This programme is a community-based initiative aimed at nurturing a positive learning space to support whānau in connecting with their Māoritanga, connecting with each other and working together to create and develop opportunities and experiences for tamariki that ensures they are better equipped to move forth in the world, as Māori.
Kapa haka is the main vehicle for this learning within Te Aho Paihere. Tamariki are encouraged to sing loud enough to hear their own voice and not be afraid of what they may sound like. Once they can hear their own voice, they are able to work with it and learn about it, promoting confidence, courage, and pride.
Waiata-ā-iwi are explored to help support the tamariki in connecting with their identity, with the wider intention of igniting the fire within them to seek their whakapapa, thus taking this fire home to their whānau and promoting wellness within their home environments.
This programme is also aimed at creating a safe space for those who are not Maori or unsure of their whakapapa to come and experience what it is like to be a part of a whanau and further explore their love for Māoritanga.
This time is used for training and whakawhānaungatanga through kapa haka and group activities that promote developing healthy relationships. Each whanau now pays a term fee to enable the tutorials to take place. This fee assists with venue hire, wānanga, resources, kai, and tutor expenses.
The intention is for the Te Aho Paihere programme to become a space for the whole whānau to come and learn together, encouraging relationships within the community that collectively seek Māori spaces for their whānau. It is common for whānau in the south to live far from their tūrangawaewae, or that their whānau have not engaged in Māori environments in the past, which has led to a disconnection with identity and a desire for re-connection.
It is important that this is achieved in a space where the tikanga is widely accepted, known, and practiced. Without tikanga, the space will not be able to be used to its fullest capacity.
Te Aho Paihere is supportive of integrating tikanga Māori into the community by teaching and practicing tikanga alongside the tamariki and their whānau at Te Aho Paihere, and by encouraging them to seek further ways they can practice tikanga in their own homes by researching their whakapapa.
Again, this will be achieved through kapa haka, waiata and group compositions, theatre, and storytelling, whakatauki and kauwhau.
This space will also be the training space where those committed to training further can be approached to attend a teina or tuakana wānanga.