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Day 4 of WIPCE

Fourth and last day of WIPCE workshops

Today was the last opportunity we had to attend presentations as tomorrow we head out to visit the community and then have the closing ceremony.

I dragged myself away from Aotearoa workshops and attended one form Australia and from Sweden…having said that, my two favourites of the day were yet again, from Aotearoa.


Whānau transformation through indigenous values based education and leadership’ by Bentham Ohia, CEO of Te Wananga o Aotearoa. 


This was the keynote for the day and it was fantastic.  Bentham is a dynamic and passionate presenter, like many others I have had the privilege of viewing.  He is the youngest CEO of any tertiary provider in New Zealand and has been doing an exceptional job, as many will attest to.

Bentham talked about what TWoA are doing to promote indigenous values based education and leadership in Aotearoa and overseas.  He shared the journey of how TWoA have developed close ties to AIO-Americans for Indian Opportunity and how in turn, they established AMO-Advancement for Māori Opportunity.  These 2 organisations have a reciprocal and beneficial relationship, with exchanges and sharing of knowledge and resources.  They also have a shared commitment to supporting indigenous education around the world, most recently travelling to Bolivia and meeting with President Evo Morales.  Bentham spoke extremely highly of the President and praised his support of indigenous education,  sharing a fabulous quote from the President, “I am not a communist, I am not a socialist – I am indigenous!”


Kawa Oranga: Māori lifestyle advancement through exercise, sport and health’ by Isaac Warbrick, of Te Wananga o Raukawa. 

 This was the last workshop I attended, and a great way to finish.  I chose this workshop because of my concern about the health of our indigenous people.  The statistics of Māori health are shocking and at times disturbing and it was a pleasant surprise to see a workshop dedicated to this kaupapa.

Isaac is a lecturer at  Te Wananga o Raukawa where he heads the programme Kawa Oranga.  This programme is designed with Māori in mind, by Māori and for Māori. 

Obesity related illnesses disproportionately affect indigenous people throughout the 
world. While these illnesses are regarded as physical disorders, they also impact on
psychological, spiritual and family wellbeing. A physically active lifestyle is associated
with a reduced risk of developing these illnesses. What’s more, physical activity has a
positive effect on aspects of psychological, spiritual and social wellbeing. Thus, exercise
and sport could prove a valuable tool in enhancing Māori wellbeing, and the wellbeing of
other indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, in accordance with Māori aspirations for
tinorangatiratanga (self-determination), initiatives aimed at increasing Māori
participation in exercise and sport will only be successful if programs are led by Māori
and incorporate Māori perspectives in their design. Recently, the Institute of Māori
Lifestyle Advancement (IMLA) was established to enhance research and build
knowledge in aspects of sport, exercise and health with a focus on Māori wellbeing. The
flagship degree of IMLA, the Kawa Oranga degree, incorporates curriculum from
exercise physiology, sport psychology, sociology, nutrition and health. While kaupapa
Māori values inform all aspects of design and delivery of the Kawa Oranga degree,
students are also taught to utilize a Māori approach when applying this knowledge. The
aim of this degree is to develop a Māori workforce capable of applying Māori
perspectives to all areas of sport, exercise and health. This qualification, located at the
interface between indigenous and scientific knowledge, is the first of its kind and
provides a model to be used or built upon in other institutions and among other
indigenous groups

I loved how Isaac threw out the challenge to each of us, having a healthy mind, body and spirit is our own responsibility.  We have to look after ourselves and our whānau, there is no quick fix but the answer is simple - eat healthy, exercise often. It's not rocket science huh.  I'm going to work hard on this Isaac...as soon as I get home to NZ!  Look how great an example of healthy eating Isaac sets, here he is indulging in the local kai, Guinea Pig hmmmm!


Check out Isaac’s blog devoted to promoting a healthy lifestyle through the use of sport and exercise -http://www.exerciseisthebest.com/