Dean Gage

Tonganui Scholarship Recipient 2021

Successful funding recipient Deane Gage (Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngati Maniapoto, Tainui) utilised his Tonganui Scholarship funding to also deliver a community-based venture in the shape of a three-day kaimoana gathering wānanga held earlier this year.

Gage grew up diving and fishing in the Te Whānau a Apanui and Whānau a Pararaki hapū, learning those practices and customs by his parents, grandparents and extended whānau.

“Growing up, I thought everyone knew how to gather kai, how to fillet a fish, how to open a kina,” he says. “As a kid, you learn all these things that you take for granted.”

He applied this knowledge to his master’s thesis at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, researching mātauranga behind gathering kai from the ocean, and developed the wānanga programme to help connect people to the ocean and land, with an emphasis on practising tikanga.

In January, the free wānanga held in Te Tai Rāwhiti saw around thirty people, aged from two years to 55 years plus, learning the customs and protocols of fishing, diving, and hunting., customs, and protocols. Through both practical and theory modules, the program was aimed at ensuring food security and sovereignty for Gage’s community as well as and improving the mana of local rangatahi through being of value to their iwi, hapū, whānau and kaumātua.