Topic: Te Reo Māori

Project Pepeha sees non-Māori participating in Māori customs

By Regan Paranihi
  • Auckland
Project Pepeha is teaching Chinese, Samoa communities te reo - Image / Auckland Arts Festival

A group of people from the Chinese and Samoan community in South Auckland have taken part in a diverse initiative called Project Pepeha. This initiative was designed to get more non-Māori involved in Māori culture and coincides with the Auckland Arts Festival. 

This initiative has been a four-week journey where participants took part in weekly wānanga to engage in workshops to learn and understand what their pepeha is.

Event organiser, Kayne Peters says, “Chinese and Samoan whānau who have been a part of Project Pepeha have been learning the tikanga behind the pepeha and how it fits into their own whakapapa and their own hononga to how it fits into their whenua their maunga, their moana and to their whānau.”

Project Pepeha teaching Chinese, Samoa communities te reo - Image / Auckland Arts Festival

Julie Zhu, who is the event organiser as well, says this initiative connects these communities to the Māori world.

“Project Pepeha was designed to teach Māori language to people from the Chinese and Samoan communities.”

Peters says this initiative is an avenue to revive the connections between the Māori, Chinese and Samoan communities.

“I believe this initiative weaves the ties our ancestors have already created in the past with the Chinese, Pacific, and Samoan people.”

Zhu says for these students the language is what ties them to the land.

“If they learn the language they will understand the Māori worldview. If New Zealand is your home you should learn the language, your whakapapa, and your pepeha. You have to know where you are from.”