Aotearoa Hip Hop Academy
“He piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha, Waikato taniwha rau…”
As the famous saying from the Waikato goes; “He Piko, He Taniwha’ or, at every bend of the river lies a Taniwha. This Tainui proverb is similar to our life experiences, where, as we go through life, there are often bends in our journey where Taniwha may appear, however instead of a watery monster, these Taniwha often appear as an internal hardship, such as grief, sadness, mamae or confusion.
Many youths these days are unsure how to work with this internal Taniwha when it raises its head. Unresolved anguish or grief can lead to an increased risk of depression, whakamomori or suicidal thoughts.
A large group of Rangatahi in the Waikato have shown interest and gravitated towards the art of rap and spoken word as a way of expressing themselves and reflecting on the world around them. The Aotearoa Hip Hop Academy, based in the Waikato, is an initiative targeted at rangatahi, many of whom struggle with their inner emotions and find it hard to have their voice heard.
The Aotearoa Hip Hop Academy initiative has a holistic approach to preventing suicide utilising the therapeutic aspects of voice and movement as a way of releasing emotions.
This particular programme, delivered by MC Ngakoma Conner (from Four Corners), is a free 16-week MC rap course, aimed also at enhancing the wellbeing of rangatahi living in Enderley.
This programme teaches participants how to release their inner Taniwha utilising rap and spoken word. This is also a way of sharing experiences with other rangatahi in a way they can understand and relate to.
*This Community initiative is proudly supported by Te Au (and Te Rau Ora) through the Māori Suicide Prevention Fund (2020-2021).