Te Mauri tū
Te Mauri ora

Kia tau mai te mauri tū , te mauri ora is part of the karakia ‘Tūtawa mai’ and invokes the settling between the quiet, still, introverted and the contrasting flourishing, noisy extroverted expressions of mauri.

In this instance the two tūpuna maunga of Parihaka and Manaia, in Whangārei,  are the embodiment of these two introverted and extroverted energetic, expressions of mauri.

This project will be a focus on the relationship of these two tūpuna maunga, their connections to water, people, taonga pūoro, Pōhutukawa, Kauri, Pūpūrangi (kauri snails) and birds via the vibrant sound and energy emmisions of the maunga expressed as changing mauri states.

Through group interaction in the forest, via Taonga Puoro sound creation, deep listening and tākaro (Māori games for developing higher learning states), we will bring people into the ngahere, to retune our inner rongo, that is, the sensory perceptions of hearing, touch , smell, taste and sight, so we can attune to the pulsating mauri tū and mauri ora.

This will be done as a sound journey pepeha, following the cycle of wai as it leaves Ranginui’s tear ducts and hits the top of the maunga and cascades down, to us humans. Ko wai koe? Ae, Ko wai au!

This will be the framework to relay to the people, the current messages around Kauri and Pōhutukawa and their current health status in the rohe of Whangārei.

This will be to help drive the required behaviour that science and matauranga māori have identified we need in this rohe, to help reduce the risks and make better outcomes happen for our Rākau Rangatira.

• See Below: Mauri Tū Mauri OraA short documentary film created by Dan Nathan in collaboration with Kelly Kahukiwa. "Hokia te waoku kia purea ai  – Return to the forest and be restored".

Mauri Tū Mauri Ora

A short documentary film created by Dan Nathan in collaboration with Kelly Kahukiwa.

Hokia te waoku kia purea ai  – Return to the forest and be restored.

“A passionate indigenous artist strives to re-awaken a deeper conversation with the natural world. Māori musician Kelly Kahukiwa is on a mission to re-vitalise 'Taonga Pūoro' traditional Māori instruments, raise awareness of threats to forest health, and foster enduring, inter-generational connections with 'Te Taiao' (natural world environments) in the Whangārei area of Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa (Northland, New Zealand). His approach is informed by mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge systems) and a deep affinity for the unique indigenous flora and fauna of Aotearoa (New Zealand).”

The concept for this film evolved over a couple of years via conversations between close friends Kelly and Dan.

They had been exploring ideas for a project based around mātauranga Māori, plant intelligence, and the reinvigoration of a rhythmic language inside of taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments) traditions. In 2019 Dan and Kelly attended a symposium about kauri health in Waipoua Forest (Dan’s papakāinga / homeland), home of the last remaining giant kauri trees, hosted by mana whenua Te Roroa and The Kauri Project. Also attending were the academics and ‘artivists’ who would eventually form the Toi Taiao Whakatairanga initiative; a cross-disciplinary research project, bringing together arts, science and te āo Māori to raise awareness of threats to the health of our ngahere/forests.

Toi Taiao Whakatairanga approached Dan to be a contributing artist (www.tupufilms.com). Kelly was also asked to develop a project which led to a series of wānanga. Dan was asked to film the project and create a film to document these wānanga – an opportunity to incorporate some of the ideas previously discussed into a single project.

Kelly and Dan are Māori and the themes explored in this film are very close to their hearts. “I personally wanted to bring to the screen my strong conviction that ecological issues such as the ones discussed in the film are always a result of ‘broken thinking’ and ‘wrong action’ on the part of humans. The prevailing ‘extractive’ and ‘unconscious’ mindset of modern life is at the root of these problems.” Dan Nathan

For Dan and Kelly, this film represents a convergence of important themes; mātauranga Māori, sound and music, environmental and social justice, and the exploration of indigenous creativity in new mediums.

Mauri Tū Mauri Ora
A short documentary film created by Dan Nathan in collaboration with Kelly Kahukiwa.
"Hokia te waoku kia purea ai  – Return to the forest and be restored"
NB: Closed Captions are available on this video.

Kelly Kahukiwa’s artistic practice spans a wide range of contemporary and traditional forms including taonga whakairo and taonga pūoro. He is an experienced performer and cultural teacher who explores and exhibits his sound and visual arts practice across a wide range of contexts. In addition, he has over twenty years of experience working in roles in intercultural mediation, cultural consciousness building, urban marae leadership and operational management. 

Kelly initiated Te Reo Ngaro o te Rākau as a way to reconnect people back into the native bush environment, using indigenous research methods and scientific listening devices, on a range of native tree species. Listening to tree audio emissions at ultra-frequencies may unlock extra clues to behaviour in native species during events, including drought, water uptake, chronobiological cycles, seasonal variations and invasive pathogen crises. 

Kelly will continue his research, searching for rhythmic communications/interactions between the Ngā that is breathed from Ngahere and Maunga, to re-find forgotten pathways to connect us back into the essence of the sonics of pepeha, via Te Orokohanga, the essence of the sound of creation.

Next article
Tanya Ruka
Kaimanāki o te Ngahere