Back to all posts

Upside Cultural Day 2022

News   |   September 2nd, 2022

20220827 135105

Why do we have Upside Cultural Training Day?

Upside Cultural Training Day 2022 was held on Saturday, 27th August and our Tangata Whenua (hosts) were Awataha Marae in Auckland. Hannah Chapman and Pio Terei were guest speakers.

All our Upside Mentors were invited to learn more about Māori culture.  We believe it is essential to have this knowledge as it gives our mentors a greater understanding of their young people's Tikanga. In addition to our Upside mentors, we invited some of our partner organisations like Coast Mentoring and PACT. The lovely team from Big Buddy who are part of our working whare also came to share the experience. 

Māori culture is rich and offers many things to everyone. As a team, as mentors to our young people, and as leaders, whanaungatanga (family importance) and manaakitanga (caring values) are embedded within our everyday lives.

Embracing whanaungatanga means caring for people and being inclusive and welcoming. As much as it teaches us how to respect where we came from, manaakitanga teaches us how to care for one another. This helps our rangitahi feel more pride and belonging.

A glimpse into the event.

What do we learn at Cultural Day?

We start the day with a powhiri, this experience in itself is new to many of our Upside whānau. We as visitors (manahuri) at the end sang the karakia, Purea Nei, which sounded terrific inside the marae! As a result, Pio was surprised, as our practice in the car park had not given him much confidence. However, Upside’s hidden asset, CEO Jenny Horst and some of our mentoring whānau as it turns out have incredible voices, and the experience was very moving.

A workshop led by Hannah Chapman followed the Powhiri and morning tea.  Hannah has dedicated her life to enabling and empowering Māori and other indigenous peoples to live their lives fully.   As a life-orientated consultant, she assists not-for-profits, businesses, and organisations.

In the workshop, Hannah talked about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications for Māori. We learnt about Hannah's whānau’s land ownership story and its repurcussions. It was a fascinating very interactive session, which got us thinking about our culture and heritage and how we can use our new knowledge of the Tikanga of Māori. It was evident from the stories and real-life examples how important it is that those mentoring rangatahi understand the treaty and how it impacts them.


Our other speaker, Pio Terei, is a well-known and loved Maori TV personality of Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa descent. We felt very fortunate to have Pio lead this Cultural day as he put us all at ease and entertained us throughout the day by regaling us with his growing-up stories. It was great to learn about some of the traditions he grew up with and what makes him proud to be Māori.



Song, Dance, Games and Crafts

At the Upside Cultural training day, we also had practical experience of some traditional crafts and games like how to make harakeke (flax) puti puti flowers. 

A dance with actions was also taught, which made everyone laugh and was enjoyed by all.  You can see this in the video above.

We played a game (tī rākau) that involved throwing sticks in pairs in sync.  Traditionally both men and women played many variations of tī rākau. Players formed two rows facing each other and threw and caught sticks in time to chants.  Tī rākau helped warriors to practise hand-eye coordination at speed.

Upside Youth Mentoring is committed to broadening everyone's understanding of the Māori Culture. We are an organisation that works with people from diverse cultures and therefore need to be culturally aware.


For all of us, it was a wonderful day.

We would like to thank :

  • Supporters and donors of Upside who make events like this possible. 
  • Pio &  Hannah, for enriching our day further. 
  • Awataha Marae for their hospitality, activities and amazing kai.  
  • Kimberley the Upside events coordinator, for her hard work in making the day flow so effortlessly.