It’s Good for me and my Whanau

Marae participation as a springboard for oranga

The Atiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust recently instigated qualitative research to better understand the notion of iwi connectedness and the link with oranga. This paper reports of the findings of that research, which examined how connectedness is understood by iwi and identified implications of connectedness on oranga. Thirty Atiawa ki Whakarongotai iwi members were interviewed between February and June 2015 using a semi-structured interview guide. Questions related to multiple aspects of connectedness, including their participation in iwi and marae activities, barriers and enablers to participation, and advantages and disadvantages of participation. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key issues and themes from the research data. Analysis revealed that participants described ahi kä roles in three ways: intergenerational, assimilated and multifunctional. Passion and commitment to ahi kä roles was clearly demonstrated and participants described enhanced wellbeing as a component of connection with and participation in marae activities. This study confirms previous findings demonstrating a positive association between cultural attachment and wellbeing, and further defines the role of ahi kä, providing a framework for iwi planning by describing the intergenerational, assimilated and multifunctional nature of ahi kä. *