If knowledge is the noun, knowing is the verb and understanding is the liberating practice, then RONGO embraces all.

Whakapapa – Teah Carlson – 2008

Tairongorongo is a philosophy. It means sensory experience. This name describes the five senses and how when your body and mind are working intuitively your senses become heightened which enables you to do things you would usually find difficult.

Tairongorongo is a process utilising ancient narratives related to a journey of obtaining knowledge, knowing and understanding of oneself and relationships to complex ecologies.

Tairongorongo is a kaitiakitanga (supervision) framework. We practice from this framework in our supervision, mentoring and wānanga we run.

We acknowledge that there are multiple expressions of learning, leadership and development that exist at a whānau, hapū, and iwi levels and that we offer only a small drop in a large ocean of knowledge and wisdom.

The route to Maoritanga through abstract interpretation is a dead end. The way can only lie through a passionate, subjective approach. That is more likely to lead to a goal.

Marsden, 1992, p.117

Learned elder, Reverend Māori Marsden argues that objectivity does not concern him, rather he sets out to view attitudes from within Māori culture, examining first what this means to him then asking if this view is held by Māori more generally. This has provided guidance for our practice.

Te Ao Māori

Indigenous peoples have a long history, in which environmental adaption and innovation were at the heart of survival and advancement. The natural environment provided spiritual, theoretical, empirical and ethical foundations that gave rise to codes for living that would ensure the wellbeing for future generations.

Paretene Matchitt, Te Whatianga, Kauaetangohia

We have been involved in a number of wānanga spaces and what I continually hear from our people is that our tīpuna were resilient, resistant and highly adaptive. Against all odds our tīpuna survived, utilising their critical thinking and adaption and we are the living face of that whakapapa.

Like a pou in the ground, they took a position, lay claim to their beliefs and followed through. The pursuit of Mauri Ora was an outcome rather than a priority.

Everything has a connection, it requires patience to see how they connect, an ability to zoom out of individualistic thinking to a collective methodology and create a system and process to understand power of relationships, interconnectedness of things – order of relation.


Whakawhānaungatanga (reciprocal and responsive relationships) are key to relationship building and maintenance – a function of whakapapa. Whakawhānaungatanga can be intergenerational if set up with strong foundations offering the same function and purpose of whakapapa – ongoing sustainability. This connects to te ao Māori.

Whakawhanaungatanga captures community connectedness through relationships that are cohesive and interconnected for a common kaupapa. It spans across the many and vast sectors and is a measure or act of protection. It has potential and vision to include growth and development.

“the achievement of authentic being is an unfolding process of living an authentic life and that all things are in a process of becoming”

Reverend Māori Marsden
Au Model, Carlson – 2019

Au (a hau)– A gift from all tīpuna before us, we are the physical representation of all that has been before us therefore, we are our tīpuna and our mokopuna. The possession of belonging to you (one) is about personal [mana] and is intimately to connected to whānau.

Whānau – At the heart of the kupu whānau lies a key component to which this kupu is founded on in our opinion, au! Whānau means relationships unified around collective responsibility and shared vision. Whānau can mean shared whakapapa but is not limited to it. From whānau connections and links interlace with whanaunga.

Whānaunga – A shared connection or interest, kin, do not have to be blood related. Represents connections of shared interest and passion which includes friendships, peers and companions.

Whānaungatanga – means action, making effort and striving to nurture and grow relationships.

Whakawhanaungatanga – Maintaining those reciprocal, responsive and meaningful relationships. The collective expression of whakapapa – all beings and livings are connected to each other and to the environment.

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