This article was first published by Te Hiku Media. It has been republished with permission.
Not only is Taiao bringing te reo and Māori design concepts to bush wear, but it’s also raising money to support descendants of Te Tai Tokerau in their educational pursuits.
According to Stats NZ data, only 10 per cent of Māori in Northland hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and 28.2 per cent have no formal qualifications, NCEA or otherwise.
However, Taiao co-founder and Ngāpuhi descendent Moana-Aroha Henry says with financial backing as well as a network of support, Māori in Te Tai Tokerau will be better positioned to thrive in tertiary education.
Within two weeks of launching, Taiao had sold more than a thousand items. All proceeds are held within the Tahunakura Charitable Trust and will go towards scholarships and te reo Māori programmes.
Co-founder and Ngāti Hine, Te Rarawa descendant Tāmati Rākena says the ultimate dream is for Te Tai Tokerau to establish a whare wānanga which values traditional knowledge and is free of the systemic barriers experienced at universities.