Rich connections at Waitangi 2024

Kaimahi from Auckland’s New Settlers Family and Community Trust (NFACT), along with eight young people they’re mentoring, spent a couple of days in Whangārei in February before travelling north to enjoy rich connections with Māori whānau at Waitangi 2024.

NFACT, a long-standing community partner of E Tū Whānau, aims to support people from refugee backgrounds to overcome challenges they face and to settle in Aotearoa New Zealand, including through connecting to each other and to new places.

NFACT whānau and kaimahi from E Tū Whānau and Māmā Neke Maunga pose for a photo outside the whare nui at Pehiāweri Marae.
NFACT kaimahi and Afghan rangatahi with kaimahi from E Tū Whānau and Māmā Neke Maunga at Pehiāweri Marae
Picture Credit: Marla Brown

Representing diverse African, Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds, the NFACT kaimahi and their young Afghan charges stayed first at Pehiāweri Marae in Whangārei where they enjoyed rich connections. They were welcomed by the haukāinga, E Tū Whānau kaimahi, and representatives of Māmā Neke Maunga, also known as Māmā Moving Mountains.

They then took to the water to learn the paddling skills of waka ama. Later, as they travelled to Waitangi, the whanaungatanga continued between the NFACT whānau, and kaimahi from E Tū Whānau and Māmā Neke Maunga.

Building strong, respectful, and well-informed friendships

NFACT CEO Fahima Saeid said everyone in the group was keen to build strong, respectful, and well-informed friendships with Māori people.

“For us, it’s all about making rich connections with the land and the people.”

Fahima Saeid

Some of the young Afghans were new to Aotearoa New Zealand and to the kōrero around the Treaty of Waitangi. They appreciated the freedom to ask questions and to learn about the history of their new home in a welcoming environment.

Some of the NFACT rangatahi and wāhine from Māma Moving Mountains enjoyed rich connections while learning waka ama. Here fice of them stand in ankle deep water. They're all smiling as they pose for a photo together.
The rōpū enjoyed the challenge of learning waka ama
Picture Credit: Marla Brown

Thirsty for knowledge about te ao Maori

“They all understand the important place tangata whenua have in Aotearoa and they want to know more. They’re thirsty for knowledge about te ao Māori.”

Fahima Saeid

The visit built on the success of last year’s groundbreaking wānanga for new migrant mothers and daughters, also run by E Tū Whānau and NFACT.

E Tū Whānau enables rich connections

The experience of Waitangi 2024 included eating together. Int his photo, people sit and chat on bright coloured rugs. One woman who wears a Muslim headscarf is eating as she talks to a young man. the scene is colourful and bright.
Waitangi offered plenty of opportunities for whakawhanaungatanga and personal connection
Picture Credit: Marla Brown

E Tū Whānau, says Fahima, is the magic that ‘brings all this together.’

“Without the history of the relationship we have with E Tū Whānau, its kaimahi and its community advocates, this would not be possible.”

Fahima Saeid
The NFACT whānau enjoyed learning waka ama from the wāhine from Māma Moving Mountains. Doing so offered plenty of rich connections and conversations about te ao Māori and life in New Zealand. In this photo, one woman teaches a group of rangatahi how to use a paddle. They're all wearing life jackets and are standing in a semi circle under a tree with the sea in the background.
Learning waka ama, the rōpu enjoyed kotahitanga in the outdoors
Picture Credit: Marla Brown

Want more?

Read about the connection between former refugees and migrants and E Tū Whānau.

Read how a wellbeing toolbox developed by ALAC is supporting migrants to thrive in Aotearoa New Zealand or how cross-cultural friendship enriches life for rangatahi in Ōtara.