Re-opening your centre using tikanga Māori

Information last updated 8 May 2020

Te Ara o Te Aukati – Te Whakatūwhera i raro i te taumata whakatūpato tuarua.

Re-opening Playcentre at level 2 Covid-19 using tikanga Māori


Ahakoa he iti te matakahi, ka pakaru i a ia te tōtara

Although the wedge is small, it overcomes the tōtara tree (meaning: A little effort applied properly can achieve good results)

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou e Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aoteroa. He pānui tēnei hei arahi i te whānau e whakahoki anō rā ki te whakatūwhera i ngā wahi ako me ngā wāhi mahi i raro i te taumata whakatūpato tuarua. Ko ēnei kōrero e whai ake i te ara aukati he tohutohu ka hikitia te rāhui i te hokinga atu ki tō rātau whare kōhungahunga. Kei waenganui i te whānau kua taunga kē ētahi o rātau ki ēnei tikanga Māori, heoi anō ki te kore e waia atu ki ngā tikanga anei koa he ara tohutohu mā koutou e tautoko atu. Mēna he hiahia nāu ētahi āwhina me pā atu ki ngā kaimahi Māori o Te Ao Māori.

The information in this pānui is a brief tikanga guide for centres returning to their place of learning and place of work under the COVID-19 level 2. The following guide will support centres wishing to use tikanga Māori to return to their learning environment. Amongst the whānau there will be those already familiar with customary Māori concepts like these, however for other whānau unfamiliar please use the following guide to help you. If you require more support or help make contact with the Te Ao Māori Field Worker in your region. Their contact details are below.


Aukati or Rāhui

The terms ‘aukati’ or ‘rāhui’ are Māori customary concepts used for generations to reflect the Māori terms of restriction, temporary closure or prohibition of a specific area. These concepts have been used by the New Zealand government to describe the COVID-19 lockdown.

As part of our approach to tikanga we recommend whānau give some thought on how they are going to return to their learning environment. Māori tikanga is an appropriate way for whānau to reclaim the learning space after a term of absence. The use of karakia, mihimihi, waiata and kai will enable the shared values of whanāungatanga and kotahitanga between mokopuna and mātua to have greater significance. Therefore this is what we recommend centres use as part of your first gathering on your return physically and spritually to the learning space or work environment.


  1. Gather as a whānau with all the mokopuna in a circle in the learning space;
  2. Begin with Karakia – Whakataka Te Hau recite as a karakia and if you wish you can sing as a waiata check out the link attached below;
  3. Following karakia a brief mihi or welcome by a speaker/s to those gathered, perhaps a variation could be to open up to the whānau gathered to mihi as well;
  4. In support of the mihi, sing the waiata Purea Nei check on the link attached below;
  5. As part of the final process share kai or morning tea to complete the lifting of the aukati with a karakia or blessing before kai. Please note: If you would like to have a shared kai get-together, please ensure at this time the “shared” refers to the group experience, rather than the food. At this point it is important that tamariki and whānau eat the food they have brought themselves, or individual portions provided by the Centre. Make sure that tamariki and adults are not sharing cups, cutlery, plates, etc.



Click on the You Tube link:

Waiata – Purea Nei nā Hirini Melborne

Click on the You Tube link Purea Nei:

Karakia mō te kai

Click on the You Tube link for karakia kai:


Mihi – here are some ideas (this is only a guide)

  • To acknowledge the coming back together, the kaupapa, the people, the space. e.g. The work space/building
  • Acknowledging the rāhui
  • The efforts of kaimahi/whānau in working together to protect the health and safety of all people in Aotearoa against Covid 19
  • Inspiration and kotahitanga – pathways going forward include whakataukī


Te Ao Māori Field Worker contact details:

Keri Milich           09 415 3321        email to: [email protected]

Jean Yern             09 838 8849      email to: [email protected]

Faith Tupou        020 401 28678   email to: [email protected]

Erana Rattray     03 377 2540        email to: [email protected]

Sasha Harbott                                    email to: [email protected]