Kua tau te waewae o Ruhi kai whenua.
The foot of Ruhi (a summer star) now rests upon the earth

 Pou Matarua: Co-directors update     
 Kaupapa Matua: Kapa haka, the triumph and blessings
 Rangahau: More grass for the ocean
 Kāhui Ārahi: Dr Hinekura Smith
 Kanapu: Update
 Ngā Manaakitanga: Opportunities
 He Pitopito Kōrero: News | Hui | Exhibitions


Welcome to our first e-pānui of 2023!
We are grateful that our Tāmaki-based secretariat and researchers were able to return to the office this week after the recent flooding. Our aroha goes out to the many whānau affected by the devastation left in its wake. The manaakitanga extended by communities and marae reminds us, once again, of the power of kotahitanga that endures within Te Ao Māori in times of crisis.
Extreme weather events and the wider effects of climate change will be front of mind at the International Indigenous Climate Change Research Summit which NPM will host later this year, from 13 to 17 November. The fully virtual conference will privilege an Indigenous paradigm of climate change and amplify Indigenous voices and solutions. Watch this space for ongoing updates and the call for papers.  

Meanwhile, our Kanapu team Vanessa Clark and Kakahurimu Paekau have been busy with preparations for a series of national and regional wānanga with Māori researchers, knowledge holders and innovators.
A new NPM initiative, Kanapu has been funded by MBIE to accelerate Māori RSI talent, leadership and system navigation. You can read more about what’s in store for Kanapu later in our e-pānui.

Finally, many of us at NPM are looking forward to one of the most highly anticipated events on the Māori social calendar – the spectacular festival that is Te Matatini. Usually held biennially, the last time Te Matatini was held was in 2019 due to pandemic disruptions. This year the festival will take place at Eden Park from 22  to 25 February, and the occasion will be extra special due to its 50th anniversary. To commemorate, e-pānui takes a walk down memory lane with Te Matatini life member, Trevor Maxwell, who reflects on the enormous influence kapa haka has had on his life and the many joys and impacts, both on and off the stage.
We leave you with this clip of 2019 Matatini winners Ngā Tumanako.
Ngā Pou Matarua | Co-Directors
  • Professor Tahu Kukutai
  • Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora


Trevor Maxwell was on Te Matatini organising committee for 25 years. This year he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s honours for his service to Māori and local government.

With Te Matatini only days away, we kōrero about the early years of the festival with Te Matatini life member, Trevor Maxwell, and reflect on the enormous influence kapa haka has had on his life.
As well as being the leader of Te Arawa group, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Trevor was on the organising committee for the first festival, hosted by Te Arawa, in 1972. He said all Te Arawa groups performing in the first festival were behind the scenes volunteers because “we had to make sure it was a success. Everyone volunteered whether you took the stage or not. I remember taking my little nephews, Temuera and Howie Morrison to be my helpers in the dressing rooms and they looked after the toilets.”
While he was playing a support role in that first national competition, he said the excitement of a festival showcasing Māori culture and performing arts was palpable. “The feeling among all the groups was one of pride. We could all see that this was a major step forward in developing our performing arts. The competition is what gives performers the passion. When you represent your tribe, your hapū, the passion builds from there,” he says.
The very next year, another national competition was held. Once again Te Arawa had hosting duties, and this time Ngāti Rangiwewehi was on stage, taking out fourth place overall. Trevor won the award for best male that year, but says, “I didn’t feel as good about that as I do now. I would rather have had our group do better than me as an individual. But looking back, I’m proud to have my name as one of the first on that trophy.”
Trevor, along with his wife Atareta, were to become the driving force behind Ngāti Rangiwewehi as both leaders and tutors for over 30 years, shaping the group as a force in kapa haka performance, seeing them win two national titles, along with many runner-up titles.
Trevor’s love of kapa haka began as a child when he started performing for Ngāti Rangiwewehi  “midgets” group. “We didn’t have a car growing up and being from the small village of Awahou, kapa haka gave me a chance to see the rest of New Zealand. Wow, we performed for the Māori Queen’s coronation, for different churches, and travelled to places like Gisborne and Waikato. That was big in those days.”
His passion for performing continued into adulthood and it saw Trevor lead various kapa haka groups all over the world many times over. Ngāti Rangiwewehi performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2000, and because of that impressive performance, Trevor was asked to lead a combined Te Arawa group for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in 2012.
Trevor has taken kapa haka to the world, visiting 42 countries over the years, but he says there was one world trip that was crucial to the development of kapa haka in Aotearoa.
Along with another life-time Te Matatini member, Tangiwai Ria, he and his wife
Atareta toured the world in 1970 as members of the New Zealand Māori Theatre Trust Group. Travelling to Japan, Russia, and throughout Europe, they performed with Inia Te Wiata as the headline act and shared the stage with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at Expo 70.
He says that tour had a huge influence on everyone. “After that tour, we went back to our own groups. Atareta and I led Rangiwewehi, Tangiwai and George led Wahīrere, Tom and Vicky Ward led the top group in Wellington. That tour gave us the exposure of performing for international audiences, and it gave us confidence to lead when we returned.”
Upon his return home, the elders of Ngāti Rangiwewehi requested that Trevor take over the leadership of the group. Initially very apprehensive about leading hapū members much older than himself, he said to the old people, “there’s going to be changes if I lead” and they replied, “that’s what we want.”
The first thing to go was smoking. “Our biggest challenge was stopping people smoking during rehearsals in those days. They would be sitting there singing and puffing – the room used to be full of it.” He says that the decision to focus on health and fitness, as well as performance was extremely important to him. “I explained to our group that I wanted them here singing when they were 80, and not to stop once they hit 40.”
He says as a member of the National Te Matatini Committee, promoting a Smokefree and alcohol-free competition is an achievement the committee can be proud of.
“That’s what kapa haka is doing for our people. It encourages that lifestyle. In the six-month lead up to competition, people in our group are getting fitter and cutting down on alcohol, because you can’t get up and perform to that high standard if you are not fit.”
As for the way kapa haka performance has evolved over the past 50 years, Trevor is reluctant to comment. “You can’t compare groups because they were different times and different people. It’s like comparing All Black teams,” he says.
In the six-month lead-up to Te Matatini, you’ll find Ngāti Rangiwewehi’s talisman down at Tarimano Marae most weekends.  “I don’t interfere, it’s their time now. But they asked me to come down and be with them during practice. They said they just want my wairua in the room with them, and I want to be there with them. I’m with whānau anyway.”
For Trevor, the relationships have always been what matters. This year he’ll be sitting up in the V.I.P seats at Te Matatini, catching up with his old mate Tangiwai Ria who joined the festival organizing committee with him way back when.
“I feel great joy when I’m at Te Matatini. When the groups are performing, yes, we are fiercely competitive. But once it’s over, we are whānau. I love it when the sons and daughters from groups I have competed against come up and call me uncle. It’s the relationships that I have formed because of kapa haka that I’m grateful for. It was a shared passion with my wife Atareta, and it cemented our marriage. With my whānau, hapū, it’s given me great joy sharing my love of kapa haka with them, but as well as this I have friendships with people from all over Aotearoa and the world. That’s the true blessing.”




More Grass Meadows Needed in the Ocean
Each summer we welcome a new cohort of NPM Raumati Interns who hone their research skills on real life projects. Here we talk to 21/22 intern Breanna Hindmarsh (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauti) about her love of seagrass.
Despite studying for a degree in marine biology, second year University of Victoria student, Breanna Hindmarsh had little awareness about seagrass and the part it plays in our marine ecosystems.
That changed in 2021 when Breanna took up the opportunity of a NPM Raumati Internship at the Cawthron Institute. Supervised by Dana Clark, Anna Berthelsen and Anaru Luke (Cawthron Institute), Breanna was given the chance to research the restoration of karepō (seagrass) in Aotearoa. As a result, Breanna gained insight into just how vital seagrass is to providing habitats for fish and sea life, improving water quality and sequestering carbon which mitigates climate change.
There is only one species of seagrass in Aotearoa and the global decline of seagrass means there is an urgent need to find methods of restoring meadows that are not damaging to the health of original populations. Previous methods of restoration included transplanting sods of intact seagrass from healthy meadows into other areas for restoration. The internship report she co-wrote explored less impactful methods for restoring meadows.
During her internship, Breanna was constantly working in the field, often up to her knees in sea water investigating different methods for restoration of this innocuous, yet valuable coastal species. “Seagrass is spread by seeds but can also be spread by cuttings. So, we looked at different methods of how they can be transplanted into other areas of the coast.” Her research showed that seeds from pollinated flowers collected from healthy estuaries or brood stock plants have proven to be a good low impact source for future restoration projects.
However, she says even with a robust production of seagrass plants or source of seeds, issues that cause declines will need to be addressed prior to restoration, to facilitate the survival of seagrass in that area in the future.
“The internship was valuable because it gave me the opportunity to look much more deeply into one topic, rather than just the broad, fast paced knowledge at university where you brush over a lot of topics. I’m a real seagrass fan now,” she says.
Late last year Cawthron released a report, written by Breanna and her co-author, Rachel Hooks, about seagrass. “The research with Cawthron opened my world to the importance of seagrass to coastal environments. We touched on seagrass at university but being able to do an internship I was able to get a hands-on, interactive experience which was awesome,” she says.
“I had great supervisors who I am so grateful for as they gave me lots of structure and support and my time as an intern also opened my eyes to the different opportunities and research out there.”
While the experience of undertaking a summer internship afforded practical advantages, that wasn’t the only reward. “One of the main reasons for my study of science is how the knowledge you gain impacts and informs environmental awareness. After my summer internship at Cawthron I know that science is the correct career choice for me,” says Breanna.
“I would encourage anyone to take up an internship as they are an amazing opportunity – you just learn so much, and there are so many different projects out there to get involved with. I loved learning about what all the other interns were doing at Ngā Pae and my professional network group increased massively,” she says.
See Breanna’s report:


Each month we feature a member of our NPM Kāhui Ārahi- Research Leadership Team in our E-pānui.  This month we talked with Hinekura Smith who leads out Pou Kounga.
Ko wai tō ingoa, nō whea koe?

No te Whā Nōtā tēnei tūrehu arā ko Te Rarawa ko Ngā Puhi ngā iwi, ko Whangatauatia te maunga, ko Roma te marae, he hononga whakapapa anō ki Ngāti Maru ki Taranaki. No Ingarangi no Southampton tōku papa. He māmā, he ringatoi, he pouako, he kairangahau ētahi o ōku tuakiritanga. Ko Hinekura Smith tōku ingoa, tihei mauritau.
 I am a Māori woman, mother, weaver, teacher and researcher from the Far North iwi of Te Rarawa and Ngā Puhi. We are also revealing and reconnecting intergenerationally disrupted whakapapa connections to Ngāti Maru ki Taranaki which is exciting!
Can you give us a little glimpse into a ‘day in the life’ of Hinekura?

If there is one thing that is both enjoyable and challenging in equal amounts is the varied nature of my work which means days are not always the same. Hauora wise I try to start the day with a karanga to the ao, to the sun, to the rain, to a dream I had the night before etc or whatever the universe presents. I also try to get in an hour of movement or making each day whether that is walking, gym or weaving (my 13 year old daughter and I have taught ourselves macrame … so everyone got a macrame pot hanger for Christmas!). Once kura goes back most of our afternoons and Saturdays are spent shuttling our two teenage girls to haka training, sports training, games, part-time work and friends’ houses. I know this busy but precious stage won’t last long so my goal this year is to be more present with them, even as I sit on the basketball sideline, and less concerned with responding to emails.
What excites you about leading out Pou Kounga?

Leading the MAI strategy (Māori and Indigenous doctoral scholars network) is possibly the favourite piece of my workload puzzle. Being encouraged by my tuākana to be actively involved with MAI as a Masters student gave me the inspiration and aspirations to continue on to a PhD - something I never thought I could do or would want to do - and concurrently as the lead coordinator for MAI ki Tāmaki. Now, as the national strategy lead, I have the privilege of supporting the next layer of MAI whakapapa or as I prefer to see it as developing my future research relations. The annual MAI Hui-ā-tau for example sees MAI scholars connecting across diverse disciplines and planting the seeds for future research collaborations that will make a difference for our people. Yes, I am a MAI zealot and you would be too if you could also witness up close the difference MAI makes for our future scholars here and through the connections we continue to


Whatu kākahu weaving at Hinekura’s place.

develop with our Indigenous research relations in the Pacific, Hawaii and Australia. Nau mai, haere mai, tautoko mai!

Our NPM vision is flourishing Māori futures. What does that mean for you?

 I have always been curious about language. Where do words come from? How are they used to mean different things? So I looked up flourish and, even as a Pākehā term, both the verb and noun definitions resonate with how I understand flourishing Māori futures. If flourish as a verb means to grow or develop in a healthy and vigorous way that’s great - but it’s the second part of the definition “as a result of a particularly congenial environment” that, for us as Māori researchers and leaders, is where the work is at. How does our research, our community connections and engagement, and the way we ‘walk the world’ contribute to a cultural, social, political and physical environment where our whānau now and in the future will flourish? I also like the idea of flourish as a noun – a bold or extravagant gesture or action made to attract attention – because Aotearoa needs high quality research that is bold and attracts attention. Flourishing Māori research for flourishing Māori futures. 
Lastly, if you could be a manu Māori/NZ Native Bird which one would you choose and why?

I would be a kuaka, a manu rongonui for us in the Far North, that travels the world but always returns home to the north. The only way the kuaka can fly to Russia with only a couple of stops on the way is by sticking with their flock and, most importantly of all, sharing who takes the lead. I like this idea – that we can flourish by sticking together AND we all need to take the lead sometimes and share the responsibility of the collective. He tangata kē koutou, he tangata kē mātou i roto i tēnei ao tātou tātou e.


With the new year, our team has grown with Kakahurimu Paekau (Waikato; Ngāti Māhanga, Ngāti Mahuta) who joined as Project Manager in January 2023. We are also thrilled to partner with AATEA Solutions based in  Hāwera, Te Wairoa and Wellington, to progress many key kaupapa over the next six months.  
Hui Hihiri, our National Online Wānanga will be held on 22-23 March, 2023.
The wānanga is a space for Māori traditional knowledge holders and practitioners, Māori researchers and scientists to gather and foster spontaneous energy, grow connections and be inspired – we hope you will join us. Please see ‘He Pitopito Kōrero’ section, click and add the calendar invite and receive updates to Hui Hihiri.
The tohu for Kanapu is a visual symbol that is deeply meaningul. We are extremely grateful for the way AATEA Solutions has woven our story starting with our name, taken from part of a traditional pihe (requiem) that was gifted by ruānuku Emeritus Professor Ngāhuia Te Awekōtuku. The imagery weaves together in-depth historical and genealogical accounts underpinning Kanapu, as well as our response to prevailing themes and events that set the scene for reverberation where ‘Haruru ana te ao’ is the consequence and transformation of the system-wide energy states of the Research, Science and Innovation sector.

With AATEA Solutions whānau in Ngamotu, January 2023. L-R: Patina Edwards, Kakahurimu Paekau, Whare Kupenga-Keefe, Vanessa Clark, Hinerangi Edwards, Jude Cornelius and Sophie Clement.


Matakitenga Research Fund

NPM is inviting applications for funding to our contestable Matakitenga Research Fund. If you are a Māori researcher employed at any NPM partner entity, you are eligible to apply. The fund supports impactful research that will contribute to our vision of building the foundations for flourishing Māori futures.
Closing date: 5pm, 31st March, 2023
Information webinar: 1.30pm, 20th February.
All inquiries to:


Borrin Foundation NPM Legal Internship Award
Nikorima Te Iwi Ngaro Nuttall (Raukawa)
Noah Piripi Kemp (Te Aati Awa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Project title: Tikanga and Te Tiriti –transforming law and policy in Aotearoa 
Supervisor: Associate Professor Linda Te Aho (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta, Waikato)
Host Institution: The University of Waikato 

Te Matatini
Don’t miss out on the premier event in this year’s calendar. Celebrating 50 years of premier kapa haka competition in Aotearoa, there will be thrills and excitement as iwi, hapū and whānau go head to head to become Aotearoa champions.
Where: Eden Park, Auckland
When: February 22-25

NRL Harvey Norman All-Stars: Māori v Indigenous
Experience and event like no other. Witness the first time in history as Aotearoa NZ Māori All Stars play their first game on home soil against the Indigenous All Stars. 
Where: Rotorua International Stadium
When: Saturday February 11, 2pm-8pm
Who: Starting with mixed touch football at 2.15pm, the women’s game at 3.30pm and ending with the men’s game at 5.45pm, this is a wonderful day out celebrating the skill and power of our amazing Indigenous athletes.

Mata Aho Collective: Te Puni Aroaro
The ground-breaking artworks of four wāhine Māori artists who have worked together for the last decade. Producing large scale, fibre-based works, artists Erena Baker (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangātira), Sarah Hudson (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe), Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi), and Terri Te Tau (Rangitāne ki Wairarapa) use mātauranga as their conceptual framework to comment on the complexity of Māori lives.
Where: Te Papa, Wellington
When: 2023

Please click this link to add the calendar invite and receive updates to Hui Hihiri.

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