In ancient times the scared wānanga began each year upon the Autumn Equinox and ended upon the Spring Equinox. The Autumn equinox was last Sunday, 21 March 2010.
Te Whare Wānanga o Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu was established by Sam Rerekura to teach the ancient art of Ngāpuhi speechmaking to men specifically from the Taitokerau.
If you are from one of the tribes presented below and live in South Auckland then apply now for a placement on the programme in 2010. Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi or Ngāti Whātua. There are only a minimum number of positions available for the stage one programme. To apply now, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classes are held on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to 9pm in Manurewa. The programme will start in March 2011 and end in September the same year. The programme will comprise of 21 classes in total. However, it is important to note that there will be no classes during the school holidays. The programme will cover, Tauparapara, Tangata Whenua, Manuhiri, Hunga Mate, Apiti Hono and Pāeke. You are only allowed to miss three classes. You must have a good memory and have a basic ability to read, write and pronounce the Ngāpuhi language.
The Māori Language Commission, Te Waka Toi and Te Puni Kōkiri continue to decline the wānanga and its applications for government funding. This was especially evident during Helen Clark’s feminist Labour administration while Parekura Horomia from Ngāti Porou was Minister of Māori Affairs.
Again Peter Sharple’s ‘Mau Rākau’ (Māori weaponry/martial art) programmes receive thousands of dollars annually. Inhindsight, Mau Rākau is an inferior sub-discipline of the wānanga.
Whaikōrero, on the other hand is a superior discipline of the ancient wānanga. Te Whare Wānanga o Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu will teach 21 classes for the entire year. You will need to purchase the prescribed texts, Tauparapara, Tangata Whenua, Manuhiri,and Hunga Mate. You will also receive lecture notes at some classes.
The image below is an ancient whatu stone of the wananga. When Tāne ascended into the heavens to acquire the three baskets of knowledge he also returned with two sacred whatu stones obtained from Io-i-te-wānanga. Upon Tāne’s return to this world he decided to give himself another title, Tāne-i-te-wānanga or Tāne of esoteric knowledge.
The mysteries of the wānanga reveal that the place of Tāne’s descent is located at a sacred site atop the magnificent mountains of the Himalayan range in Irihia or India. It is here where Tāne left the two whatu stones exactly upon the spot of his descent. Oral tradition tells us that it took three days of tracking up through the mountains to get to the sacred site where a Marae Temple was built with a stone ātea courtyard which had a large stone edifice erected in the middle of the marae plaza.
Every tohunga priest who graduated from the wānanga were invested with two miniature whatu stones and were given specific instruction to tie them permanently to the hip section of their paki to forever remind them of their divine ancestor Tāne who acquired the sacred baskets of knowledge from the heavens for the benefit of our people. Each minature whatu stone can be traced back to the mauri of the original whatu stones of Tāne-i-te-wānanga. The last person of my hapū that had whatu stones from the wānanga died 22 years ago. I have two whatu stones of my own which came from a tūāhu altar from my great-grand father’s people. His name was Whiu te Hira. My great-grandfather was apart of the wānanga circuit where he was frequently visited in Whirinaki by Himiona Kāmira and Toki Pangari to mention a few alumni of his generation.
I celebrate an unbroken succession of the wānanga conclave through my uncles and other distinguished men from the Hokianga who administered to my instruction as a youth. Noted tribal elders like Mack Taylor, Piri Iraia, Toro Ihaka, Rameka Cope, Brian Wīkairā, Gordon Leef and Ben te Wake were all my teachers in Whirinaki. My uncles Albert Walters, Joe Wynyard and Cleve Barlow were all students that attended wānanga classes taught by Matu Mākiha in Manurewa in the 1950′s to 1970′s. They have all since passed away now where I am left with the opportunity to select others to enter the wānanga tradition.
Finally, it is important for me to inform you that the State does not own Mātauranga Māori. The Crown does not own the ancient wānanga. The Ministry of Education and its Māori employees do not control wānanga that existed before the arrival of European to our country of Aotearoa. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Tertiary Education Commission have no MANA in the wānanga.
Nā reira, haere mai koutou katoa tō mātou nuinga.
Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching, Certificate of Tertiary Teaching.
Director, Te Whare Wānanga o Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu