In 2001 John Vercoe and Te Ururoa Flavell were accompanying the Māori tauira nurses Hui from Waiariki to Nelson. Their whakaaro was, “when you have annual hui around the motu like this tauira Hui, there is the Mauri of the hui that needs to be ritualistically moved from hui to hui and this Mauri needs to be housed / represented by a physical form”.
It was at this Hui that Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori o Aotearoa declared their intention to once again umbrella the Hui to ensure that tikanga was accorded its rightful place and to move the tauira past their grievance mode into the more creative and positive mode to talk about their achievements.
In 2003 a taonga was selected and blessed in Ihenga prior to the commencement of the National Māori student Nurses Hui that was held in Rotorua. Korero around a name for the waka Huia was that the taonga should have a name that reflected/encompassed/included what the Kaunihera envisaged when it reclaimed the tauira Hui and hence “Te Mokopuna Ātaahua o Te Kaunihera” was chosen.
Te Kaunihera presented the waka huia at the 2003 Hui for the purpose of carrying the Mauri between each Hui. The waka huia is therefore the spiritual receptacle of all things Te Kaunihera are about as a roopu and for the hui; all things past, present and future that pertain to this Māori tauira Nurses hui are spiritually kept in this waka huia.
In 2003 the waka huia received the following badges; Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori and one from Waiariki to start this new journey. Since then Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) have added theirs at Hauiti marae.
A recommendation was made at the Nelson Hui that the hosts of the previous Hui would take the Mauri to the next Hui and lead the tauira ope onto the marae e.g. kāi karanga and kaikōrero. Now with Te Kaunihera o Ngā Neehi Māori supporting the Hui, both roopu will join together and umbrella those tauira roopu who do not have speakers.