Chiefs Manawa players Tanya Kalounivale, Ruby Tui and Bitila Tawake joined the pōwhiri for the opening of the newest kura for 20 years in Tāmaki Makaurau early this morning in Papakura, South Auckland.
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“We’ve come here to tautoko the kaupapa of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Papaonekura,” Tui says.
She says they had a couple of schools on the list today. “Number one is right here in Papakura so we’re here and we’re happy.”
Team members also did their bit to get the school ready to help out one of their teammates and her husband, the principal.
Fijiana Drua captain and Chiefs Manawa player Bitila Tawake says their collective effort and hard work as a team to get the school ready for its official opening ceremony was worthwhile.
“We just did a lot of cleaning up of the yards, water blasting, and I think the first time we came here we were cleaning up the gates.
“When we came this morning we saw our hard work that we put towards this school. It means a lot not just to us but also to Ian and Arihiana Marino-Haunu.”
Tui acknowledged the hard work put in by their fellow Chiefs Manawa teammate and Black Ferns player Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu (Te Uri Taniwha, Ngāti Hineira, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tāhuhu) and tumuaki (principal) Matua Ian Marino-Tauninu (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa).
“Matua and Arihiana are very good friends of ours. I don’t think everybody realises how much they do. Mātua here, the principal, he has organised everything.
Last year they took their application for the school so, to watch their journey, has been amazing.”
“Te ataahua o te ao Māori (the beauty of te Ao Māori) and Arihiana teaches us that everyday”.
Tui says Arihiana encourages them to kōrero in their own reo (language) from around Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific ocean).
‘Learning experience every day'
“She talks to us about how we’re from Fiji and Samoa, right, but we try to kōrero Māori when we’re here in Aotearoa.
She talks about that’s what her tūpuna wanted, not just the Māori kōrero but everybody here in Aotearoa, so we try to bring that into our team and try and tautoko where we can.”
Tawake said she is enjoying “the new changes, the new environment and just learning a lot from here and taking it back home. It means a lot to be part of this culture as well. It’s a learning experience for me every day.”
She said this is new for Māori and Aotearoa “so, we’re kind of blessed to be on this journey with them”.
Chiefs Manawa tighthead prop and Black Ferns player, Tanya Kalounivale says that being present for the opening was a first time experience and the mana could be felt.
“If you have any chance to speak your mother tongue, please do, because it’s very important. You’ve got to speak it and also think it.”
Hero Image: Tanya Kalounivale, Ruby Tui and Bitila Tawake share their experience on helping support the opening of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Papaonekura Source: Te Ao News