Matariki, Health and WellbeingBy Mereana Selby, Tumuaki, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
Ngā Purapura and the Kawa Oranga programme
Celebrations amongst Māori and indeed the nation have begun to herald the rise of the constellation known as Matariki upon our dawn sky.
The appearance of Matariki signals the Māori New Year and provides the opportunity to reflect on past activities whilst turning our attention and energies to the year ahead.
With Ngā Purapura, our state-of-the art facility for Māori lifestyle advancement in full operation, there is no better time to reassess where we are placed both individually and collectively in terms of our health and well-being. The name Ngā Purapura is a reference to successive generations of whānau, hapū and iwi and is the culmination of a long held vision and desire to engage Māori in sustainable lifelong exercise and wellbeing.
Kawa Oranga programme
Our Kawa Oranga three-year degree programme is a specialist qualification in exercise science with a platform based on our kaupapa and tikanga. We also offer a Poupou Pākari Tinana certificate for those who are looking for an introduction to the fundamentals of well-being. This year for the first time, we have been able to deliver the entire programme on campus within Ngā Purapura which has been a fantastic asset for our students.
Demand for participation in these two programmes is growing, with our largest ever year one intake this year seeing us running at full capacity. It is a good sign that Māori have the desire to explore and contribute to the mātauranga Māori continuum in the area of health promotion and lifestyle advancement.
As well as housing our educational programmes, Ngā Purapura boasts some of the finest facilities in the wider Kāpiti region including two multi-purpose indoor sports courts with grandstand seating for up to 540 spectators, a resistance and cardiovascular exercise room serviced with state of the art equipment, showers and ablutions, as well as a cafe serving various healthy kai and drink options.
One of the many positive spinoffs we have experienced since the opening of Ngā Purapura has been the expression of whanaungatanga through engagement with the wider community.
It has been wonderful to see many strands of the local community enjoying the social netball competition that has run every Wednesday evening.
Likewise, the increase in gym memberships from within the local community has provided the opportunity for those who may not have interacted with Te Wānanga o Raukawa previously to become familiar and comfortable within our space here. Whilst current health statistics for Māori are concerning they are by no means irreversible.
We need not look any further than our tupuna whose active lifestyles, physical prowess and mental strength provide the templates for a positive model of Māori health. It is with these role models in mind that I encourage each of us this Māori New Year to seek some change in our lives, small or large, with the goal of an advancement in lifestyle and a commitment to increased health and wellbeing.