Stratford group learn their Maori culture

Stratford's Waewaerua group are spending the school holidays together reconnecting with Maori culture and their identity.
Stratford's Waewaerua group are spending the school holidays together reconnecting with Maori culture and their identity.

Giving youth a chance to find out who they are is one Stratford man's mission these school holidays.

Ngati Maru's Maioha Tokotaua, along with members of a youth group he helped form called Waewaerua, are spending the next two weeks based at Whakaahurangi Marae in Stratford.

During their time together on the marae, the group will be participating in activities linked to Maori culture.

Along with kapahaka, weaving and learning about marae protocol as well as Maori medicine, the young people are also gearing up to host local kaumatua at the end of next week.

Members will cook and serve a Maori-inspired meal and will also perform kapahaka and waiata for their guests.

Tokotaua said the biggest gap he had seen with the youth he supported was their lack of cultural identity.

He said many of them did not know their whakapapa and subsequently struggled to fit in.

"All sorts of issues come from not having identity," he said.

He said the holiday programme offered a chance for the youth to become more comfortable and confident within their culture.

"It helps those kids find a place, a place where they can fit in," he said.

Taranaki Daily News