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I would have loved to have gone up to Ngaruwahia to the Tangi of Te Arikinui, Atairangikahu…in my condition I would be a burden to my whanau.
When I was nineteen, at the coronation…I was at the back with our whanau hosting the endless crowds…it was all day in the sink doing dishes…I remember the sinks were made up from a folded sheet of galvanized iron, clever.
For quite some time a young woman was sharing my sink…when she was called away one of my aunties said, “Do you know who was your dishes-mate?”
My seventieth…an excuse to get the whanau together. I hopped in quick in case they cooked up a Valentines…I know it’s easier but there’s nothing to compare a proper whanau do…more work but that’s what it’s about getting to know each other.
I asked my sister Babara if we could start with a Kawe Mate…for her to bring a photo of Raewyn…there was a funeral but hardly any of the whanau knew about it.
The bringing of Raewyn on to her marae with putatara…karanga….powhiri was very special…Afterwards my sister Babara and her daughter Brenda were invited to tell us about Raewyn…as we didn’t really know her…they couldn’t…even though she’d passed away almost twenty years ago…the words couldn’t come out…it was special to share that moment.
This morning we had 175 Tamariki from Island Bay School …innocent and precious are the words that spring to mind…it is important to us their short stay is a positive, informative Maori experience.
They come to study construction. I explained; we maori personify everything…our whare have names…they are ancestors who shelter us…we know they are wood and windows like your houses but to us they are much more.
‘Amongst you, who has the most beautiful heart…one who is kind, who is helpful and giving?’ They quickly picked someone out. I pointed to a central column in the whare, ‘That person you picked would be this column…except we wouldn’t call it column…too clinical, no poetry…it would be The Pou Tokomanawa…The heart.’
We have just had a Tangi…a dear Maori Kuia of 76. Her whanau came from far and wide.
What beautiful people…says something about her. The whanau swung into gear giving her a proper send off…it is so moving and complete.
It was special to have her at our Marae…
For me; something to look forward to.
We had a busy time over the holidays. To me…the most interesting hui was a group of young women from Somalia and Iran…some of them complete with their mask like head-gear. I could tell right from the outset for most of them...their culture would make it difficult for them to hongi. So at the Powhiri I said, we believe strongly in our culture that helps us to respect your culture. I am going to invite you up to hongi. It means we touch noses…now that may cut across your culture so if you don't want to hongi I will know and will not try to hongi. For being Maori is also about celebrating being different. They were here four days...and enjoyed their noho marae
June 27th at 4.30 am…saw my babies and I perched high on top of Tangi Te Keo (Mt Victoria) preparing to celebrate The 2006 Matariki.
We were fighting the ice breath straight from The South Pole…it was hard going until our wahi ahi (sacred fire) kicked in…a fiery blaze gathered us into a tight circle…waiting for 5 am and perhaps others to join…we were high above the fiords of Te Whanganui-a-tara ...over to the east the bright moon lit up fresh white dusting on the tops of Orongorongo …far away to the north, Rimutaka and Tararua Mountains with glimpses of their pure white peaks through gaps in the clouds…from our high place the Hutt Valley appeared to be flowing out of the mountains as an avalanche of many colored lights twinkling their way to the sea…’diwali,’ said my half Indian kids.
Way below in Wellington City The Official Matariki Celebrations were about to start…we couldn’t afford the parking fee and much preferred our free mountain top and our outdoor cathedral.
Others did turn up…via ora Whaea all the way from Wainuiomata …later on early morning runners stopped warming their hands…one pakeha wishing us happy Matariki…we each threw a stick of wood on our fire with a prayer…celebrating the finish of the old and the beginning of the new…a stick was thrown on as an act of solidarity ‘joining us with Pita ma and all those families who have suffered from this terrorism’…another stick mentioned ‘where the terrorism really started’…another stick saying ‘how we are all joined by whakapapa’…and yet another saying ‘in spite of continued efforts to disband our whanauness here we are battered, yet strong’…and yet another, ‘we’re all effected because we’re all one big whanau.’
Puanga (the baby) was the only star we saw
I feel the cold deep down…it must be due to my age and how they’ve thinned my blood down so much I could easy be a fish. Next door in dinning room The Whanau have lit a fire and all the littlese are playing and prancing around like new born-lambs.
Whaea Halima is making a soup…I’ll take my drum (given to me by White Hawke) and start beating out a rythme. They will all dance and pick up sticks…we’ll beat out a rythme together till lunch time.