The Lincoln University Māori and Pasifika Development team, Te Manutaki, are hosting an event for school students from across the country this week to promote the importance of mahika kai.
A key part of Kāi Tahu identity, mahika kai refers to the gathering of foods and other resources, paying particular attention to the places where they are gathered and the practices used in doing so.
The event, called a Taiohi Mahika Kai Wānaka, is funded by the Ministry of Youth Development and focuses on harvesting māra crops, replanting māra and considering how to contribute to community māra.
Run in collaboration with Te Rūnanga Koukourarata, the Wānaka includes a four-day stay at Tūtehuarewa Marae, with day trips to key mahika kai sites for activities focused on planting, cultivating, and harvesting.
The wider practices of mahika kai are incorporated to increase taiohi confidence in these areas and revitalise Māori innovation and sovereignty.
The group are taking part in replanting winter crops and harvesting vegetables for kai at the marae, developing new tāpapa for new crops, as well as learning how to start māra kai (gardens) in their homes. Additionally, they will build taiki (mussel gardens) and discover methods for identifying, harvesting and cooking kaimoana.
Riparian planting activities focus on supporting water quality, with participants learning about the symbiotic importance of fresh water, land and its ecosystems and takutai moana.
The group are also learning about the cultivation of kūmara in Te Waipounamu.
Visits to Katawahu (Le Bons Bay) and Wakaroa (Pigeon Bay) will allow the students to learn about the history of the area and mahika kai activities in the locality.
The Wānaka is part of a continuing focus on mahika kai, following Lincoln’s inaugural Hui Taumata Taiohi Summit in 2018 and the Mahika Kai Conference in 2019.
It takes place from Wednesday 30 September until Saturday 3 October.