The weekend of April 5-6 was the poroporoaki of our wharekai Te Pōhā o Tohu Raumati, which ran in conjunction with our archiving hui. Many of our Ngāti Kurī whānau came together over the weekend to hear the stories of the building of our marae at Takahanga.

Archaeologist Michael Trotter, Tā Tipene O’Regan, Trevor Howse, Cliff Whiting, Tā Mark Solomon and our kaumātua told stories of the early preparation for the building of our wharenui and wharekai.

Although many knew most of the stories, there were other significant parts of our history that we discovered and are able to fit into the larger picture of Ngāi Tahu history. It was a beautiful weekend of learning.

At one stage during the afternoon, I saw and smelt the odour of burnt sugar coming from the kitchen. It took me back to the days of Aunty Lena Beaton, who was one of our kaumātua and cooks for many years.

It was well known that our lovely Aunty Lena often burnt something in the kitchen. So not only do her memories remain but also those traits are coming through this generation. These are the stories and memories we tell our mokopuna – stories passed down through the generations.

On Sunday morning, Cliff Whiting talked about the preparation and build of the wharenui Marukaitātea. Some of those people who were there at the beginning are still here today. Many were the little tamariki running around at that time who now have their own children. Many fond memories were shared, especially about Uncle Bill Solomon, who was our upoko for many years. His wairua and that of his father and the many tipuna before him, is still alive and flowing at Takahanga Marae today.

Sunday finished with our hākari and then the poroporoaki of the wharekai. Although in some ways it was a sad time, it was also a happy time coming together to share memories and see a lot of archived footage. We are all excited for the building and opening of our new wharekai over the next few months.