Tapuwaekura is a kaupapa, and a group of educators who reconnect people to natural environments.
The name Tapuwaekura is taken from karakia hiki tapuwae, literally meaning ‘red footsteps’ or 'fleet of foot'. Tapuwaekura delivers an Atua Matua model of engaging with the environment initiated by Dr Ihirangi Heke in 2007. He proposed that western models of health engagement did not work for Māori and that Māori needed to reconnect with their own world view to ensure sustainable thinking and practice in health and well being.
The Atua Matua approach connects health and Māori concepts of the environment. In essence, it helps Māori recognise their historical connection to the environment that has sustained Māori for centuries. Its’ primary focus is on mātauranga taiao, Māori environmental knowledge, with an important, albeit, incidental, focus on health and physical activity.
Tapuwaekura supports Māori medium and kaupapa Māori kura and kaiako to implement this approach through whakapapa and mātauranga Māori to connect tamariki to taiao (environment) for better health and wellbeing outcomes.