Hui Fono Speakers

26–27 Hui-tanguru (February) 2020. Arahura Marae, Hokitika (West Coast)


Jerry Pu

Jerry Pu has worked as an historian for Poutini Kai Tahu, since 2003. From the age of 15, he has followed the path of his ancestors in the teaching and learning of mau rakau; the ancient art of Māori weaponry. As a Poutini Kai Tahu warrior, his role within the whanau is one of kaitiaki, protector, advisor, strategist and most significantly; as the voice of his tipuna. In today’s physical world, Jerry has seen the potential and opportunity for his whanau to bring the traditions and heritage of the past into the present.

Steven Gwaliasi

Steven has seen much success as a pounamu carver, a sculptor and jeweller, as well as an educator. He has taught at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Greymouth and community programmes at Westland High School. He also runs workshops out of his Hokitika based studio. His Solomon Islands heritage features prominently in his work, alongside the heavy influence of the West Coast environment that surrounds him. He frequently incorporates Solomon Island motifs, particularly those from the island of Malaita, including the frigate bird and references to ancestors and voyaging. “Rediscovering my own cultural identity seems an inevitable experience when struggling to make sense of a confusing new environment. Isolated from my roots I needed answers. Melanesian features are expressed and embraced into sculptural works of cultural importance to me. Often I tend to bring out strong and figurative Melanesian symbols – they all have a story to tell.”

Horiana Tootell (Aunty Jo)

Horiana Tootell lives in the Arahura Valley and is, like many of her cousins and whānau a committed kaitiaki of pounamu. She has spent her life collecting pounamu, advocating for its protection, sharing its value through korero and hosting manuhiri so that they may enjoy its power. Aunty Jo has accompanied pounamu mauri internationally and represented our people’s stories at the World Expo in Japan. She is committed to exploring our traditional knowledge through whakapapa, karanga and kapa haka, and is keen to see the next generation engage, learn and continue her legacy.


Pale Sauni
Pale in the Fale is back! Pale has a background in social development, health and the tertiary education sector with a focus on Pasifika trans-formative teaching and learning. Pale brings over 30 years’ experience working in Pasifika and Māori communities and education, and in the MC role, an expert ‘weaver’ of knowledge and learning.

Ako: learning exchange

The interface of Māori and Pacific culture: The Pounamu and Kava door through lifelong learning, Edmond (Ed) Fehoko

Both previous research and anecdotal evidence have found the commonplace activity of kava-drinking to be ‘a recreational activity for older males’ and a complete ‘waste of time’. The faikava is a well-known ceremonial cultural practice that in recent times has been adapted as an informal and recreational activity embedded in the activities of some churches and other agencies in New Zealand. In line with ‘The Pounamu Door’, a symbol of peace, this cultural practice includes aspects of socialising, sharing and talking, social bonding and fostering camaraderie. This presentation will explore how I have used this social practice as a hub for informal and formal talanoa whilst building and transmitting cultural knowledge. To that point, the depth of understanding and value of traditional forms (Pounamu and Kava), lifelong learners will gain a strong sense of cultural identity and an understanding of who they are. Further, this will provide a foundation for the development of further skills and knowledge bases, contexts and understandings for life in the 21st century.

Te Kura Tuatahi Kapa Haka o Hokitika

Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us. Te Kura Tuatahi Kapa Haka o Hokitika (Hokitika Primary School) are the reigning champions of Te Hui Ahurei Kapa Haka o Te Tai Poutini, since it began in 2012. Kapa haka (Māori performing art) is a fundamental medium, connecting Hokitika school to tamariki (children), their whānau (family) and hāpori (community), helping Māori learners achieve educationally as Māori. It also provides them with a platform for expression, giving them the opportunity to experience success, gain confidence through performance, and step up as leaders and role models. Through kapa haka, our whānau are able to experience a holistic way of learning, contributing to cultural, spiritual, physical and cognitive wellbeing. This workshop will be a showcase of our tamariki and whānau kapa haka.


WestREAP is one of 13 rural education activities programmes (REAP) in Aotearoa. REAPs have evidence-based research to show that their social capital approach develops communities: that networks, trust, social context, and brokerage are key to all they do. As lifelong education specialists, this means REAPs improve skills for individuals in a way that shows real impact in communities. WestREAP provide educational pathways to local communities across the Westland and Grey districts (from Jackson Bay in the south, to Punakaiki in the north and east to Otira), connecting learners to opportunities, filling gaps in education across early childhood education, schools and ACE.

Mahi Toi

Tukutuku is a traditional art form. Tukutuku panels are an integral component of wharenui. In most whare, we admire tukutuku panels in between poupou; the interpretation of each tukutuku design complements and reinforces the stories told in the whakairo and kōwhaiwhai of each whare. It is a timeconsuming craft that demands patience and persistence. The tāua (nannies) in Hokitika will be sharing their work of revitalising this art form as they create tukutuku to adorn Tuhuru, the wharenui of Arahura marae. Weaving more than symbols, the nannies have turned this into an education programme for whānau as a way of coding their histories into the structure of their own lives.

Garlands of Love, Ei Katu

In the Cook Islands, the word ei (lei, hei), is derived from the art of making garlands using natural resources of the islands, to create adornment head and neck pieces that signified homage, reverence and beauty. Like pounamu, the ei making process and wearing is linked to peaceful practice and passage, as a visible artefact in cultural ceremony such as the gathering of Ariki (chief ). In today’s contemporary context, the ei katu (head garland) has been influenced through globalisation and diaspora, use of new materials and appearance on different occasions, connecting people and place. In this workshop, our Wellington based māmā will facilitate a practical experience of making your own ei katu, explain the different types, history and importance of this art.


Ali Leota

Ali Leota is the co-leader of The Brown Caucus – Māori and Pasifika rangatahi amplifying the youth voice in Porirua. He is the National Pasifika Liaison for the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations serving a 36,000 strong Pasifika student voice across Aotearoa, and Pasifika student voice on the Academic Quality Agency Cycle 6 Academic Audit Enhancement Theme Steering Group and Ako Aotearoa Pacific Peoples Caucus. Ali is now pursing further education with a Bachelor of Health in Population Health, Policy and Service Delivery at Victoria University of Wellington.

Helen Lomax

Helen Lomax (Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki) is Director of Ako Aotearoa, New Zealand’s National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Ako Aotearoa hosts the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards and provides funding and services to build sector educational capability. Helen was a judge for the Global Teaching Excellence Awards in 2017 and 2018 for Advance HE, United Kingdom. Helen has also supported projects on international quality peer review benchmarking with universities and institutes from New Zealand, Australia and Pacific countries including Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. For the Tertiary Education Commission, Helen led major sector projects for priority learner groups, literacy and numeracy and funding for centres of research excellence.

Teremoana Yala

Māmā Teremoana Yala, is previous High Commissioner for the Cook Islands to NZ, and well respected elder and leader living in Wellington. Mama Teremoana holds significant experience in community, and a diplomatic role working in Aotearoa and the Cook Islands. She is ancestrally qualified in the Cook Islands language and culture, and most recently has delivered pre-post training to the NZ Head of Mission and diplomatic staff posted to the Cook Islands.

Ivan Wharerimu Iraia

West REAP CEO, Ivan Wharerimu Iraia, is known as simply “Whare”. Whare moved from Rotorua as a teenager and attended school in Greymouth, then qualified in law, te reo Māori, and Spanish. Whare lived and worked in Auckland as a property lawyer before spending 10 years in the Middle East where he worked as a projects lawyer in the renewable energy sector, Whare moved back to Hokitika to raise his children, and was teaching te reo at West REAP prior to becoming CEO.