Getting active with He Pi Ka Rere

A kaupapa Maori physical activity and nutrition approach is being brought to Southland for the first time.

He Pi Ka Rere is about providing children with the skills and awareness to develop a positive, lifelong relationship with movement and nutrition. It is based on traditional techniques used by ancestors and aims to not only help children build important fundamental movement skills and an understanding of the importance of good nutrition, but support early childhood teachers to be confident in the delivery of a range of movement and physical activity options, and understand the importance of activity and skill development for children from a Maori approach.

He Pi Ka Rere is being brought to Southland by Sport Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill team, following discussions through the Let’s Play Southland network, and is supported and endorsed by the Waihopai Runaka. Significantly, it is the first time the approach has been taken outside of the North Island and been made available to early childhood teachers beyond the kohanga reo sector.

The workshops are led by Darrio Penetito-Hemara, from Toi Tangata. Darrio is the creative mind behind He Pi Ka Rere.

For more information about Darrio, visit

Sport Southland chief executive and Healthy Families Invercargill Strategic Leadership Group chairman Brendon McDermott said discussions with early childhood teachers through the Let’s Play Southland network had revealed many wanted more professional development opportunities, particularly with a cultural focus.

“Helping facilitate the network to bring He Pi Ka Rere to the south is one way to not only help build confidence among teachers and those working with children, but also strengthen the understanding of the importance traditional approaches can play in developing a child’s fundamental movement skills.”

Along with it being a great learning opportunity for the wider childhood sector, it also demonstrates fantastic leadership and commitment by local runaka in bringing this approach to the south, he said

The local initiative had been 18 months in the making, and had involved discussions and relationship building between a wide range of organisations, particularly Waihopai Runaka, who were leading it, McDermott said.

Murihiku Marae kaumatua and Healthy Families Invercargill Strategic Leadership Group member Cyril Gilroy said the workshops were an example of collaboration at its finest.

“This is about all of us working together to make our communities healthier places to be and we are very proud to advance this kaupapa Maori approach to make that happen.”

The workshops will be held on July 11 and 12.

Article added: Wednesday 11 July 2018


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