Ramari Stewart (Ngāti Awa) is a renowned tohunga tohorā, based in the small village of Ōkārito in Te Waipounamu.
She has had a life-long affinity with whales, having learned mātauranga from an early age with her parents and wider whānau. From observing and learning about live whales, to leading the recovery of stranded whales, she has spent decades keeping our customary practices alive.
In this episode Ramari shares with us her passion for the ocean, for the taiao and all that lives within it. She teaches us the power of observation and encourages us to think about succession planning for the survival of our culture. We celebrate a world first with the recent naming of the Ramari beaked whale, the only species in the world named after a wahine. And Ramari reminds us that while her main kaupapa has been whales, there is a lot more to her than the huge mammals that grace our oceans.
I asked my father where the humpbacks went; he pointed out to Whakaari offshore and said, “Go that way to Rangitāhua, the Kermadecs and Tonga, then turn right.”
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