Have you experienced Ngā Whāriki Manaaki? SBYG take in the Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Walk.

Last Friday evening our St. Barnabas Youth Group walked along beside Ōtākaro / Avon River from the Hospital to the Margaret Mahy playground.

Along this pathway are a series of 13 Whāriki / woven mats of welcome. They are arrangements of stone pavers in different shades and colours. The sequence of Whāriki, from 1 to 13, show the whakamanuhiri process of welcome for all people visiting Christchurch and are designed to support the guiding principles of the rebuild for Ngai Tahu.

Kai atawhai ki te iwi. Care for your people.

Each Whāriki or woven mat has a special focus and we challenged ourselves to study each pattern and find connections with the information provided.

This term our focus at Youth Group is looking at the First Mark of Mission which is about Telling our Story. These Whāriki provide us with a rich tapestry of links between our Maori and Pakeha heritage, right here in our place.

The first woven mat focuses on

“Kia tau tonu ra nga manaakitanga I nga wa katoa”

which translates as

“May welcome form the basis of all that we do all of the time”

Along the journey we discovered links with topics such as the Karanga or the spiritual call of welcome, Maumahara – remembering our Fallen in Battle, the relationships between Tipuna (ancestors) and Mokopuna (grandchildren), the importance of Whānau and our Tamariki (children). One Whāriki spoke to us of togetherness and Whakapapa, another of the importance of water / Wai, yet another of the connections between Tangata Whenua and Manuhiri.

You need more than an hour to walk the walk and immerse yourself in the journey. We needed more time…

Along the walk our young people enjoyed conversation, a chance to relax away from the pressures of studying at home for some, or studying at school with many of their friends away due to covid isolation. Towards the end of the walk we were treated to the brilliance of not one, but two beautiful rainbows above us in the sky, as we approached Margaret Mahy playground. The flying fox was well utilised, as were the huge slides, climbing ropes and swings.

On the journey back to St. Barnabas we were treated to a magnificent sunset…evidence indeed of a God who is so good. 

By Robyn Hocking