Sharing stories of Whāngai

Whāngai is a traditional Māori practice where a child is raised by someone other than their birth parents.

Whāngai can be for any number of reasons as Darrin Haimona and Maraea Teepa discussed in March’s Taki Kōrero.

Darrin shared his own experiences of whāngai. He said when he heard that his sister was considering giving her child to an aunt, who’d asked to whāngai his niece, he asked instead if he could. Darrin said he pushed the closeness of their relationship to give him priority.

“I think the consideration at that time was that my sister and her husband had a number of children and being able to meet the needs of all these children fully, all the time, could be quite a struggle.” Darrin explained.

Whāngai as a way of strengthening whakapapa

As well as whāngai being a way to share the challenges of raising a number of children, it can also be used as a way to strengthen whakapapa links for a child. Often grandparents will whāngai mokopuna as in Darrin’s case where he was a tamaiti whāngai to his grandparents.

“I got to experience what it was like to contribute to a wider kaupapa than just myself”

#TakiKōrero Facebook Live Q&A sessions take place every month. Each session focuses on different parenting experiences and allows whānau and communities to put their questions to our different guests.


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Navigating roles in whāngai

Adoption and whāngai