This report has been prepared for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga as part of the summer internship programme 2018-2019. This project is titled Tangaroa Ara Rau: Whānau connections and Water Safety with a purpose to understand unique whānau connections to water and its benefit for water safety.
Throughout the summer of 2018 Terina Raureti (Ngāti Raukawa) was given the opportunity to work alongside the waka club Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki and their Tūmai Ora initiative which focused on engaging rangatahi with their pepeha through waka.
The aim of this research was to understand the importance of whānau connection to water and its influence on water safety through exploring three research questions. These were:
1. What is a whānau connection to water?
2. How does Hauteruruku ki Puketeraki strengthen whānau relationships with water?
3. How does a connection to water influence water safety?
The main finding was that rangatahi found their personal connection to water through learning and exploring their own pepeha and whānau pūrākau. This enabled them to value their relationship with the water and strengthen it in a way that makes sense to their whānau, using Hauteruruku as a platform for engagement. Through understanding their pepeha and whānau pūrākau, rangatahi were able to respect and interact with the water knowing that it was something their whānau have done for generations. Key themes that emerged were pepeha, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and karakia. These themes framed an understanding of how a whānau connection to water can influence water safety.