Nau mai, haere mai!
It’s been a while since the last blog post, but I figured I should reintroduce Pēpi Penapena (Cherish Babies), the kauapapa and what I hope to achieve. Since Mum passed away in May, it’s just me now, but vision is the same:
”Every tamaiti, every child, is loved, happy and strong
Our Tūpuna (Ancestors) Were Wonderful Parents and Whānau
Pēpi Penapena (Cherish Babies) is a campaign to promote the parenting practices of our tūpuna, and to connect parents, parents-to-be and whānau with the best of our past. I want to share this kaupapa with all of you.
Devillier, active 1844. [Sainson, Louis Auguste de] b 1801 :Nouvelle Zelande; ceremonie de bapteme. Devillier sculp [Paris 1844]. Ref: A-211-013. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22728764
The Importance of the Early Years
According to our tūpuna, pepi was a taonga (treasure), not just to the parents but the whole kainga (village). According to them:
- Pēpi are from the atua (gods)
- As such, they are spiritual beings, so are tapu (sacred)
- Being tapu, they are not to be harmed
- Pēpi are born with the mana of their tūpuna
- This mana was given to them from their parents
- With this mana, they are to be treated with respect, as any adult would be
All Tamariki Can Achieve Greatness
Our tūpuna believed every pepi was born with the ability to achieve greatness. Tūpuna wrote waiata oriori (soothing songs or lullabies) for their pēpi, talking about the great things they would achieve or qualities they would have.
Early Explorer’s Saw Māori Parenting Before European Influences
We know how our tūpuna treated and raised their pēpi and tamariki from our pūrākau (oral histories), our waiata oriori (traditional lullabies) and from early explorer accounts, like the following:
”There can be no finer children than those of the New Zealanders in any part of the world. Their parents are very indulgent, and they appear always happy and playful and very active.Samuel Marsden, 1820
”One of the finest traits I have noticed in the New Zealanders is that of parental love; the men appear chiefly to nurse their children, and are generally to be seen with one on their back covered up under their matsRichard Taylor, 1839
”... Freedom given children, made them bold, brave and independent in thought and act ... curbing the will of the child by harsh means was thought to tame his spirit, and to check the free development of his natural braveryEdward Shortland, 1840s - 60s
We Have So Much To Learn From Our Tūpuna
Māori were once warriors, but they were even more wonderful parents and whānau too. That is what we remember and that’s what Pēpi Penapena is all about.
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