Pipiwharauroa: Hikoi for Healthy Nature

A CLD Case Study by Erena Hodgkinson , Kaiwhakapa-Storyteller, Healthy Families Far North

What’s been happening
hikoi-2Far North iwi have heard the karanga of the pipiwharauroa and joined together in an initiative that promotes physical, emotional and community health through collaboration. In September this year, I was delighted to bear witness as Te Rarawa and Ngai Takoto joined forces for the first time with Healthy Families Far North and the Department of Conservation to lead out the Pipiwharauroa: Hikoi for Healthy Nature, Healthy People walk at the idyllic Lake Ngatu.
The pipiwharauroa, or shining cuckoo, is the bird that traditionally signals the start of spring and the 4km loop track provided the backdrop to celebrate both the change of season and the return of the lake to Ngai Takoto last year.

Who was involved
While the hikoi attracted community providers, it was more so the 100-plus kaumatua and kuia and local school-aged children engaging with the environment that provided the benchmark for success.
“The kaupapa is just beautiful. We had people discussing rongoa Maori along the track, we had children picking up rubbish as they walked. We had a crew dive for kuta, we heard kuia break into song. It was truly a community celebrating being a community,” says Healthy Families Far North manager Shirleyanne Brown.

far-north-hikoiThe change we are noticing and what’s enabled it
One of the huge changes to come out of Pipiwharauroa was post-settlement, inter-iwi collective impact on a positive kaupapa wrapped around hauora Maori. The hikoi set the foundations for relationships to continue to grow in strength and proved that the silo mentality can be broken where there is the will.

What we have learned
In retrospect, I see the walk as the beginnings to iwi-led development that brings together the community through an expression of kaitiakitanga for our environment, manaakitanga of each those we hold most dear – our young and our old – and aroha for both.

What happens now
Ngai Takoto have taken on host responsibility to make the hikoi an annual event and we have been approached by Ngati Kuri in the furthermost reaches of the Far North to replicate a similar initiative with the community in the North Cape area. The invitation to work with another iwi that is passionate about sharing and championing their assets is exciting and the epitome of people taking on the opportunity to connect in the most poignant way.

More info on the Healthy Families Initiative: http://www.healthyfamilies.govt.nz/