Assignment One:

Select a behaviour setting or a community, and then describe it thoroughly. Describe strengths and one or more problems/needs evident in depth and with sensitivity. Support your description with reference to research and other literature, including the text, study guide, internet resources, local information sources and other documentation.

This paper gives a description of the whanau, hapu and iwi of Te Rarawa. I note this does not mention the term “community” and this is deliberately so, as in traditional Maori structure, communities did not exist and in looking at this iwi, which for all intents and purposes represents a “community”, the writer has chosen to use the traditional terms. The reality of colonisation has seen the introduction of individualism as prescribed by Dalton (2001). This has removed traditional familial structure to the detriment of the individual.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The iwi of Te Rarawa is no stranger to field research. Dame Joan Metge, a research anthropologist studied the early urban drift of Te Rarawa Maori. Her 1964 studied examined the migration of Te Rarawa from the Ahipara settlement. It is pertinent to mention that two generations after this study there is a reverse migration with people of Te Rarawa heritage now moving back to their turangawaewae. The difference now, particularly in the Ahipara area, is that it is not only Maori that are returning from the city.

In addition two other notable pieces were also compiled in the 90’s. The Maori Male Adolescent Health Research Project (1995) and The Cannabis Report (1996) were both significant studies undertaken in conjunction with Te Runanga O Te Rarawa.


As has already been mentioned, traditionally the term community was foreign to Maori and herein lays the philosophical and practical dilemma that can be argued as being the cause of many problems facing Te Rarawa today. I know that the Chambers dictionary has numerous ways of defining the term community. These definitions range from community being described as groups of people sharing the same locality, to a biological definition of plants and animals sharing the same locality and interacting.

There is also a single theme that permeates through most definitions of a community, that of a quality of sharing and commonalities of location and/or interest (Chambers 1995). According to Gregory (1999) a community is described as “a group of people related through common values, common location, communication patterns, and or relationship”. Kenneth Heller extends this to include “collective political power”. However Whanau, Hapu and Iwi shall be discussed as opposed to community as the definitions do align however each is not merged into one and each needs to be treated uniquely to thoroughly describe the iwi of Te Rarawa. It is believed that when looking at issues affecting the iwi, the answers may lie in the recreation of the more traditional structure of whanau, hapu and iwi.

Te Rarawa fits the definitions of “community” in that the whanau and people residing within the rohe share a common location and certainly common values can be found. It also definitely depicts a grouping of people with relationship ties.


Te Rohe o Te Rarawa

The boundaries of Te Rarawa are the area from North Hokianga to Maungataniwha, down through Victoria Valley river to Maimaru, across from Awanui bridge west to Te Oneroa a Tohe (the Ninety Mile Beach) at Hukatere then down to Mitimiti and North Hokianga.

Te Rarawa is one of the main iwi of Te Tai Tokerau that extends from Te Rerenga Wairua in the Far North to Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland). Within those boundaries of Te Tai Tokerau are Ngatiwhatua, Ngatiwai, Ngapuhi and the five iwi of Te Hiku O Te Ika (the Far North).

Ngatikuri, Te Aupouri, Ngaitakoto, Ngatikahu and Te Rarawa are the 5 iwi of Te Hiku o Te Ika, sometimes referred to as the 5 iwi of the Muriwhenua region. The combined boundaries extend from Te Rerenga Wairua in the Far North to the North side of the Hokianga Harbour on the west coast, and South of the Rangaunu Harbour on the east coast. Te Rarawa is firmly linked by whakapapa and history to Ngatikuri, Te Aupouri, Ngatikahu and Ngaitakoto. Te Rarawa has liaised successfully with its neighbouring iwi to establish cooperative ventures for the well being of the collective whanau and hapu.

The hunga kainga (home people) of Te Rarawa number approximately 3000. The Iwi Register research shows the number of Taurahere to be approximately 15,000. There are 40+ hapu within the iwi of Te Rarawa. Some marae have just the one hapu. Other marae have several hapu.

Within the overall rohe of Te Rarawa the percentage of Maori to European is just over 50%. However in the majority of the rural settlements the ratio is over 80%. Kaitaia Township is the sole urban centre.

The social and economic problems facing Te Rarawa and Te Hiku O Te Ika are well documented, and include registering high scores on the various risk criteria of government agencies. Many of these figures are extremely disturbing. A number of key indicators are reproduced below. They include figures for the entire Far North District (by various definitions), and for Te Rarawa specifically.

Te Rarawa makes up roughly 50% of the Maori population in Te Hiku O Te Ika, and has a higher proportion of ‘at-risk’ families, because of their greater concentration in the Hokianga district.

Some interesting data that needs to be considered features the whole of Te Hiku O Te Ika. However it can be used to depict a picture of Te Rarawa.

In terms of the population of the Far North population 69% identify as M�ori, compared with 15.1% in the whole of New Zealand (NZ Census 1996). In reality, this figure is much higher, as it relies on self-identification of ethnic status. There are more single parent families, comprising 22% compared with 18% for New Zealand as a whole (ERO 1998). In addition there is a disproportionate population dependency ratio – young and old compared to working aged population (NZ Census 1996).

There is also a lower level of educational attainment. In the Far North 44% of people aged over 15 have no formal qualifications, compared with 35% in the whole of New Zealand (ERO 1998). For Te Rarawa living in the region that figure is 54%, with only 20% having a post-school qualification (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). In addition 45% of schools deliver an unacceptable standard of schooling (ERO 1998).

The unemployment rate in the Far North is 12.9% compared to a national average of 7.7%. At the time of the 1996 census, the unemployment rate for Te Rarawa living in the region was 23% (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). Over 70% of people aged over 15 have an annual income of $20,000 or less and less than four percent have an annual income of over $50,000, compared to national figures of 58.6% and 7.3% respectively (ERO 1998).

The median annual income for Te Rarawa in the labour force within the region is just $12,600. (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). 31.1% of the Far North population aged over 15 receive a government benefit compared with 19.6% for New Zealand as a whole (ERO 1998). Over 50% of Te Rarawa living in the region and aged over 15 years received some form of government benefit in 1996 (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile).

It is pertinent to also note that 29% of Te Rarawa and 34% of all Te Rarawa children live in one-parent families. 74% of these children lived in households where there were no employed members (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). 39% of all Te Rarawa children lived in households where there were no employed members. These figures are for all Te Rarawa, including those living outside the Far North where dependency ratios are lower and employment rates higher. This figure is likely to be over 50% for Te Rarawa in the Far North region (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). 60% of births are into benefit dependant families (hospital records).

In terms of health status 44% of all women in the region describe themselves as smokers (hospital records), and at the last census, the figure was 55% for Te Rarawa women aged from 25-34 (NZ Census 1996, Iwi Profile). 15% of mothers have to be treated for severe dental problems as a priority at delivery (hospital records). Doctors deal with 10-15 cases of domestic violence and abuse per year of pregnant women. There are significant dietary issues that interfere with breast-feeding. 35% of women are anaemic at delivery. There are higher than average levels of sub-standard housing – overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, inadequate shelter, poor learning environments, poor household facilities (Te Rarawa Housing Report 1992). Doctors report widespread poor nutritional practices.

There are five distinctive features of this area that inform these statistics and provide a wider context for their interpretation in terms of providing prevention support:

* The families needing multiple supports are almost exclusively Maori.

* The area has particular housing and welfare issues related to the return from urban areas of Maori to their land as an attempt to escape urban poverty. These issues have been highlighted in the deaths of children in house fires and by the problems of the flooding in Hokianga in 1999.

* Te Rarawa boundaries include several of the country’s poorest areas – particularly the Hokianga, where Te Rarawa research suggests that 650 families are dependent on the domestic purposes benefit.

* Families in the area are prone to the social dislocations of the cannabis industry – both its production and its consumption (Te Rarawa 1995, Walker et al. 1998).

* The district takes in five Iwi: Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Ngati Kahu, Ngai Takoto and Ngati Kuri. By population Te Rarawa is the largest of these Iwi. In the past it has proven difficult for outside groups to have any major influence within this region as a result of the close knit communities and the lack of understanding of the Iwi networks and politics.

Ecological Levels

As described by Dalton, Elias & Wandersman to understand the community it is useful to examine the ecological levels of analysis in community Psychology. In terms of this, these levels need to be localised to fit the analysis of Te Rarawa. With this in mind one could illustrate these levels as depicted in figure 2. This study has looked at these levels from the perspective of the individual.

Te Rarawa Whanau

In order to clearly view Te Rarawa whanau one needs to consider the differences that age has on a viewpoint. In this respect it is useful to look specifically at three age brackets to ascertain the current state of Te Rarawa whanau.

Kaumatua and Kuia (Elders), by and large, have a strong appreciation for the iwi concept. They are very proud to be Te Rarawa and strongly advocate, in the main part, for the Iwi and in particular for the presence of Te Runanga O Te Rarawa, the mandated body established to represent the interests of the iwi. They are a dying breed and with them are being taken the language, the song and the myths and legends that contribute so much to being Te Rarawa. As in most “communities” the elder population have a diminishing role to play in the nurturing of the future generations. This in Maori terms is unacceptable. It represents a complete breakdown in the traditional familial structures where Kaumatua / Kuia were the backbone of the whanau and hapu units.

It is difficult to address this issue in a climate where Maori men have an average life expectancy of 67 years with Maori women living relatively lengthy lives of 71 years. These life expectancy rates are the result of severe issues in Maori health and wellbeing. This needs to be a focus of health promotion, education and public health administrators. It is also the result of neglect in this area by health professionals over a lengthy period. The last five years represent the biggest changes in Maori Health focus in the Far North since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. What this does represent, however, is a strong correlation between health and well-being and other societal issues. It also highlights the need to address prevention work in a holistic manner and as far as government agency work is concerned it needs to be addressed from an intersectoral collaboration platform.

The middle aged generations, and as a result of low life expectancy for Maori this would include people in their late 30’s early 40’s, are seeking answers. They are disillusioned with the state of their lives. They are disillusioned with the focus on iwi as opposed to their whanau. They see hapu as the answer to progress their whanau. It is a challenge for any prevention work to incorporate and “win over” this generation. They are the generation that is feeling the results of being brought up in severely dislocated whanau units. They are what could be argued as the “wayward” generation. In Te Rarawa this generation is, for the most part, devoid of their language.

There are large numbers of this generation that are unemployed, have multiple health and well-being issues, live in severely depressed housing conditions and are prone to alcohol and drug abuse. To a certain degree they are victims of their dislocated upbringing. The issues facing prevention strategies include the fact that these groupings of people have large families of children that are being brought up in and around these conditions. This represents great concern for their futures. There is, however, a proportion of this generation that have maintained control of their lives and this is mainly due to the strength in their whanau unit. This generation represents the short-term future of Te Rarawa and needs to be heard by anyone addressing “community” prevention work.

The youth and young children are as in most communities the long-term future of Te Rarawa. The future of the whanau, hapu and iwi of Te Rarawa is dependent upon how this group is nurtured and taught. As has been mentioned, for at least one third of these children and youth, the social reality is an upbringing in a level 10 decile rating (the highest level of social deprivation). The cohorts, as has also been mentioned, of this kind of poverty are poor health, low energy, crime, violence, increased risk of alcohol and other drug related problems and sheer desperation that does lead to high suicide rates. These serve to weaken the whanau and iwi and the future looks bleak.

The youth and children of the stronger whanau do prosper and this serves to reinforce the status of the whanau. The youth in general do not see their future in Te Rarawa. A summary report (Te Oranga 2002) of the statistics gained from the analysis, compiled by the Auckland University Injury Prevention Unit, into the suicide rates of Te Rarawa youth, indicated that youth felt that their voice was not heard, the community provided them with few recreational or social options and that their future was not here. In addition they sought more sporting and cultural opportunities. One notable point was that in terms of support they would address their peers and whanau before seeking support from external organisations – whether they be churches, NGO’s, government agencies or schools.

Te Rarawa Hapu

Hapu have historically been the political force for a collection of whanau. In contemporary times this has not been practical for the purposes of government agencies and as such the role of the hapu has diminished. In Maori circles throughout the country there has been an upsurge in opinion that in order to address the increasing issues affecting Maori, hapu need to begin to take more ownership of their whanau. Resourcing of this will need to be addressed as currently hapu do not have the necessary resource base from which to draw the answers to issues that have been unable to solved by many and varied government agencies and non- governmental organisations (NGO’s).

Te Rarawa hapu are no different to others around the countryside. At best you could describe their presence as dislocated, at worst one could argue the fact that they are non-existent and that they are the figment of the imagination of some stronger whanau in the rohe. They are by and large formed, in contemporary times, by the stronger whanau and thus represent the views of these whanau. In a crude way it could be likened to the process by which the cultural capital of the middle class European was forced upon the Maori by the sheer fact that they held the economic wealth.

However in terms of recognising historical societal structures and the part that hapu played in keeping Whanau together there is a definite need to resurrect and strengthen. Te Rarawa hapu are sincere in their desire to show strength and support for their whanau and need to find a means by which they can do this. The strength for Te Rarawa hapu is in that the iwi (the Runanga) also recognises the need for more hapu-based focus. This in turn means that the hapu can expect changes and can look forward to an increased presence in the short-term future.

Te Rarawa Iwi

Te Runanga o Te Rarawa is the Iwi Authority established to promote and support initiatives for the spiritual, cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of the iwi of Te Rarawa both hunga kainga (those whanau living within the rohe of Te Rarawa) and taurahere (those whanau living elsewhere); and embracing those whanau of other iwi and cultures living in the rohe of Te Rarawa.

There are 28-affiliated marae within the rohe of Te Rarawa. The Runanga is marae based, made up of two delegates from each marae who liaise between the Runanga and their respective marae. The Runanga hui are held on one of its 28 marae on the 3rd Wednesday of each month thereby maintaining and strengthening the marae network.

Te Runanga O Te Rarawa was registered as a Charitable Trust in 1985.

The mission of Te Runanga o Te Rarawa is to support hapu to develop and facilitate their resources within their rohe for the betterment, sustainability and well-being of all of Te Rarawa.

There are elements within Te Rarawa that would argue that iwi development has come at the expense of whanau and hapu development. The Runanga has grown and as such, the iwi is seen to have grown. However it is debateable as to whether this has been beneficial to the whanau and hapu that it purports to represent. There is definitely a strong relationship that the Runanga has gained with Government Agencies through its successful delivery of service contracts. However the communication and relationship with its people has not been enhanced nor has a great deal of emphasis been placed on this.

The Runanga has an excellent relationship and is seen very positively by the wider community within Kaitaia and the surrounding areas. This is of interest in that people outside its membership have a stronger appreciation of its work than the iwi members themselves. This is a puzzling a phenomena and one that can only assume is the result of bad communication to its membership.

Other Iwi & Community

There are significant influences upon Te Rarawa from other people living within the rohe (boundary). There is a sector that are independently wealthy that have moved into one of the settlements. They have opened new businesses, mainly tourism and hospitality based. With this wealth has come an upsurge in quality housing, which in effect has increased real estate value and council rating demands. This has had significant effect on the whanau living in these areas. It has also highlighted the vast lifestyle differences between whanau living within the same rohe. One comment on the different sectors echoed by a resident being ” there’s your everydayers, your poor Maoris and your drug horticulturalists”. The reality is that there is very little interaction between these groups. This further contributes to a rohe that is disconnected and disjointed.

Internal and External communication patterns

Communication, as has been mentioned has been strong between Iwi and some of its macro systems such as the crown and it related government agencies. Communication has also been clear between iwi and segments of the wider community. However communication remains to be developed between levels of Te Rarawa itself. The whanau and hapu are dislocated from their iwi to a large degree. This needs to be recognised and remedied. In terms of communication within Te Rarawa the common form that this takes is via te aka Kumara the Maori grape vine. This is informal and disorganised and can have the ability to incorrectly inform and this leads to the communication breakdown between certain segments of the iwi.

The grapevine works through whanau and neighbourhood networks. Community radio also provides a great deal of external and internal communication. There are three radio stations that are part owned by Te Rarawa. In terms of written forms of communication there are two forms of communication available. The local newspaper is very supportive of Te Rarawa and assists in reporting on issues and events that are of interest to the Te Rarawa readership. There is also a website that focuses more on Te Rarawa people outside of the rohe. All the schools in the rohe also have newsletters that inform of events and serve as community newspapers.

Power, Key Role Players

As described by Dalton, empowerment of communities is crucial to their development. However, there are community organisations, and even the Te Runanga O Te Rarawa itself, that are seen as disempowering. The whanau and hapu continue to feel that decisions are made for them. The iwi would argue that local and national government make a great deal of their decisions for them. This makes for an interesting dynamic that most individuals within Te Rarawa would describe the decision making process to be conducted by people who do not reside or are not part of the iwi. As one whanau described the decision making process with regards to Te Rarawa

“Government and council are making it……….we don’t have very much say…they’re just doing it.”

Hence key decisions are being seen to be made by external governing bodies. For Te Rarawa the other community groupings, namely the more affluent European members, seem to be able to influence the decisions more than they themselves.

In terms of Te Rarawa whanau there is very little input in the decision making process by the poorer whanau. They are divided, marginalized and ignored. They are not only marginalized economically but also culturally. This comes from the phenomena in Te Rarawa culture of whakamaa. That is experienced by this sector “being poorly off in material terms, or less well-off than someone else causes whakamaa … Sometimes whakamaa arising from poverty is not foe oneself so much as for the limits it places on the expressions of aroha to kin or guests” (Metge, 1986 p39-40). This whakamaa contributes to a total dislocation from their whanau, hapu and iwi. It is clear that this is an area that needs to be addressed in order that whanau can feel empowered.

In reality there is a challenge that is highlighted by Te Rarawa and that is for local and national government to address the empowerment of communities and more importantly the individuals within them. The challenge for the iwi of Te Rarawa is to empower their whanau so that they feel empowered. This is the key to improving the social deprivation facing Te Rarawa whanau.

Te Rarawa has strengths in their human resource. These need to be harnessed. The more affluent sectors are sincerely concerned and can assist. Their wealth can strengthen the area with its economic and political influence. The natural resources within the rohe are assets that need to be maximised. A youthful, rapidly growing rohe may also be considered strength in that it brings youthful energy into the rohe. It is these that bring hope and vitality to Te Rarawa. Te Rarawa can provide the community Psychologist with an adventure to remember.


Dalton, James H., Maurice J. Elias, and Aberaham Wandersman (2001). Community Psychology: Linking Individuals With Communities. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth / Thomson Learning.

Department Social Welfare, (1986). Puao-te-ata-tu: Report of Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare. Wellington: June

Keene, F. (1992). Tai Tokerau. Whitcoulls

Metge, J. (1964). A New Maori Migration: Rural & Urban Relations In Northern New Zealand. London: Athlone Press.

Metge, J. (1986). In And Out Of Touch: Whakamaa In Cross Cultural Context. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

Manser, M. & Thomson, M. (Ed) (1995). Chambers Combined Dictionary Thesaurus. Edinburgh: Larousse.

Te Runanga O Te Rarawa, (1995). The Maori Male Adolescent Health Research Project (1995). Kaitaia:Author

Te Runanga O Te Rarawa, (1995). The Cannabis Report (1996). Kaitaia:Author

Te Runanga O Te Rarawa (2002). Kia Piki Te Ora Summary Report. Kaitaia: Te Oranga.

Te Runanga O Te Rarawa, (2000). Te Rarawa Safer Community Council. Kaitaia: Author


I'm Niki!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out