Whānau superheroes celebrated

E Tū Whānau and Te Pou Oranga O Whakatōhea kaimahi put on their superhero personas, rolled out the karaoke machine and wowed a four hundred strong crowd of primary aged rangatahi at the Friday Ripper Rugby tournament which ended He Waihohonu, Opotiki’s recent ‘Youth Week’.

Anau Apanui (left) dressed as Neytiri from the movie Avatar because they “stand up for what is right in our natural being”

They attracted crowds of parents and children with fun activities and left them uplifted by acknowledging their ‘unseen talents’ and their natural role as whakapapa and whānau heros. Both pakeke and rangatahi loved it.

Anau Apanui is the Mental Health and Addictions Practice leader at Whakatōhea Social and Health services. She’s also a hardworking mum and knows it’s never too early, or too late, to reinforce, the kaupapa Māori values expressed through E Tū Whānau.

A naturally shy person, Anau went out of her comfort zone to become a character from the film Avatar, complete with a blue dress and a thick layer of blue makeup.

“Avatars stand up for what is right in our natural being and I decided that’s what I would project to our rangatahi.”

Anau says that seeing MC and E Tū Whānau kaimahi Pare Mafi acknowledging the strength of the parents and children spread out all over the field, was a highlight of the day.

“I have this lovely memory of Pare, dressed as a tipuna to honour her late and highly respected mother Jozie. She addressed a group of women, pushing prams and wrangling kids, all there to support their rangatahi taking part in the rugby tournament,” she said.

“Pare told them that they were beautiful woman, beautiful mothers and shining examples to their rangatahi and I saw they how important those words were to them, how uplifted and happy there were just being acknowledged for being there and being great, loving role models for their children.

“At Te Pou Oranga O Whakatōhea, we have always understood that the E Tū Whānau values speak to a deeper sense of who we are as a people, he wai hohonu mātou, the deep waters in us all. We are more than you see. These values are a great tool to help us get to know our people and how we can support them to become the best they can be.”

L to R: Superheros Anau Apanui, Harmony Clay & Parehuia Mafi