November 15, 2023

Whakauae PhD students present at Healing Our Spirits 2023

Whakauae PhD students present at Healing Our Spirits 2023

Whakauae’s PhD students Kiri Parata and Tom Johnson presented their research at the Healing Our Spirits Worldwide (HOSW) Ninth gathering conference in Vancouver BC, Canada in September 2023. Held on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, the conference was hosted by The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

Thousands of Indigenous leaders and medical experts from all corners of the globe came together at this worldwide gathering to honour and spread the healing ancestral wisdom of their Indigenous traditions from their whenua. Knowledge sharing among Indigenous peoples from all around the world was highlighted during this meeting, opening the doors to potentiality for transformative change.

Whilst Tom spent most of the time hunting for narratives and rītenga on Indigenous Tāne, there was an incredible showcase of our mahi in-action from our home Islands of Aotearoa. Our Ngāti Hauiti uri Meretini Bennett-Huxtable presented alongside Rebecca Davis (Ngāti Hei, Ngāti Porou ki Harataunga, Ngāti Tamatera Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) on how a relational systems approach to Tūpuna intelligence (TI) can grow collective wellbeing in our communities. Kiri Parata (Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāi Tahu) presented her PhD research on Waipunahau showcasing how whānau connections to whenua and their wellbeing can occur on a whānau landblock on the Kāpiti coast. She shared how she was conducting her research, exploring how contemporary expressions of ūkaipō nurture whānau wellbeing, which was well received by the audience.

Tom presented a tweaked version of his Tāne Māori wellbeing methodology- an awa led methodology, which he had shared previously with whānau at Pūtiki Marae at Te Atawhai o te Ao’s ‘He Pounga Waihoe nā ō Mātua’ symposium. His presentation introduced a move to place-based, rohe-specific research drawn from kōrero tuku iho of Te Awa Tupua, providing an example of how to put conceptual mātauranga into action in a research methodology. This means including voices beyond the human into the research, including rivers and mountains as living ancestors. Putting conceptual kōrero tuku iho (ancestral wisdom) into practise as a research methodology, Tom shared back how his aspirations to study the rītenga (rituals) of Tāne Māori of Te Awa Tupua began by deeply considering the epistemological roots of Tupua Te Kawa. Tom returned to Aotearoa brimming with enthusiasm for the mātauranga which already exists at home, coded into our own whenua, kōrero tuku iho, mahi toi, rongoā and rītenga.

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