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Waka Ama programme is about embracing te ao Māori, says new EIT tutor

July 21, 2022

Ron Nuku, a Waka Ama competitor herself, is looking forward to EIT’s new NZ Certificate in Tikanga (Waka Ama) [Level 3] programme. Here she is in action (right, foreground) with her daughter Puhiwahine (left).

Roni Nuku (Ngāti Maniapoto) has been associated with EIT for many years, but now the former Te Ūranga Waka student is excited to be tutoring a new Waka Ama programme that she says is about embracing te ao Māori.

The free, Te Pōkaitahi Tikanga (Waka Ama) [NZ Certificate in Tikanga (Waka Ama)]Level 3 programme is delivered flexibly with weekly night classes and three weekend wānanga over 17 weeks.

Roni, who graduated with a BA (Māori) from EIT in 2013, having done a Diploma of Sports & Therapeutic Massage at EIT in 2005, is thrilled to be teaching others about the sport she loves.

“This qualification is for people who want to develop some understanding of tikanga within a specialist field based on a Māori world view.”

“They will learn about Waka Ama, , but they will learn te reo me ōna tikanga, fitness and wellbeing for all ages, and health and safety.

The programme will also examine the history of waka ama, practical learning of paddling technique, safety procedures and living a healthy lifestyle.

This programme is offered at various locations.  Roni says this offering is  being held off campus in Central Hawke’s Bay because there is a group of participants all from that area. Water sessions will vary from Pandora Pond to Central Hawke’s Bay.

“This is a good time to teach this programme because we can do the groundwork in winter, and then we get to go play and learn on the water in the summer.”

Apart from her qualifications from EIT, Roni also has a Diploma in Sports Science from the University of Otago and a Postgraduate Teaching Diploma from Victoria University of Wellington.

She has been a teacher at Napier Girls’ High for a number of years but has put that aside to focus on becoming a Master in Māori Knowledge from Massey University. Her thesis will be on Māori Women Para-athletes.

Added to her academic career, Roni has a rich pedigree in Waka Ama, having represented New Zealand at a number of World Championships, where she has won gold.

“What I like about Waka is that it connects me to Atua Māori. Being on Tangaroa is a beautiful feeling. It’s connection and respect.”

“I like the element of working in a team. I’ve been fortunate to be in a very successful team, a women’s team, and we challenge ourselves and we push each other. It’s a nurturing atmosphere to be in. That’s why I’ve got such an interest in Māori para-athletes because I think there’s such an amazing avenue for women with disability.”