FRIDAY 24th FEBRUARY, 2023
Te Matatini internship strives to empower taiohi Māori
From the small East Coast settlement of Whāngārā to the biggest kapa haka festival in the world, Te Matatini intern Enoka Wehi (26) of Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea me Ngāi Tūhoe, has a mammoth task set out.
Over the past year he’s helped collate imagery for Te Matatini’s limited edition memoir He Tau Makuru, on sale at Te Matatini hub in the Te Matatini Festival Marketplace, as well as obtaining permissions from hundreds of kapa haka stars and judges to publicly use their festival photos.
“It kept me busy. The TM50 project in itself has been a big job. He Tau Makuru reflects on the memoirs of performers from over the past 50 years. There are up to 500 photos in there, and we sought approval from each person in the images, or from whānau of people in photos who have passed away. It’s a respectful system,” says Mr Wehi.
Mr Wehi is on work experience within the commercial arm of Te Matatini, Aotearoa Kapa Haka Limited (AKHL), which looks after the intellectual property interests of Te Matatini.
His AKHL internship is funded by the Government’s Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund – which was set up post-Covid to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to protect Māori knowledge and develop skills and employment pathways in the cultural sector for Māori. Covid disruptions in Auckland over the past three years and the opportunity to work for Te Matatini inspired Mr Wehi (whose parents are Annette and Tapeta Wehi, leaders of five-time champion kapa Te Waka Huia) to put his studies on hold for the time being.
“It’s Te Matatini. I couldn’t pass it up,” he says.
“I’ve gained a huge appreciation for the work behind the scenes. Before, I would buy my ticket and think nothing of it. But it’s been eye-opening to see how much mahi (work) goes on behind the scenes to get an event like Te Matatini off the ground.”
He encourages all taiohi (young people) Māori to consider applying at Te Matatini in the future.
“It will give rangatahi (young people) a taste of life beyond kura (school) or university. I’ve learned a lot with Te Matatini and AHKL, I enjoy working for our people and with a great team to deliver a nationally and internationally acclaimed kaupapa led by Māori for Māori as well as the rest of Aotearoa. It’s a nurturing environment that offers great opportunities including time talking to our haka stars and Te Matatini judges. So amazing,” says Mr Wehi.
Mr Wehi finishes his internship in April 2023 in time to resume his Bachelor in Science studies at University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau.
Providing internships to rangatahi Māori is a key focus in Te Matatini’s 10-year Strategic Plan, Pītau Whakarei, which aims to prepare youth members for tomorrow’s challenges, while sustaining a strong cultural identity that adds value to society.