Aneta Morgan believes the resurgence of mātauranga Māori practices and age-old traditions can be the solution to many of the world’s problems.
Aneta is the team lead of Rotorua Lakes Council’s Te Amorangi Unit and a member of Healthy Families Rotorua’s Senior Leadership Group (SLG). She was invited to join the SLG because of her role at the council and as an active member of her iwi community.
“I wear both hats so having those two perspectives enabled me to be of service to the group. Primarily though, the whole kaupapa around mātauranga Māori is something I’m passionate about,” says Aneta.
She says she is keen to be part of anything that drives, elevates, and promotes mātauranga Māori.
“Tūpuna knowledge is derived from intense observations of the cause and effect of interactions between sky, earth, and the elements of nature. It’s knowledge developed over multiple generations that guides the way in which humankind interacts with the natural world. It holds the key to the solutions for this and future generations. That’s what mātauranga Māori is for me.
“The fact that Healthy Families Rotorua is a team of young proactive Māori driving all of this mahi is really amazing because it’s creating leaders for the future. Often rangatahi Māori don’t get an opportunity to be involved in the operational part. Healthy Families Rotorua is not only elevating mātauranga Māori but creating a pathway of leadership for Te Arawa.”
Aneta is strongly connected to her marae and tries to live her life following mātauranga Māori values.
“There’s such a disconnect between our people and our communities, and whānau, hapū and iwi. So, bringing mātauranga Māori back to a place where we learnt those values and principles is going to make us stronger for the future.”
She is delighted that people are embracing Māori systems return, most recently Matariki. She is part of the working group responsible for delivering the inaugural Matariki civic ceremony to Rotorua, including a traditional umu kohukohu whetū.
The group includes representatives from Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Uenukukopako, Ngā Pou ō Whakapoungakau, Healthy Families Rotorua, Te Tatau o Te Arawa, Rotorua Lakes Council, and Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust.
“I’ve been amazed at the amount of interest, not only from Māori but from non-Māori, to understand what Matariki is all about. People are examining the values system, the mātauranga, the thought patterns, and age-old traditions that Māori once practiced.
“We’re now reviving it and there has been a resurgence in that mātauranga. People are actually getting it. They’re understanding the value in that knowledge, the beauty in the kōrero, and starting to apply it in their own lives.”
Aneta acknowledges the mahi Healthy Families Rotorua lead systems innovator, Pirihira Whata, has undertaken to get the Matariki civic ceremony off the ground.
“Piri has done an amazing job to get the amount of engagement she has right across Te Arawa. She went far and wide, with support from Healthy Families Rotorua, to touch every corner and turn every stone in our community to ensure people were given the opportunity to contribute to what Matariki might look like for Te Arawa in 2022.
“As a result, the kaupapa has come together really well, and we now see hapū and iwi groupings taking responsibility for different parts of the dawn ceremony. That in itself, is strengthening the tikanga and kawa around Matariki for those hapū and iwi. While the rest of us have also been able to grow our own understanding and knowledge.
“Matariki is just an example of what Healthy Families Rotorua has been doing in this community for some time now. And we know that when the kaupapa is right, people will support it, and be happy with it,” says Aneta.