Our tūpuna can help us raise rangatira

Mum, Dad, 2 kids at the beach together. Mama, papa, whānau at the beach

Kia ora, e te whānau,

Kei te pēhea koe? Kei te pēhea tō whānau? 2023 has been full of challenges so far, from floods to storms and now to some particularly cold weeks. Whānau life is always challenging and changing too – this parenting mahi is hard, nē rā?

Have you thought about why we parent the way we do? What influences us and triggers us?

Our biggest influence is our own upbringing. Our childhood was effectively years of training in how to treat pēpi and tamariki. That can be a lot to reflect on, but we can look forward and choose to parent differently, if that’s what you want to do.

There’s a beautiful whakataukī that says,

“Nau i whatu te kākahu, he tāniko taku
You weave the cloak and I the border”

The cloak, the kākahu itself, is the main part of the garment that keeps you warm. The border, the tāniko, adds strength and decoration to the cloak. Don’t get me wrong, the cloak is already strong and beautiful, but the tāniko adds to that.

Our pēpi and tamariki are the kākahu. They are little people with their own mana, their own strengths, their own beauty.

We are the border, the tāniko – the parents, the whānau and the others who impact on their lives. We have an important role to make that kākahu the best it can be.

The tāniko, the parents and whānau, needs to be woven securely to the kākahu, our pēpi and tamariki. We need to be strong *and* add to the strength of our pēpi and tamariki. We need to be beautiful *and* add to their beauty. This is a tūpuna parenting way.

Thinking about your whānau then – go be the best tāniko you can for your pēpi and tamariki.

How do we do that? Be mana-enhancing in everything you do and say. 

  • Smile at them when you see them and give them a warm hug and a kiss.
  • Or.. ask them about their day, listen to their story and have a kōrero about it. They’ll love sharing with you.
  • Or… tell them they did well at something like if they built a rocket car with their lego, did a great drawing or got a complement from their teacher.

Try to say more good things to them than bad things, and watch them grow stronger and more beautiful in front of you. I hope it’ll make you feel stronger and more beautiful too.

So take a big breath – you’re doing great, e te whānau.

Mum, Dad, 2 kids at the beach together. Mama, papa, whānau at the beach

The Tūpuna Parenting movement is a systems change approach. By sharing tūpuna parenting ways we are looking to inspire widespread change using our tūpuna as role models, encouraging whānau to parent in more gentle and respectful ways, leading to generational change as their tamariki will raise their whānau that way in the future also.

This learning journey is a collaboration between your whānau and mine, between your organisation and myself. We’ll be on this journey together to improve whānau wellbeing for you and for your community.

Ngā mihi mahana,