They’re here for two reasons - so that his wife and children can connect with their Rarotongan akapapa, and Warbrick can add to his research on indigenous knowledge relating to health.
Rachel Warbrick was born and raised in Aotearoa, but is Rarotongan. Her great-great grandfather gifted land for the Arorangi school and her great-grandmother was one of its first students.
Her grandmother was Te Pua Morley (nee Soloman).
“I came over when I was younger and my grandmother would show us around. It was very emotional landing this time, knowing she wouldn’t be here. But it has been the coolest thing being looked after by her family,” says Rachel.
“We go to the local church and my kids go to the same school as my grandmother. I just love it here, I love it.”
“Our kids love going to school at Arorangi, we have a great church family, and our community just help each other out. Having people dropping off taro and fruit has been awesome,” says Isaac.
As director of Taupua Waiora Centre for Maori Health Research at Auckland University of Technology, he leads Maori health research projects, supervises Masters and PhD students, and teaches post-graduate classes in Maori ways of approaching health and research.
His research has looked at ways to make exercise culturally relevant, using physical activity as a way to reconnect with the culture and traditional knowledge.
He says during the families’ time here, he hopes they can make a contribution - “whether through my work, the kids school, or just helping in the community where we can.”
And he says they will definitely be back.
“There are just less distractions here and we’re not in such a rush. I’m already planting passionfruit, pawpaw, and soursop around the house, so we will have some more awesome fruit to come back to.”