Living by the Moon sets out and discusses the maramataka or lunar month and the way the days and nights were understood according to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui tribal knowledge. Te Whānau-ā-Apanui ancestors were dependent on the environment, and this led them to closely study the changes and cycles in nature so they could ensure their survival in their tribal area.
Knowledge of aspects such as the sea conditions and best planting and harvesting times at each day of the month were carefully observed and remembered, and community activities were arranged according to the phases of the moon.
Wiremu Tāwhai (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa) was a teacher of language and culture, a scholar, an author, actor and a broadcaster. An elder of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, he learned traditional knowledge from a young age and was acknowledged as an expert on oral literature and marae protocols and an authority on maramataka, the Māori calendar.
Wiremu travelled widely throughout his life and taught in London, working with mentally damaged and immigrant children. He later lectured at Te Whare Wānangā o Awanuiārangi on early education, Māori environmental science and technology, and Māori language and kaupapa.
Wiremu served on the Arts Council of New Zealand (Te Waka Toi), was a member of advisory committees to the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science. He was a member of Te Hau Mihi Ata (Waikato University Māori Environmental Scientists Group), was on the Trust Board of Enviroschools.
Wiremu was awarded the Senior Researcher Award 2009 from Te Whare Wānangā o Awanuiārangi and a Tā Kingi Ihaka Award 2009 from Te Waka Toi. In 2010 he finished his MA degree and appeared 150 times on Whatukura for Māori Television.
Wiremu passed away in December 2010.
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