The peruperu are in! Is your whenua warm???

Peruperu planted in mounds, Whangarei

HERITURIKOKA Early planting

Heriturikoka has again been a busy month, travelling up and down the country supporting everyone in their maramataka planning!    On Tirea I really felt the change in the weather, a gentle warming.  Its quite significant Tirea being the moon after Whiro, new beginnings.  So on Ohoata the moon after, we rose early, excited to mahi (work) after the wa okioki (resting period) of Mutuwhenua, Whiro and Tirea.

I was really excited to open my seed tin, and choose a small packet of carefully saved  tomato seeds wrapped in a brown envelope labelled “Sue Ferens purple tomato ”  This is how I classify all of my seeds, naming them after the person that the seed came to me from!  Seed saving is easy, rewarding and costs nothing but a little preparation!  We share our seeds as a way of maintaining the stock, 20 years ago our kaumatua of the far North would swap kumara tupu and Maori potato seeds with us annually, Peter Jones, Pa Moses, Saana Murray, they have all passed on now and the job of keeping the seed going descends to the next generation.

Living in Te Taitokerau we have a reputation for a having a significantly warm climate in comparison to other areas of the country, however our high rain fall makes our gardens very prone to insect infestation.  Being Maori, organic spray free hua para kore gardeners, calls for us to live in harmony with nature.  We plant a little extra in the garden, for everyone including the ngarara (insects)!  They really love, coloured plants, the purple cabbages get hammered!

So the small act of planting the tomato seeds in Ohoata then motivated us to weed and prepare our bigger garden in Whangarei.  Putting our hands in the soil we felt how warm the earth was, a real indication that since Tirea the weather and whenua was indeed warming!  Our trays of carefully saved Kowiniwini Maori potato seed from last season were brought out and our anticipation of a early riwai (potato) crop and plans for a double harvest before next years Matariki, ensured the whole seed stash was planted!

Global warming is indeed a reality, however how do we as tangata whenua (people of the land) observe and understand the changing weather patterns to ensure we can still survive into the future?  Maramataka helps us to classify the right time to do the right activity and gardening and food production is extremely important.  However the knowledge is in the practice!  We must mahia te mahi (do the work) to have a real understanding of the land, seasons, gardens, marama and weather.  We are utilising our indigenous knowledge for a double harvest this year, ambitious yes, a little cheeky?  Of course!  If you can increase your bounty, go for it!  I cannot encourage you all enough to get into the garden!  Its healing, connecting and the kai is good!  The next good days for planting are in Mahuru (September) Ohoata, Ouenuku and Okoro!

Rangatiratanga can we feed ourselves?

Recently I was in Te Hiku o Te Ika, the Far North or rather the tail of the fish of Maui.  I was treated to some spectacular winter feasts of Tuatua (flat shell fish) from te Oneroa a Tohe, Raw Tamure (snapper) in cream, pakapaka (crackle) pig heads, watakirihi (watercress), kutai (mussle) chowder, purple peruperu (maori potatoes) and basically a whole lot of reka (sweetness) from the kainga (homelands!)

I really marvelled how in Hotoke (winter) the home people were able to produce such abundance from the moana, creeks and whenua.  Some of our Iwi and hapu have suffered the absolute decimation of our food sources so we are no longer able to feed our manuhiri our traditional kai.   He tino whakaama tatou, this indeed causes embarrassment to some of us.

To come to Ngati Hine and not be served smoked Tuna!  To arrive in Horeke (Hokianga) and not eat Karehu!  No Titi (muttonbirds) in Murihiku!  No Paua in Ahipara!

For many of us re-syncing with maramataka and becoming more aware of the environment brings on a sense of duty to ensure our environment is indeed healthy, this stance is true kaitiakitanga (active guardianship).  The ultimate measurement of kaitiakitanga is are we able to feed our manuhiri our traditional kai that we are famous for in our own unique areas?  Are we also able to sustain that food source throughout the year?  How do we enable our food source to rest and how as kaitiaki may we assist it to be plentiful?

Our daughter is named Keteriki after a significant event that still occurs annually in Ngati Hine.  When the Tangariki or small eels come into our streams of Ngati Hine after their long journey from Te Moana nui a Kiwa, they arrive at Te Rere o Tiria (the waterfall of Tiria) near Moerewa and are unable to navigate their way up the falls.

No mai rano (from way back) our people have come out with small kete (Keteriki) to scoop up the Tangariki (tiny tuna) to help them on their way.  Without the people assisting the Tangariki to do this, we would have no tuna to eat later into the coming seasons.  The awareness of when this happens is essential for not only the survival of the Tuna, but the survival of us the people!  This mahi demonstrates our tribes intricate knowledge that we must practice this act in order to sustain our kai!

This morning I was discussing with my whanau how when your aware of maramataka, you are also aware of the movements and tohu (signs) of the environment.

No reira, What is the health of your own environment and traditional food sources?  How may you use maramataka to greater monitor its health and improve on its abundance?  Even living in the city we can consider this.  Following maramataka makes us face up to the actual reality of the state of our Taiao and despite sometimes not liking what we see, what will we do to make changes? Or will we simply carry on refusing to recognise the tohu (signs)?   Kia kaha tatou ki te tiaki a tatou ao, nga kai maori mo nga uri whakatupu.

Would love to hear some of your korero and feedback e hoa ma, nga mihi ano i runga ite ahuatanga o te ra!

C) Heeni Hoterene


He wa tenei ki te whakatika nga mea! A time to get things right!


“Ko” Digging implements with maramataka symbols, what a treat to research!

HONGONGOI – Te marama o Mawharu

Wow what a week, Kei te waka a Maui ahau, also known as Te Waipounamu and unexpectedly its not cold at all!  I was invited to present a maramataka planning wananga with Te Koronga the Indigenous research unit at the University of Otago.

When i confirmed the workshop date I knew it would fall on the marama of Huna, which is often a moon I have a little trouble on!  Despite my best efforts I sensed the audience was lagging and it was necessary to pull out all the tricks to keep the whanau engaged and energised!  Huna is not a good day for communication!  Sometimes I like to test things out but it usually ends in a “why???!”

In our planning wananga we teach that the month of Hongongoi is a great time to “whakatikahia”  maintain, fix things, get things right.  This was the time our tupuna would be mending their massive fishing nets, ensuring the gardening implements are on point and already anticipating the work that needs to be done for Koanga Spring.

Therefore during this month of Hongongoi you may like to consider what it is that you need to “whakatikahia” fix in preparation of the coming year.  What is inhibiting you at present from getting to where you want to get to?  Its often difficult to admit to what needs fixing!  It may just be a simple action such as taking your car for a warrant or keeping the anti virus maintained on your lappy!  It could mean something more serious such as considering what may need fixing in your relationships, why you are lacking vitality within the workplace?  After all if we dont admit to whats blocking our progress, how can we fix it?

Last year we spoke on maramataka to Museum workers at Tamaki Paenga Hira.  Afterwards we went to check out the back with a focus on ancient gardening tools of our tupuna.  I was really excited to discover Ko with marama and star symbols – te ataahua hoki!  What really stood out was the lashing work that would be re-done each season to ensure the tools are maintained to do the important work of growing kai and feeding the people!

I’m really missing my garden at the moment, its abit to wet to do anything, but the next two moons are excellent for planting trees, the ground is moist!

No reira kia kaha whanau, its really important to ensure we maintain the tools we need to get us to where we are aiming for!  Tenei te wa ki te whakatikahia.

Nga mihi ano

Heeni Hotrerene



Me tirohia ki runga!! Why are Tane so good at star gazing?

Hongongoi..Te po o Tirea

Ko Matariki tera ka rewa I te pae, Nau mai Haere mai te tohu o te tau hou!

Nga mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa!

This is our first weekly subscription, coming to you straight off Te Tau Hou, the Maori new years!

Many of you would of spent your recent early mornings, star gazing, watching for the rise of Matariki. I always say some of our best star gazers are our menfolk. They are the ones that go outside for a mimi in the night and gaze up at the stars while they are doing their business!   Unfortunately our city cousins skies are mostly sparked in gold from the city lights blinding the eyes of Matariki and nightly pops outside are frowned on by nosey neighbours!

I remember one evening I was woken by our Papa Te Kai Makiha and told to go outside. I stood facing northwards, peering into the night sky, watching for a sign, a shooting star pea? Something amazing to see! Instead, I saw millions of stars just looking at me. From there I came to the realisation that I could never understand the meaning of everything, so why sweat it in my constant pursuit for knowledge and meaning! The enormity of the universe humbles me to believe I know actually nothing!

We celebrate our New Year on the first new moon (Whiro) after the appearance of Matariki. So last night we had a hot, lovingly prepared, hearty kai at Motatau marae with our Kohanga Reo Tamariki and community.

Rueben has been working building the earthern Te Hononga centre in Kawakawa and only in the past week has the winter rains come. Are we noticing the impact of Climate change? Yes, the rain is coming later and we can progress our builds further into the colder months. The lack of certainty of sequence of natural progression is indeed a worry, however constantly observing the environment as our tupuna did, gives some comfort that we will be aware of any potential disasters to come, if we are watching.

It was fitting to come together for some whanau cheer at the marae, many have commented that they have felt this winter particularly taimaha (heavy).    Music, mirimiri and making the most of every ray of sunshine when it beams (even if I’m indoors, I step in the ray and charge it up!)   We must be particularly mindful during winter to keep our wairua up!

So if we’re reclaiming our definitions of time, space and energy through maramataka, it makes sense that we are also realigning with the seasons.   For so long this country has followed the colonisers Northern calendar, which flips us on our head, turning our winter celebrations into a summer event and spring festivities into a celebration of the dead (Halloween). During the next 12 months we will share with you how to use maramataka effectively to create abundance, to greater align and become aware of the movements of not only the environment, but its affect on you and your close ones. Rueben and I will offer a balanced perspective from te taha tane me te taha wahine, yes well take turns writing and provide practical examples of how to use maramataka to enhance your lives! This is a taonga gifted to us from our tupuna, it is here to benefit us all!
So as nature is sleeping, I hope you too are resting, reflecting, and celebrating our survival through winter (gifts, treats, treats) and using the marker of Matariki to ponder your past and understand theres a time to rest and theres a time to mahi!

c)Heeni Hoterene


Energy Efficiency is the greatest obstacle to occupation of whenua

Energy Efficiency is the greatest obstacle to occupation of whenua

Tena koutou. This is my first attempt at blogging, I have no idea how to do it so bear with me whanau and apologies for spelling.

AKT has been investing some serious amount of time into public speaking and whanau papakainga hui it has been a humbling experience but also takes a lot of time and energy away from being productive.

Production is what we ultimately want but we have so much to learn and share to bring everybody along with us on this amazing journey of efficient, healthy affordable housing on whenua tupuna.

There are so many parts to organising and completing a housing project that it can be very tiring and overwhelming to find the right solution, make a decision, coordinate that action towards a successful goal…that’s why AKT was created, to help with that journey.

…and just like a whare build, energy and economy must be taken into account. My contribution for my very first blog is to make a few energy saving points so you don’t waste time and economy when working towards your goal.

First and foremost, dreams are wonderful but expensive if not planned properly. Plan your build and be committed…make this project your priority in life and I guarantee you will be successful. Treat it like a hobby and you will pay for it.

Many people ask me how it costs but only focus on the amount of money it takes. Money is only 1 form of energy to build your whare, definitely not the entire pool of positive power to call on.

Think of your position to capture solar and gravity energy, an endless supply of FREE energy!

Think of the new technology available now that has changed the entire industry and potential to occupy your so called “Abandoned land”…

Think of your whanau doing a project together and how energy can be contributed through skills, labour and whanaungatanga!

Think of the great resources around you on your whenua that is going to change your life and how you live, that awesome river, spring, timber, grass, space, paddock for work, play and peace of mind….your a lucky guy/gal/ whanau!

Whare Uku - footings 2

AKT have been meeting with some big players in the Energy sector to connect our whanau on a community level and look forward to that journey to help strengthen our nohowhenua upon our turangawaewae. Wireless, Wifi, Solar, Wind and many other options including Tidal Turbine are making off grid living a comfortable option…just gotta check it out, its getting better everyday!

Lots to share once get the hang of this blog thingy and get our Group of experts in architecture, engineering and earth building to contribute but for today just want to say kiaora whanau and look forward to our journey together

mauri tu, mauri ora!