Traditional Māori games help intellectually disabled

By Eru Paranihi
  • Auckland

Traditional Māori games have been introduced to a group of intellectually disabled people from Te Rōpū Taurima in the hope to promote well-being. The group worked alongside He Oranga Poutama to run a sports day.

On a warm summer morning, many who turned out to Mount Fort park in Manurewa were thriving under a Kaupapa Māori concept.

Te Roopu Taurima spokesperson Tanya Kaihe says, “It is important that we carry that theme through. Not only in their daily life, but in fun, in play, and where they work. Today is one of those days that we're joining all our Māori games together and just having fun with our Tangata.”

The idea to introduce traditional Māori games was thought of by health organisation He Oranga Poutama.

“There were a lot of people involved in the discussions for this event. It was set up by us for the benefit of this group of intellectually disabled people,” says Takoha Ropati from He Oranga Poutama.  

More than fifty people turned out today for this event with organisers believing that there benefits to learning these Māori games.

“Some of the games like Mū Tōrere are great for developing strategy,” Ropati.

“They've particularly enjoyed the Poi because I think that's something that develops hand-eye coordination,” says Kaihe.

Today, many of the participants got to try Ki-o-Rahi, Poi, and Mū Tōrere. For many, it was their first time playing these games.

“What we're here for is whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, just to have some fun and be together in our community and have some Christmas cheer,” says  

With the success of today’s event, organisers are likely to continue this concept of introducing Māori games to intellectually disabled in the new year.