Young, up-and-coming Māori shearer hungry for action

“Ehara ko te tīhore hipi tā te hēpara pai, engari ko te kutikuti kē”

Determined rangatahi Heath Barnsdall (Ngāti Waiora, Ngāti Te Paemate, Ngāti Paretekawa) has overcome the road to recovery due to a shoulder injury from rugby, however, his time on the sideline has ended as he is hungry to do what he loves best, shearing. Athletes can go through tough mental hurdles to prevail over the fear of being hurt again, but Heath understands how the injury happened and has taken the necessary steps to focus on what he can control in order to find his feet again.

Having spent his whole life in Te Piopiotanga o te Rīwai (commonly known as Piopio), the 16 year-old Head Boy of Piopio College has found that his success in the sheds has been attributed to the lifestyle and whānau that he is surrounded by, which heavily involves all things farming and hunting. This has led him to not only the success in the shearing sheds but also the merits of an intelligent academic student leader.

Health and well-being, physically and mentally is paramount for all athletes. Though Heath’s positive outlook and confidence is something that has increased his performance from shearing to academics.


Generations, whānau, and support are crucial factors that have influenced this rangatahi to seek out his passion, though the main driver that keeps Heath hungry is the pure joy and fun of it. Nurturing youthful minds is important and to sustain passion for a sport over the course of a lifetime is to keep a healthy perspective. Heath finds just that as he describes shearing as something that is ‘calming’ and ‘peaceful’ as well as something that brings in a steady earning.

Inspired by his aunty Barbara Ratima Marsh, who was the first Golden Shears Women’s Champion at the 1980 World Championships, Health enjoys both industrious and competitive shearing which has taken him all over Aotearoa. In saying that, he recognises that there has been a decline in generational torch passing of this mahi but finds it a great motivator as he aims to teach qualityshearing to youth and future generations.

As he sets his eyes firmly on the world records, open-mens, and the Golden Shears (NZ Shearing Championships), Heath remains ambitious for various other opportunities to learn, develop, travel, teach, and influence future women and men in the shearing industry.

Explore this kaupapa further by watching the video below.

Te Waihāpuapua Wānanga Reo 2019 ki Te Nehenehenui sets off in Ōtorohanga

“Whakahokia te reo mai i te mata o te pene, ki te mata o te arero”

Te Rautaki Reo a Te Nehenehenui was developed by the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board in 2009 and officially launched and handed to Te Reo Irirangi o Maniapoto at Te Kawau Mārō Hui ā-iwi in 2016 with the purpose of revitalising te reo o Maniapoto, te reo o Te Nehenehenui. Local activities and events like Whīkoi mō te Reo, Annual Kapa Haka Festivals, and local wānanga ā-hapū, ā-whānau continue to advocate the awareness and development of te Te Reo revitalisation in Maniapoto.


Te Reo Irirangi o Maniapoto is pleased to be making advancement by bringing Te Waihāpuapua Wānanga Reo ki Te Nehenehenui for a third consecutive year as it was initiated in 2017. Acknowledging the support provided by Te Mātāwai, there is a gateway for Maniapototanga to flourish and to strive through innovative and collaborative projects such as this.

The first of four wānanga in 2019 took place this past weekend in Kāingarua, Te Kāreti o Ōtorohanga, which allowed the descendants of Te Nehenehenui to reinvigorate and revitalise our language, culture and identity that is uniquely ours and to ensure that it survives into the future.


Four wānanga have been held each year between March and June to coincide with the blossoming and inflorescence of the Koroī berry on the Kahikatea tree. The Kahikatea is one of the key metaphors for the revitalisation of te reo o Ngāti Maniapoto.

Te Reo within Te Nehenehenui is in an unsafe state, according to the 2013 census, 35,358 people, or 5.3 percent of the total population of Māori descent, affiliate with Ngāti Maniapoto. Within that statistic, 25.9% could hold a conversation about everyday things in te reo Māori.

However, all wānanga are facilitated and guided by reo specialist such as Doug Ruki, Okeroa Waitai, Hariru Roa, Te Aturangi Stewart, and Te Ingo Ngaia who stood as teachers for the first wānanga in 2019. There is a strong sense of confidence in the ability of the iwi as they deliver content which is Maniapoto centric and aligns with the iwi reo revitalisation strategy. This endeavor to revitalise our ancestral treasure is reinforced by focusing on developing the three learning levels known as Kākāmutu, Mātaiata, and Mātaiwhetū.

Not only did the tribal language course dissect traditional songs from “Tera te uira” to the contemporary “Kua tinga te ngārara”, but they explored Te Reo Huahuatau o Ngā Tūpuna and Ngā Kupu Whakanikoniko.

Many of the participants comprise largely of Ngāti Maniapoto affiliates who reside in urban and offshore places, though it is hoped that all participants will utilise these wānanga as a medium to further foster, grow, and feed te reo within their own personal spaces.

Explore this kaupapa further by watching the video below or sign up to attend by visiting the MFM pukamata page.