Reconnecting with our tikanga

“When we see a person wear a korowai, we know that person embodies all our culture’s tikanga, leads, teaches all whānau to become leaders themselves, thus creating a rangatira.

‘Ko te manu e kai ana te miro nōnā te ngahere, ko te manu e kai ana te mātauranga, nōna te ao”.

This whakatauki describes what a person strives for to maintain tikanga and mātāpono.” – Jacob Wilkins-Hodges, Ngāti Konohi. Winner Tikanga Category.

Jacob Wilkins-Hodges says he ‘ran away to art’ as a young tane, drawing obsessively on paper then going to art school to study and practice tā moko before picking up another wero by teaching art to rangatahi at Te Kura Māori o Porirua, just north of Wellington.

The first-year teacher says his winning entry in the tikanga section of the 2019 E Tū Whānau Poster Competition was influenced by the work of renowned Ngāti Kahungunu artist and educator, Sandy Adsett.

“I love the way Sandy Adsett uses strong blocks of colour and stylised figures in his work.”

Jacob says that this was in the back of his mind when he created a stylised manu with wings outstretched in the manner of a korowai to express how the best in us soars when we maintain tikanga and mātāpono.

The poster competition was his first introduction to the E Tū Whānau kaupapa.

“A friend suggested I enter so I checked out the website and found it to be a kaupapa I could really relate to.

“E Tū Whānau kinda wake us up to what we used to do as a community by bringing back our tikanga and encouraging us to engage with whānau from across the street, across town, kanohi ki te kanohi, or digital, or face to face.”

“By simply entering this competition and posting your entry you see a lot of people connecting. We’re all reaching out to each other, encouraging each other, saying, ‘hey your stuff is awesome’.”