Manaia Cuthbert was looking at a prison sentence when he first encountered the kaupapa of E Tu Whānau through Taupo-based Te Hapori Ora – The Village of Wellbeing.

E Tū Whānau is a Māori-led kaupapa for positive change building strong whānau who are free of violence; Te Hapori Ora is a te ao Māori service and community dedicated to personal and community development.

It was through Te Hapori Ora’s innovative wananga – learning based on te ao Māori wellbeing practices - that Manaia began his own journey of change.

“There was a lot of family history that I didn’t know. Learning about it explained some of the anger inside me and helped me to heal while acknowledging that what happened is still a part of me.”

Seven years later, Manaia is the chair and one of many Te Hapori Ora members for whom violence of any kind, be it physical, spiritual, psychological or social, is a violation of whakapapa and, as such, is unacceptable. They’re determined to be the change they want to see in their whānau and their community.

Most came to the kaupapa by following their own journeys of change, healing of personal and cultural trauma and deep immersion in tikanga, kōrero and wairua.

Many have, like Manaia, graduated from Tāne Ora and Wāhine Ora wananga designed and facilitated by Kim and Brendon Eriksen-Downs. They’re experienced indigenous practitioners in family harm, whānau and hapū development and co-design with communities.

Other members of the group are whānau Tūwharetoa who have seen for themselves the positive effect the kaupapa is having on their communities. There’s a rangatahi forum too.

Together they are growing a kaupapa based on kotahitanga, manaakitanga and piringa (shelter) that uses wānanga and whanaungatanga – natural healthy human relationships – to influence and support those around them.

Te Hapori Ora is supported by the E Tū Whānau team and its iwi counterpart, Tūwharetoa Maranga Ra or Making a Stand within Tūwharetoa, which is, itself, inspired by the E Tū Whānau kaupapa.

Go back to The safety of people and communities is one of our top priorities