Waiti, J.T.A. and Awatere, S., 2019. Kaihekengaru: Māori surfers' and a sense of place. In: Bryan, K.R. and Atkin, E.A. (eds.), Surf Break Management in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 87, pp. 35-43. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The unique relationship that Māori have with nature and the environment is a topic that has received much interest. There is however a lack of investigation into the oceanscape, and in particular to surfing and a sense of place among Māori wave riders (Kaihekengaru). Kaihekengaru provide a unique perspective of ‘place’, as surfing involves direct engagement with nature and intimate human interactions with diverse coastal environments and peoples.
This study involved an online survey and key informant interviews with Māori who regularly surf their local surfbreaks. The results suggest that for some Māori surfers a deep sense of place prevails with the environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, and that this sense of place manifests an array of thoughts and feelings related to spiritual, affective, familial, physical and cognitive perceptions. A sense of place for the participants in this study drew on Mātauranga Māori and a Māori worldview. Underpinning these experiences of place was the concept of whakapapa and its influence on environmental attachments, Ātua engagements, and ancestral connections. In a wider sense, the implications of these findings highlight the need to ensure that these oceanscapes, surfbreaks, and associated landmarks are maintained for the future benefit of all New Zealanders'.