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The dynamics of Whanaungatanga-Te Ao o te Tangata

Te Raki Pae Whanau Support & Counselling Centre
C/o 124 College Road

Telephone (09) 489-4767 Fax (09) 489-5190

The following is an abstract of the Workshop provided at the Children and Family Interventions Conference: 4 July 1999.

The title of the Workshop:

' Te Ao o Te Tangata' reflects a Maori perspective of the Principles associated to the Human Person, and relate to aspects of the Whakatauki:

" He tangata, he tangata, he tangata "

The workshop demonstrated a framework of seven principles reflecting commonly used concepts. Whilst these concepts are commonly used, their deliberation are often limited to their English translation perception.

Workshop Objectives:

The objective endeavour to broaden participants understanding, by re-interpreting the concept to its tuturu perception as kupu Maori, giving meaning to the concept in its holistic reflection of being Maori; having the ability to maximise their links re;

tangata mana-tangata

whenua mana-whenua

atua        mana-atua

Workshop Aims:

The aim of the dow workshop presents a provocative viewpoint; of te ao o te Maori, not at providing a frame of reference for practitioners to emulate but at suggesting ways to move beyond current patterns of thinking into a more holistic framework.

There is a trend within the provision of programmes for Family Violence offenders of maintaining the punitive approach to rehabilitate change. There needs to be a more holistic process to addressing family violence, that is a restorative therapy that can bring about healing. Such a therapy may be the first real care and kindness that the offender have experienced.

Dynamics of Whanaungatanga:

The workshop illustrate the concept of whanaungatanga, which is fundamental to being Maori. It presented the concept both in its micro and macro perceptions. The micro perception of whanaungatanga, expresses the kinship links and their relationships within ; whanau, hapu, iwi.

Te tapu i te tangata Te tapu i te whenua

The macro perception, stresses a broadening or maximising of these relationships, emphasises the 'nga' as in ta-nga-ta and whanau-nga-tanga, enabling a person to reach their potential.

The effect of this maximisation or maramatanga ( understanding ) enables a person to develop new beliefs about one's Self plus their ability to effect change, within the Self and within their relationship with others. An expression of their tapu and experienced by others as mana.


This sense of empowering not only enables a person to discover the true Self but also enables a person to transcend the sanctuary of their cultural ties and participate effectively on a universal perspective.

A primary focus of the dow workshop is to provide some insight into te ao o te Maori plus to provide an answer to the two fundamental issues that are foremost on most peoples minds, and which are relevant to all peoples culture:

"Who am I, and where do I come from?" "Na wai koe, no hea koe?"

"What is cause, and what is effects?" "E aha nga hua, o nga take?"


Facilitator; Malcolm M Peri is the manager of Te Raki Pae Whanau Support & Counselling Centre: North Shore Auckland. He is a counsellor and co-ordinator for the organisation's Family Violence Prevention FVP Programme plus the Bi-cultural Therapy Model BTM run in the two Auckland prisons.

The basis of the Whanau Support Centre's counselling practices and programmes are drawn from the dow framework; Te ao o te Tangata.

Malcolm is the co-founder of the Dynamics of Whanaungatanga Programme. The dow programme was founded in 1992, gained status as an Iwi Authorised Whanau Development Programme and in 1993 and was contracted in 1994 by CFA as the Taitokerau approved training programme to prepare Iwi for Level 1a; Iwi Social Service Status.

The Dow Frame