There is no escaping the moon and its tidal pull and for Jade Kameta this tidal pull has led him to China.

The Healthy Families Rotorua systems innovator is en-route to Shanghai where Kameta (Ngāti Pikiao) hopes the cultural exchange will help connect his work on maramataka with the Chinese knowledge on lunar cycles while also taking part in the Tuko Iho exhibition.

"Healthy Families Rotorua hold a position of working towards normalising traditional practices such as maramataka to environments that increase community wellness where we live, learn, work and play," Kameta said.

"Heading overseas is an opportunity to share mātauranga Māori or Māori systems with China and in return, get a broader understanding of their deep and fascinating culture.

Advertisement

"Whether you are in Aotearoa or China, the effect is the same; there is no escaping the moon and its tidal pull."

Kameta said he would be looking for examples of the lunar calendar being used in a modern context and how it supports health and wellbeing in other cultures.

A collaboration between Healthy Families Rotorua, Te Arawa Maramataka Advisory Group, Te Puia and New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute has seen an increase in opportunities to apply mātauranga Māori across settings such as; workplaces, kura, early childhood centres and local community groups.

In particular, the application of maramataka – the Māori lunar calendar to everyday activities.

More recently, together with the Society of Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART), Healthy Families are preparing to host the next World 'Aimalama Conference 2021 or World Maramataka Conference in Rotorua.

"Healthy Families Rotorua has been working in this space for more than two years and maramataka set the base for Healthy Families NZ's Māori Systems Return approach which has a focus on normalising traditional practices to increase the health and well-being of our communities.

"We believe that innovative practice to attain good health for our communities is embedded in cultural knowledge and concepts of wellbeing," Kameta said.

He believed whānau needed to return to traditional practices and cultural frameworks which sustained whānau in time of challenge and prosperity.

Advertisement

As a result, Kameta has been prototyping maramataka to test whether this system can fit in a modern context while responding to illnesses that impact on our community health and he hopes China will lead him to some answers.