Manaaki at the heart of mahinga kai
Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is a Ngāi Tahu tribal taonga/treasure. It is a major mahinga kai and an important source of mana to Ngāi Tahu.
Food and resource gathering at Te Waihora is as important today as it was for early Māori. Mahinga kai is the way resources are gathered, the places they are gathered from and the actual resources themselves. It also includes the customs practised in accordance with rangatiratanga/leadership, kaitiaki/guardianship and whakapapa/genealogy. By recognising, and continuing these traditional customs, mahinga kai ensures the continuation of traditional practices and the passing down of values to children and grandchildren.
At the heart of mahinga kai is manaaki, or looking after people – the quality and quantity of food whānau/family can produce is a reflection of mana/standing.
Ko ngā hau ki ētahi wāhi, ko ngā kai ki Orariki.
No matter which way the wind blows, you will always eat at the pā of Orariki, Taumutu.
Ngāi Tahu mahinga kai
Joseph Wakefield, Cultural Advisor for the production of “Ngāi Tahu Mahinga Kai”, a 12-part online series offering a window into the lives of Ngāi Tahu whānau and their ancestors says the ability to hunt and gather food from the land and sea is part of the Ngāi Tahu DNA.
“Mahinga kai defines us. It is who we are, hence the reason why it is so important to pass on this knowledge to our future generations.”
“Our tīpuna/ancestors moved and hunted with the seasons, from the mountains to the sea catching, preserving and trading kai. It’s our past, our present and it will be our future. Regardless of how our environment has changed, we have remained motivated in the continuation of our art and practice of mahinga kai.”