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  • Writer's pictureMark Revington

Innovative storytelling. Pūrākau taonga in digital form

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


Thanks to Ngāti Kuri for trusting NAIA with your taonga in the form of your pūrākau which, in turn, have been transformed via digital storytelling. Pūrākau are stories that have been used for centuries by Māori to tell of amazing feats, heroic tales, romance, wins, losses, adventure, and connections. The first episode of our new season, Pūharakeketapu, continues where He Iti Matā, the third episode of season one, left off, detailing the Ngāti Kurī migration south.


Two tamariki wearing the He Kōrero Tshirts featuring their tūpuna, Maru.

“Ngāti Kurī have been extremely generous in allowing us to tell and share their stories. They have also given us their time, taking us to various wāhi in their rohe (sites in their area), to recount some of the many pūrākau relating to each place,” says Rocky Roberts, who is the chief storyteller at NAIA.


Whānau from Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura got an exclusive preview of the latest instalments of digital pūrākau produced by NAIA, at the Mayfair Theatre in Kaikōura. Maurice Manawatu from the rūnanga says it’s good for Ngāti Kurī to introduce the stories in this form to a wider audience. “It’s great to be able to bring the pūrākau out, not just for our whānau, but for all of Ngāi Tahu and indeed everyone to see.”



Ngāti Kurī whānau at the He Kōrero launch event at the Mayfair Theatre, Kaikōura.


The pūrākau were created for Ngāti Kuri and the Ministry of Education.

“Our tamariki and rangatahi are digital natives,” says NAIA founder and managing director Charisma Rangipunga. “They devour content online and most information that they have available to them is online. If our pūrākau are to survive for them and for future generations, we need to meet people where they are and give them information in ways they like to receive information. Creating a digital fireplace for our pūrākau, in a style and manner that our tamariki are already accustomed to seemed logical.

“The value of these types of stories isn’t monetary and can’t be measured through the number of views or likes they receive online. It can only be measured by the Ngāti Kurī rangatahi sitting in the back of the classroom, whose teacher is about to show the animations to their class. This rangatahi might have been shy, nervous even for their Māoriness, their whakapapa, their stories to be shown to their peers, to their teachers. Anxiety, whakamā, fear are all taniwhā that hold our whānau back. The value of these animations is in learning that at the end of the class, that rangatahi stood tall and proud at the feats of their tīpuna, that they basked in the admiration and interest of their non-Māori peers in their Māoritanga, in their whakapapa, in their stories. The value is when our kids walk away proud of who they are.

Image of a phone with the He Kōrero website displayed

“We have created a digital fireplace - hekorero.nz. A fireplace is no good if the fire isn’t roaring and the woodpile is depleted. So we are in conversations now about a new series and also looking at pathways to complete the stories of Ngāti Kurī and get resourcing to support both of these projects.”


Nā Mark Revington

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