our news

Master's Graduate, Tibble Pou, on sharing her methodology with the iwi

Ko Hikurangi te maunga

Ko Waiapu te awa

Ko Hiruharama, Taharora, Karuwai me Te-Poho-o-Rawiri ngā marae

Ko Te Aitanga-ā-Mate, Te Whānau-ā-Rakairoa, Te Whānau-ā-Karuwai me Ngāti Oneone ngā hapū

Ko Nukutaimemeha te waka

Ko Porourangi te tangata, Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi

Ko Karaitiana Te Amotawa Tibble-Pou ahau

Ko Morgan Kaiaio Te Ehutu Tibble-Pou taku mātāmua kaingākau

Ko Arni Tuketenui Tibble-Pou taku pōtiki rakaraka


Congratulations on your recent tohu, Karaitiana! Can you please tell us what you have achieved and what that consisted of?

Te Hono ki Toi (Poutiriao) | Master of Professional Creative Practice. ‘Rukuhia Tō Ora’ was the name of my project which means dive into your own wellbeing. The famous waiata oriori, Kia Tapu Hoki Koe, composed by the ancestress, Hinekitawhiti, informed and inspired me to showcase an installation of tipuna photographs with silhouette paintings and holographic kapa performance work – collectively termed by the artist as, oriori tā-waiwaiā.


How was your journey towards your Master’s degree?

We had Gabrielle and we had COVID, so I’ve only just graduated from EIT Tairāwhiti Toihoukura this year. My tutor is in Hawkes Bay where the campus was flooded out during the cyclone, so graduation kept being pushed out. The effects here and the effects over there kept pushing it back. I was in my last year of my Master’s when I started [with Te Hiringa Matua] which worked out well.


Does your studies have any relevance to your day to day mahi?

This job was made for me. It kind of freaked me out how in line my methodology is with my mahi. I want to collect data to be able to use and push my methodology further. Oriori tā-waiwaiā helps me to process māmā [and actually pāpā as well] to help them express their deep and repressed emotions. It’s all about emotions, because a lot of the oranga in our whānau is based off when traumatic events happen, and then they let it sit there, and it never comes out or they don’t have the words to express what’s really sitting there so my methodology helps them bring it out without words. I call it Rongoā Māori because it’s Māori, and it’s my Rongoā.


What does your day to day mahi look like? Do you apply your methodology with clients and how receptive are they to it?

With the arts – we do a lot. How I run my sessions is that we sit and we kōrero. Nine times out of ten, I can feel that our whānau are feeling somewhat heavy, so I allow them to be a part of the process. A lot of people freak because they say they aren’t artists, but it’s not about the end result, it’s about the process. It’s how you manage yourself throughout the process. So I get them to jump on a canvas, and say “I’d like to express yourself based on the kōrero you just gave, with colour. So whatever colour resonates with whatever emotion for you, use it.” It’s about talking from the wairua and expressing yourself through colour because we are very good at controlling things, so I don’t like to let them draw an actual figure. A lot of people go inward, in to their mind and think “this is ugly” but it’s not about that, it’s about how you navigate yourself throughout the process. For example, I have a whānau that could only draw one line at a time. It took them ages to do one colour, one line, at a time. I said to them “I wonder what would happen if you grabbed another colour and went straight through it with a line in a different colour” which caused so much anxiety for them. What I learnt from this was that this person was quite OCD. I left the suggestion with them and walked away. After giving them some space, I returned to the canvas full of squiggles and they were just having the time of their lives. What it allows is for whānau to break out of the constraints of ‘everything has to be perfect’ or a certain way, and allowing your wairua to show you what’s happening at it’s purest form. Giving yourself permission to be okay with how everything falls, and allowing yourself to be your authentic self. Whānau can be scared at the start if they’ve never done anything with paint before, but eventually they get in to it. I think they like it because a lot of the time, whānau don’t have the words to share what they’re feeling, but you don’t have to tell me, I can read it from your painting just based on the colours you chose. I break it down to 7 sessions, where the first 3 are intimate so you can get an understanding of the process, and the last 4 sessions are open to more māmā. By then, they also understand that they’re learning how to process their art. ‘What do you feel when you used that colour, what do you resonate this colour with?’ Some even paint their feelings around their addictions and there’s so much joy there. It’s about allowing that mamae to come out so you’re not sitting in it. They can bring their whānau along as well. It is a māmā, pēpi methodology that I base my mahi off, but since writing it, I’ve learnt that it’s not just for māmā but also pāpā, whānau, etc. The point of it is to try find ways to heal your trauma without sex, drugs, and alcohol. Finding better ways to heal and look after yourself for your babies.

I’ve only been using oriori tā-waiwaiā here [at Te Hiringa Matua]. I’ve tried to use oriori to accompany [my mahi] but I’ve realised a lot of our whānau can’t go back past their grandparents. With oriori, you’re trying to liken your child to an ancestor, a chiefly ancestor. But a lot of our whānau struggle to go back. This was something that came up during my methodology. In some sessions, whānau and I have adapted after the realisation that whānau can’t go back to their illustrious ancestors. We go back to the grandparents they can name, so we can still go through the process and work around what they do know. A lot of it is disconnection.

I also do mirimiri and healing which I combine with the arts. It’s also mirimiri with kōrero, so I take my skills to the table. I’ve never had any training in that form, but I know what to say. I’ve had some characters come see me for mirimiri and their bodies tell me a lot about them without them having to say it. I’ve learnt to ask open ended questions to allow more kōrero to flow. For me, it’s all about mental clarity. To remove themselves from their turmoil, to stand back, and look from a different point of view. Some people can sit in their hara until they die, but we don’t need to. You just need to hongi your shadows. Stop, acknowledge your shadows, it brings you power to really see who you are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can’t look at those parts of you, how are you supposed to find any oranga.

It also takes time. It takes building trust. If you don’t have trust, there’s no way of pulling down those barriers with whānau. Once they’ve got a gage of me through the first 3 sessions, they’re covered by light. Even if you come in here fuelled with darkness, they feel the light from me and I try to be that for them, and create a comfortable space. A lot of those barriers get broken down straight off the bat when you introduce yourself, it’s the whanaungatanga.

I’ve taken my art practice to Huarahi Pae. When you have an understanding on colour and how it transforms into emotion, I can read depths about what people have gone through, acknowledge them, allow them the space to actually talk about their shadows, the things that have hurt them, and apologising to them too. I’m not the person they want to hear it from, but at least someone has said it. Sometimes when I’ve said it, they’ve just broken down.


What inspired your methodology?

Before my studies, I already knew I loved art but I was disconnected, living in Australia. I decided to come home, had my oldest son, and was able to cross credit into the second year of Toihoukura because of my past studies at South Seas Film School. In my third year, it was COVID lockdown and I was pregnant. I finished off my Bachelor’s degree but it was hectic - I gave birth without my whānau because of the COVID lockdown. They had to see baby through a window for 7 weeks, and my big son was away from his brother and I. Afterwards, I went straight back into my studies and painting with baby in the front pack. That’s when I came up with the methodology.

If I can make it through some hellish times, how can I give that support I needed to our whānau. A lot of it is lived experiences. Healing and understanding the experiences that I went through, so I can use it to help whānau. I want whānau to see that if you put the effort and work in to who you are, and your oranga, you can be like me. I started my Bachelor’s in 2019, it’s now 2024, so if you think of it as ‘in 5 years you could be here.’ You could be living in hell right now, but it’s about having someone to help you through these spaces. I made this decision 5 years ago, and I’m finally standing on the other side thinking ‘who would have thought?’ It tells me I can make a goal in 5 years and I can attain it.

It’s a Master of Arts but I also feel it moves into wellbeing, and it’s all around Ngāti Porou knowledge. It’s all for our people. One of many tools for our whānau to use on their hauora journey. I went on this journey to become a better mum, a more present mum, a more healed mum, a more interactive mum, a more loving mum for my kids. Being there isn’t enough, it’s about being able to mirimiri our kids towards their full potential or to fufill what they’re in this lifetime to achieve. A lot of our kids are just existing, and we need to be more intentional.


How do you unwind from such big mahi?

I have my own process of how I cleanse myself, but in saying that, our whare can be heavy at times. Because I do what I do, I’ve practiced over the years ways of keeping myself clean and clear of the hara. People do think that because I’m so light, that I can’t handle the dark, but little do you know. I’ve done the work to allow my wairua to be light.


Do many of the whānau you work with uncover hara that they weren’t aware they even had?

Yes - so many light bulb moments, and they’re my favourite things to watch. When we’re doing these sessions, we allow space and time for people. If you’re feeling triggered, there’s always someone to speak to. One of our clients was getting mad because we had them painting rocks, and he just did not see the point. He got up, walked out, went for a smoke, then came back. We explained that it’s not about the end result of the painted rock, but the process and the way you control that situation. By walking away and taking the time to calm down instead of flipping the table -that’s something you can apply in your everyday life. Take a moment and walk away. How you deal with things in this activity, is how you would deal with it in real life. It’s confronting. Allowing them to feel it all. Confronting yourself and allowing yourself to go there. It’s only one tool in the grand scheme of things, but it’s another tool of healing. Giving them the tools to navigate hara. It’s your wairua telling you what you’re sitting with, now let it go.


Where do you see yourself going forward?

I want to do my PHD. I want to further my understanding of my methodology. I want to use it as it’s specific to Ngāti Porou, because of the referencing that I’ve used in my exegesis. I want to further it into the world, and have indigenous cultures use this methodology based on their art practices. I don’t just see it staying in Ngāti Porou or New Zealand. I’m excited that it was born in this space when I was working for my iwi. We’re a breakthrough space, leading a lot [in the health sector]. That’s what I like about finishing my Master's and already working for Ngāti Porou Oranga. That it’s somewhat been born at home. Within our services, within our iwi, used with our iwi first and then hopefully can be used as an example for other iwi and ethnicities.

I also want to get my tickets for mirimiri this year. I don’t have any but for me it’s Taonga Tuku Iho.


Any acknowledgements you’d like to make?

My tutor, Chris Bryant-Toi. I can’t thank him enough. I’m proud to have had him as my tutor - he climbed mountains to get us over the line.

To the whānau at Te Hiringa Matua - thank you for supporting me in the last few weeks of finishing my Master's.

To my good friend Leilani, to my friend Maiangi, to my cousin Crystal, to my cousins Bubba, Hekia, Renee and Tarsh, to my Nan Heni Karaitiana, to Aunty Ange, to Uncle Mark, to my sister Piata, and to my mum Rhonda Tibble*


*extracted from Tibble-Pou’s exergesis

Back to News