māori is primarily an oral language.  Generations of history, tradition, knowledge and understanding have been passed down to us through our natural ability to captivate an audience through the poetic flow of traditional Māori reo (language).  Sadly the language has suffered severe blows over the years.  But rather than concentrate on issues caused by the past we endeavor to provide solutions and opportunities for the promotion and retention of te Reo Māori, as well as maintaining and promoting the craft of Maori storytelling.  Thus, Te Reo Wainene o Tua, was born.

Sadly the language has suffered severe blows over the years. But rather than concentrate on issues caused by the past we endeavor to provide solutions and opportunities for the promotion and retention of te Reo Māori, as well as maintaining and promoting the craft of Maori storytelling.

Our proposal was simple, to coordinate and deliver Māori storytelling events at different venues, presented by high profile Māori role models and language advocates, to primary and preschool aged children.  These storytelling events are delivered entirely in te Reo Māori.

Unfortunately, this first proposal was turned down.

Undeterred we reapplied the following year.  With a few tweaks and some amazing support from the Auckland City Libraries and of course our talented presenters, we simply refused to be turned away.  Perseverance was key and we eventually landed funding to kick start our kaupapa!  Ngā mihi nui ki a Mā Te Reo mo te putea tautoko hei hapai i te kaupapa nei.

Armed with this funding, passion and drive, a basic plan and direction, a few good connections and somewhere to deliver our kaupapa, we needed the final and most important component .  We needed storytellers.  Enter Scotty Morrison, Joe Harawira, and Tamati Waaka.  As our plans began to manifest the demand for the event grew, forcing us to add an extra event to the already announced three. The issue being shortage of presenters.  Fortunately for us our presenters are all high profile, each successful in their respective fields, and well known.  Unfortunately the demand for their services did bring about the issue of scheduling conflicts and availability!  However pulling some strings from earlier projects we managed to enlist the talents of Piripi Taylor, and the lovely Stacey Morrison.

Chey Tamati & Tamariki TWP Sept 2016 - Copy

Our objectives:

Our objectives include the following:

  • To deliver quality storytelling in 100% te Reo Maori to audiences in Aotearoa, at both metro and rural locations, and also te ao whanui via the internet (i.e. video on demand, live web streaming).
  • To maintain and retain historical, traditional and cultural information through the medium of storytelling.
  • To provide mentoring opportunities for Maori storytellers and rangatahi.
  • To provide feasible and sustainable career pathways and opportunities for our rangatahi.
  • To deliver quality Maori storytelling workshops (bi-lingual).
  • To revitalise purakau and the traditional oral art form of Maori storytelling.
  • To develop international relationships and collaborative works with other indigenous storytelling groups and organisations.

 

Our events:

Tamaki Libraries event 2013:

What ensued was beautiful.  Originally we had planned for three events across three libraries, however, an extra venue was added to allow for demand.  With the board set up all we had to do was start the game and when you’re armed with the best players in the business you can be pretty confident.  It was a resounding success.  So much so in fact that a forth venue was added and an extra two story telling events took place.

The final tally?  Seven events, with five presenters, across four venues, involving ten schools, with over 250 tamariki and rangatahi participating!  Ka rawe!!

Seven events, with five presenters, across four venues, involving ten schools, with over 250 tamariki and rangatahi participating!  Ka Rawe!!

 

Tamati @Mangere Town Centre Library 2013

Tamati @Mangere Town Centre Library 2013

 

The National Library of NZ event 2014:

TRWOT delivered a very successful storytelling event at the National Library of NZ (Wellington) from Weds 26 to Sat 29 November 2014.  On each week day of the event, we delivered morning sessions from 9am to 12 midday.  We also delivered our first ever Maori storytellers workshop on the last day of the event – Sat 29 Nov from 9am to 3pm.  The workshop was facilitated by our Lead Storyteller, Joe Harawira, with special guest speaker Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal.

During the course of this event, we were privileged to host 13 roopu consisting of kohanga reo, puna reo and kura from as far away as Masterton and of course representing the Wellington district.

Over the course of the 4-day event we hosted 454 tamariki, kaiako and mātua – ka mau te wehi!

2015 events:

In 2015 we were fortunate to partner with Tauranga Libraries on 29 June 2015 to deliver a 2-day storytelling event as part of their Matariki programme. The following month we featured as part of the Auckland Council Matariki Festival 2015 events programme, delivering our storytelling kaupapa at the Tamaki Libraries City branch from 8 to 10 July 2015.

Tamati at Baycourt 29 June 2015 - E

Tamati @ Baycourt 29 June 2015

More recently, in October 2015, we embarked on our first international collaboration to Hawai’i as part of the Creative New Zealand International Indigenous Art Form Exchange 2015. We were hosted by the prestigious University of Hawai’i at Manoa (Honolulu, O’ahu).

Punanaleo

TRWOT kei Hawai’i Nov 2015 @Punana Leo o Manoa, Honolulu, O’ahu.

To date, we are very proud to have delivered our stories to 5,500+ tamariki, mātua, pakeke and kaumātua.

2016 events:

We delivered a programme with multiple storytelling events at multiple locations around Aotearoa, including Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Hamilton and Christchurch and a return to the National Library in Wellington.

Joe @Matariki ki Mauao Tauranga Moana - 10 June 2016_018

 

The Present (2017/2018):

We are currently in the process of delivering an events programme which involves multiple storytelling events at multiple locations around Aotearoa, including Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane, Hamilton (Hamilton City Library & Waikato Museum), Christchurch, Whangarei, Gisborne, New Plymouth (Puke Ariki), Wellington, Porirua, the Hutt Libraries, Te Papa Tongarewa and a return to the Auckland Libraries.

All we can say is watch this space!

To date, we are very proud to have delivered our stories to 5,500+ tamariki, mātua, pakeke and kaumātua.

Scotty @Rotorua District Library - 8 June 2016_005 cropped

Scotty @Rotorua District Library – 8 June 2016