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Tohunga Mark Kopua.png


Ko Maruaterangi te maunga

Ko Hikuwai te awa

Ko Horouta te waka

Ko Ngati Kahukuranui te hapū

Te Aitanga a Hauiti te iwi

Mark was raised in Mangatuna by his old people and is considered a historian by his East Coast tribes. He is renowned for his expertise as a master carver and spent 44 years in carving, which includes completing seven ancestral meeting houses. Mark has dedicated 31 years of working at the forefront of modern Moko (traditional Māori tattoo) and has trained several moko artists while still continuing to work as a moko artist and design consultant.


Mark has been employed in many national and international roles. One unique role has been his involvement in Moko Ihorei (tattooed head) repatriation work and domestic and international provenance of traditional Māori carvings. For many years he was the board member of the national Māori art advocacy, Toi Māori. Mark, for 40 years, has accepted the invitation to judge the regional kapahaka (Tamararo) and 13 years as a national judge for Matatini.


He first began his journey in mental health services in 2012 as a cultural advisor/worker for a community Māori mental health services in Porirua. He is a confident facilitator and his approach to healing is celebrated by communities as he embraces his unique skills as a storyteller and keeper of ancient Māori knowledge and whakapapa. He held the position as Tohunga (expert) for 'Te Kūwatawata' - a groundbreaking Māori designed mainstream mental health service. Together with his wife, Dr. Diana Kopua, Mark has created 'Te Kurahuna' - a whare wānanga (training institute) where practitioners learn indigenous knowledge in a unique and authentic way.

Abstract: Te Kurahuna - Mahi a Atua is the deployment of Mātauranga Māori, Pūrākau, Feedback Informed Treatment and associated techniques and knowledge that support this paradigm shift
As the founder and Manukura of Te Kurahuna: Mahi a Atua, Diana will share Te Kurahuna’s vision, strategy and outcomes as they expand to create social impact. 

The point of difference for Te Kurahuna is ‘pūrakau.’ This trademark is woven into Te Kurahuna - Mahi a Atua strategy creating new opportunities with iwi Māori and communities to reconceptualise distress, confidently design and implement frameworks and strategies that affirm Māori whakapapa and achieve whānau ora.  
Te Kurahuna Co-Manukura Tohunga Mark Kopua will discuss the significant change that occurred in both Te Tairawhiti and Hauraki through the implementation of Mahi-a-Atua. The solution was big and it needed to be with a deliberate purpose to revolutionise the system. It took courage, space and time. Time to delve deeper, look harder and support communities to bring together both clinical and cultural expertise. While many stayed working with certitude, in ways that were familiar about what change would mean to them, a group of Mataora (change agents) forged ahead.

Listen more about Diana and Mark's work here.

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