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From our beginnings, the story of AKA Education Group has been growth.  Growth as an organisation, incorporating a wider and wider range of providers, has brought with it a growth of understanding and a widening of perspective, embracing the diversity of our courses and the diverse students that come with them, while also recognising our roots and groundedness in Aotearoa and what makes us unique. 


It is for this reason that we are known as ‘AKA’ – te reo for ‘vine’, a plant that draws life from the earth and, with support, grows towards the light. 


The next step in our growth is to foster and nurture a distinctly AKA tikanga (culture / agreed set of customs, meanings, ways of acting).  To do this we proudly introduce ‘Sow Nurture Grow’.  This strategy aims to build a unique AKA culture by fostering an environment that recognises the importance of honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and tikanga Māori in our everyday operations, while also raising awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultures represented by our staff and student body, and the communities we engage with. 


The first step of this strategy is to ‘sow’ the seeds – to build both staff and student capability to integrate a range of karakia (non-denominational prayer used to invoke guidance and protection) and waiata (songs) into our daily practice, along with individual pepeha (introduction / story of the places and people you are connected to) and simple mihi (greetings). 


From this basis we will nurture our and grow our capability as we more fully integrate this tikanga into the daily life and culture of our schools. 


We are excited to start this journey and look forward to sharing its progress with you. 

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At AKA we use karakia timatanga (opening a meeting/class) for establishing a respectful atmosphere aligning participants with the goal of the meeting or class. 

We use karakia whakamutunga (closing a meeting/class) for acknowledging the purpose of the meeting/class and sending participants on their way.

We use karakia mō te kai to bless food we are about to eat. 

Our karakia are non-denominational.

Karakia Timatanga
(To open a meeting or start the day)

Karakia TimatangaTeam AKA
00:00 / 00:17

Whakataka te hau ki te uru

Whakataka te hau ki te tonga

Kia mākinakina ki uta

Kia mātaratara ki tai

E hī ake ana te atakura

He tio, he huka, he hau hū

Tīhei mauri ora!

Cease the winds from the west

Cease the winds from the south

Let the breeze blow over the land

Let the breeze blow over the ocean

Let the red-tipped dawn come with a sharpened air

A touch of frost, a promise of a glorious day.

Karakia Whakamutunga
(To close a meeting or close the day)

Karakia WhakamutungaTeam AKA
00:00 / 00:19

Unuhia, unuhia

Unuhia ki te uru tapu nui

Kia wātea, kia māmā, te ngākau, te tinana, te wairua i te ara tangatā

Koia rā e Rongo, whakairia ake ki runga

Kia tina! TINA! Hui e! TĀIKI E!

Draw on, Draw on,

Draw on the supreme sacredness

To clear, to free the heart, the body and the spirit of mankind

Rongo, suspended high in the heavens

Draw together! Affirm

Karakia mō te kai
(To bless food)

Karakia mō te kaiTeam AKA
00:00 / 00:24

Nau mai e ngā hua

o te wao

o te ngakina

o te wai tai

o te wai Māori

Nā Tane

Nā Rongo

Nā Tangaroa

Nā Maru

Ko Ranginui e tū iho nei

Ko Papatūānuku e takoto nei

Tuturu whakamaua

Kia tina! TINA! Hui e! TĀIKI E! I

Welcome the gifts of food

From the sacred forest

From the cultivated gardens

From the sea

From the fresh waters

The food of Tane

Of Rongo

Of Tangaroa

Of Maru

I acknowledge Ranginui who is above me,

Papatuanuku who lies beneath me

Let this be my commitment to all

Draw together, Affirm


A Ha Ka Ma
(Pronunciation Waiata)

A ha ka ma

A ha ka ma na pa ra ta wa nga wha

E he ke me

E he ke me ne pe re te we nge whe

I hi ki mi

I hi ki mi ni pi ri ti wi ngi whi

O ho ko mo

O ho ko mo no po ro to wo ngo who



U hu ku mu

U hu ku mu nu pu ru tu wu ngu whu.

Tutira mai nga iwi

Tūtira mai ngā iwi,

tātou tātou e

Tūtira mai ngā iwi,

tātou tātou e

Whai-a te marama-tanga,

me te aroha - e ngā iwi!

Ki-a ko tapa tahi,

Ki-a ko-tahi rā

Tātou tātou e


Tā-tou tā-tou e E!!

Hi aue hei!!!

Line up together people

All of us, all of us

Stand in rows people

All of us, all of us

Seek after knowledge

and love of others - everyone

Think as one

Act as one

All of us, all of usAll of us, All of us!!

Hi aue hei !!!

Te Aroha

Te aroha

Te whakapono

Te rangimarie

Tātou, tātou e




For us all

Te ArohaTeam AKA
00:00 / 00:21

Ehara i te mea

Ehara i te mea

Nō inaianei te aroha

Nō ngā tupuna

I tuku iho, i tuku iho

This is not a new thing,


It is handed down from our ancestors

Ehara i te meaTeam AKA
00:00 / 00:17


A pepeha serves to introduce oneself by sharing ancestral connections, place of origin, and significant landmarks, grounding individuals within their Māori cultural identity.  This is how Māori make connections to each other.  Non-Māori can also use pepeha to introduce themselves, and share their ancestral connections. 

Pepeha can be as basic or extensive as the individual would like.  Pepeha is also used as part of a mihi. 

Watch this video to learn more about Pepeha. 


Here is the structure of a Basic Pepeha (some also refer to this as a mihi) 

Tēna koutou katoa  

Ko ____________ te māunga 

Ko ____________ te awa/roto/moana 

Ko ____________ te waka 

Ko ____________ tōku iwi 

Nō ____________ ahau 

Ko ____________ tōku ingoa 

No reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna koutou katoa 


Greetings to you all 

The mountain that I connect to is _________________________ 

The river/lake/sea that I connect to is ____________________ 

The waka that I connect to is ____________________________  

My tribe is _____________________________ 

I am from _____________________________ 

My name is ____________________________ 

Therefore, greetings again 

Here are some other possible pepeha for Pākeha and Tauiwi (non-Māori), you may choose from either - whichever resonates with you the most - but keep in mind to start and end with a greeting. 


(Credits: Auckland Public Libraries)

Tēna koutou katoā

Nō____________ ōku tīpuna  

Ko ____________ rāua ko____________ ōku kaumatua 

I tipu ake au ki ____________

E noho ana au ki ____________ 

Ko tēnei taku mihi ki ngā tāngata whenua o te rohe nei

Ka mihi hoki au ki ngā tohu o te rohe nei

Nō reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna koutou katoa 


My ancestors are from _________________________ 

 ___________ and ______________ are my grandparents 

I grew up in________________________ 

I live in __________________________ 

I acknowledge the indigenous people of this area

I acknowledge the important landmarks of this area

Therefore, greetings again


(Credits: Auckland Public Libraries)

Tēna koutou katoa

Ko____________ te maunga e rū nei taku ngākau

Ko____________ te awa e mahea nei aku māharahara

Nō ___________ ahau

E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o __________ e noho nei au

Nō reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna koutou katoa 


_____________ is the mountain that speaks to my heart

_____________ is the river that alleviates my worries

I am from ___________

I recognise the ancestral and spiritual landmarks of ______________ where I live

Therefore, greetings again

Image by Michael Jerrard
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