The 'Paikea Phenomenon'

Right to left: Dr Teina Rongo & Jackie Rongo of Kōrero o te `Ōrau, and Pohau Sean Ellison, Colleen Tuuta, and Ramari Oliphant Stewart (Te Kauika Tangaroa; seated) of Aotearoa , with discussions about whale research by indigenous people from an indigenous perspective.  Photo by: Raetea Rongo.

On 2 May 2018, Dr. Teina Rongo of Kōrero o te `Ōrau had the pleasure of meeting Pohau Sean Ellison, Colleen Tuuta, and Ramari Oliphant-Stewart (Te Kauika Tangaroa; seated) of Aotearoa for discussions on whale research by indigenous people from an indigenous perspective. 

For Ms Oliphant-Stewart, whales have been her lifelong passion that she has been studying for over 40 years.  This trip to Rarotonga is part of the journey dubbed the "Paikea Phenomenon'.  This phenomenon describes the re-connection between Kuki Airani Māori and Aotearoa Māori through the majestic whale, traditionally considered a sacred species by both people.   

Kōrero o te `Ōrau is keen to carry out whale research in the Cook Islands in collaboration with Ms Oliphant-Stewart and colleagues, and we look forward to more dialogue on the next steps of this project.

Writer Jackie Rongo is the Assistant Secretary of Kōrero o te `Ōrau.  For more information on the NGO and to support their work, please email korerooteorau@gmail.com.

© 2019 by Kōrero o te `Ōrau.