Davina Thompson wins Student Award

Toi Tangata looks to foster and build capacity in the sector through three workforce development awards. These awards aim to support the growth and leadership of Māori innovation within nutrition and physical activity.

The Student Award is one of these accolades which is aimed at students studying, working or whom have a keen interest in mātauranga Māori approaches to nutrition and physical activity. At the Toi Tangata Hui-ā-Tau held in February this year, the Student Award was presented to Davina Thompson in recognition of her leadership and drive in all areas related to Māori health and wellbeing.

Having worked in the areas of both physical activity as a Cross Fit instructor and judge, and nutrition within her community maara in Matata, Davina is a worthy recipient.

“I like to think of myself as a servant for our whenua and whānau,” she says of her mahi.

“You develop an intimate relationship with our Atua, with maramataka. You learn each of their characteristics then learn to apply this to the mahi in the maara and mahi kai. It’s a beautiful connection. We learn to love the rain Ranginui gives to Papatuanuku to sustain her and her child Rongomaraeroa. The rain, followed by the wiri of Tamanuiterā, will result in the love Rangi has with Papa by delivering an abundance of growth in the hua whenua.

Because we live next to the moana we utilise the vegetables of Tangaroa ie – kina shells and seaweed, and apply it to our gardens as fertiliser; this formula never fails to provide nourishment to the maara. We learn to live as one with our ecosystem. With this we then provide to our whānau, marae, hapu and community. We are honouring it as it was in the days of our tipuna.”

“I found the Hui-ā-Tau very powerful. To get all our passionate people in one spot- and a powerful spot at that- sharing and building on one another’s knowledge and whakaaro built an energy that I found liberating; so much so that my tamariki did not want to leave. It gave me enough fuel to come home and apply to my mahi and my visions.”

And her visions are considerable. “My goal is to be able to live sustainably in our beautiful village of Matata. To own a shop in Matata which will sell what we grow to our customers. Also to teach our tamariki and rangatahi all I know through wānanga, fitness and nga taonga tuku iho. I would love to strengthen our tamariki and rangatahi physically and mentally through all the mātauranga I have acquired.”

“I have always loved the kaupapa Toi Tangata has, so to be awarded the Tauira award was like a tohu for me to carry on with what I’m doing. To know I have the support and ongoing mātauranga from Toi Tangata means a lot. I do the bulk of my mahi alone or with my father so to have Toi Tangata here is a blessing.”

We look forward to following your journey, Davina. Mauri ora!

Nā Toni Pivac