Raniera Hauraki Watene is feeling re-energised, and he’s hoping to share that feeling.
The 23-year-old has a passion for re-telling stories – not just any stories, but rather those unique to Tairāwhiti, Ngāti Porou and Aotearoa. He’s even written a couple of children’s books and is teaming up with an artist friend from EIT’s Toihoukura to see the project through to completion.
“I love to re-tell stories that have come through my whānau and from EIT’s Te Whatakura to revive the stories like Maui and others. Our children need to grow up with a good understanding of Māori and te kaupapa Māori,” says the graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Māori) who is returning this year to complete his honours degree.
“I realised after being at Te Whatakura for the last three years, I didn’t want to go anywhere else… it is the best place in the world to be.
The staff are just wicked – the way they plan and teach is amazing.”
The whānau concept of Te Whatakura is another big plus.
“The kotahitanga and manaakitanga makes it an great place to be.”
Raniera, who hails from Tokomaru Bay, grew up in a home where te reo was the first language, and while he doesn’t have any of his own children just yet, he says his home
will do just the same. He’s working to further his education of the Ngāti Porou dialect and learn more about the features that are
prominent in Tairāwhiti.
“I want to learn everything about my cultural heritage.”
The stories he has written talk about historic features of the region, and he is hoping on completion of his honours degree there will be an opportunity to publish them.
His education plan doesn’t end with his honours either – Raniera plans to complete a teaching degree he started earlier.
“Once you start learning, you can never get enough,” he says.
So while he is very much about education, he is also keen to inspire.
“That’s what it is all about isn’t it,” he says.
“Giving back to the people.” Also on his big plan are children’s programmes in te reo, or maybe even a movie.
When not writing stories or studying, Raniera plays bass and sings in the six-piece reggae band – “With a Twist of Māori” – called MTI (Move the Iwi).
“I love it,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, and hopefully it does motivate a few people.”