He’s become a familiar face to many at Ihumātao and although he’s only eight, Korus Tawha is passionate about his work as a Māori warden.
Published: Thursday, 28 November 2019 | Rāpare, 28 Whiringa ā-rangi, 2019
“[I] Take care of my whānau, take care of the Māori wardens, walk around and get them drinks, direct traffic on the road. Got to the marae and help out and to the wharekai (kitchen),” he says.
Korus attends school during the day, then volunteers at Ihumātao in the evening.
“I start at school, when I finish at school I come back here and work till 10pm at night,” he says.
Fellow Māori Warden Thomas Henry says Korus has a way with people which makes them listen to him and follow his instructions, despite his tender years.
“He even tells the senior wardens and the senior wardens listen to him.
“The people just listen to him. He can attract the people and the people will listen to him.”
Mr Henry says Korus is an example of the future of Māori wardens.
“This young boy just stuck with me all day in the rain and, you know, we’ve been trying so hard to get rangatahi (youth) involved with the wardens.
“It took me coming to Ihumātao and doing this and finding this young boy that wants to become a Māori warden.”
Korus says he volunteers because he wants “to hold tight to the authority of Ihumātao, to hold the blood and maintain Māori sovereignty.”