Sir Apirana Ngata once said “It is the taiaha of knowledge that will win the battles for Māori in the future.”
When creator Tommy Kapai saw this quote on a TikiTiki East Coast school wall – where he was teaching a creative writing course many moons ago, it was then he took up the challenge to try and create relevant resources to normalize the Māori language.
KOHA is the realisation of many years teaching in well over 200 schools throughout Aotearoa for Kapai, and on Labour day Saturday, the first three toanga/treasures of KOHA will go into 10 Z stations across the Bay of Plenty, with the opportunity to eventually cover all of Z’s 200 plus outlets throughout Aotearoa.
“It seemed a perfect match for a perfect koha/gift being available in a garage, given the game and the colouring book are a resource to teach the correct translation and pronunciation of prominent Māori place names and sites of historical significance”, he said.
The creative genius behind the Indigenous brand is very much a whanau affair. Mother, Andrea Keast has put the stunning graphic designs together and son Milan has complemented his mother’s flare by breathing life into each page of the book with his divine drawings. Milan was also instrumental in much of the game concept of KOHA.
Core Education who are investor/partners in Koha provided a very capable team of Māori researches who captured the essence of what creator Tommy Kapai had in his mind.
A team of 17 talented individuals came together to create a toanga for all of Aotearoa to enjoy the perfect present for Christmas. KOHA is a gift for families to share around the family table.
For Tommy and his team, KOHA is all about opening up the window of understanding of the Māori world by normalizing the language in a Board game and colouring book.
“If it works for us here, we will create a similar range of relevant resources for other indigenous countries across the planet, whose identities have been suffering in silence for far too long”, concluded Tommy.
By Tommy Kapai Wilson, Te Pirirakau, Te Puna
“I write for this magazine because I believe in knowledge; being the best weapon to fight any battle with.”