We’re super stoked to have Hohepa join our team as lead educator to teach our tamariki in our first ever official Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) programme. I’ll let him introduce himself:

“Kia Ora koutou katoa, ko Hohepa Waenga toku ingoa, nō Te Tairāwhiti ahau.

Hello everybody my name is Hohepa Waenga. I hail from the very far East Coast area of Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island), from a place called Cape Runaway along State Highway 35 between the townships of Ōpōtiki and Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne). However I was born and raised here in Te Uru o Tāmaki / West Auckland in the suburb of Te Atatū North, now known as Te Atatū Peninsula. My iwi affiliations are Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga. I am also of Cook Island and English decent.

I have been interested in animals and the environment since I was very young – I am known as the animal and nature enthusiast in my whānau and most likely my hapū too. This interest led me to Auckland Zoo in 2011 where I started as a volunteer guide, and ended my journey there at the beginning of this year as an Educator/Volunteer Coordinator. I have also been involved as a volunteer guide on Tiritiri Matangi Island since 2011 as well. It was these two places that grew my passion and love for our own backyard, our own endemic and native species here in Aotearoa NZ. I also have a strong interest in Mātauranga Māori and other indigenous bodies of knowledge. 

I am very excited to join the Matuku Link whānau as your new Lead Educator. 

Can’t wait to meet you all over the coming few months.”

I’m sure you all will give him the same warm welcome as we have (including baking, if possible!)  next time you meet. And if you’re interested in joining our team of volunteer educators, please contact me or him via email here.

Annalily & trustees.