Rā whānau

Happy birthday to all those celebrating their special day this month.

A happy birthday message to Ross Kean, who began his volunteer work in Moeraki in the early 1970s,while  assisting with the care of our tāua, Meri Peti Gregory- Whitau. The multi-talented, patient, humorous, Irish gentleman learnt how to lay hāngī, bagged gravel for fund raising, assisted at tangi and where ever he was needed. Ross was also  a past representative for Ōāmaru Māori Rugby and both our care-taker and an honorary member of the rūnanga, who ensures all 13 sites are pristine.

While maintaining his role as organisation manager in Dunedin every day and as succession training, our mokopuna, Kace Katerma Palmer Kean, regularly enjoys assisting his pōua. He helps him by picking up urupā leaves, taking rubbish to the dump, feeding the horses and cleaning around the property and often they’ll spend the pay at the recycle shop. Kā aroha,Tessa, Laurie, Kace and Ross.

Kace Katerma Palmer Kean.

Kace Katerma Palmer Kean.


Te Rūnanga o Moeraki Inc. is looking for someone to take on the job of kitchen coordinator and cleaner at our marae.

The marae is used on a monthly basis for rūnanga meetings and on other occasions for visits by schools and groups, for the running of hui, and by groups of whānau.

The person we require would need to be fit and healthy, reliable and trustworthy, flexible with their time and have a good work ethic. A full job description is available on request from our office coordinator. Please email [email protected] or phone 03 439 4816.

If you are interested in this position, please send a cover letter and a curriculum vitae to the rūnanga office by Friday 5 December.

Whānau identified

In the September issue of Te Pānui Rūnaka, we featured a photograph sent in by Koa Whitau-Kean, who was keen to identify the two girls in the image.

In the October issue of Te Pānui Rūnaka, Rosemary Taiaroa (Goomes/Spencer whānau) of Rakiura, identified the girls as Lena Spencer (née Smith) and her cousin Wai Poko. Lena is a cousin to Rosemary’s father.

Koa would like to update whānau by providing further information.

This photo has been identified as Aunty Lena Takairou Smith Spencer (left), by her daughter, Tui Bragg. In their earlier years, they lived in the bay we call Smiths Rocks. On the right is cousin, Wai Poro (relative of Slim Boko or Poko). Her relative is Tui Williams ki Moeraki who currently lives in Waimate.

Lena’s sisters are buried together in the centre of the Kawa Urupā Moeraki with Hilda Ellen Smith and her father. Nā Koa Whitau-Kean.

Lena with her cousin Wai Poko (Poro).

Lena with her cousin Wai Poko (Poro).

New collection for Ngāi Tahu poet

Ngāi Tahu writer and poet, Rangi Faith, has released his latest book, Spoonbill 101, published by Puriri Press, which features a collection of 60 poems written over a five-year period.

He says many of the poems at the beginning of the book are influenced by his Ngāi Tahu heritage. “I always relate back to the fact that I’m Ngāi Tahu – I’ll never lose sight of it,” he says.

The book features one of his favourite poems, ‘When the sailing ends’, which he says is a dedication to his late mother and her passion for singing.

There are only a limited number of copies available and each book is handmade, the cover featuring a painting of the mouth of the Ashley River, in Canterbury.

A handful of Rangi’s poems are also featured in the most recent edition of the well-known New Zealand poetry collection, Puna Wai Kōrero: An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English.

Rangi recognised he had a skill as a writer at an early age. When he was a student at Temuka High School, he wrote a poem ‘To a Mountain’ and entered it into a school poetry competition, which he later won. Rangi says his parents urged him to send poems to another magazine. As a result his work was published in a Māori magazine called Te Ao Hou. “Like a fish on the end of a line, I was hooked on writing,” he says.

Rangi (Ngāi Tahu – Moeraki, Ngāti Kahungunu), now 65, worked as a school teacher for many years on both the east and west coasts of the South Island, before retiring in 2007.

Rangi’s first book of poems, Unfinished Crossword was published in 1990. He was inspired to produce the collection when he picked up an old issue of Te Ao Hou and noticed his late grandmother Hinekerangi Gordon had left a crossword unfinished.
“I could imagine her completing the crossword in front of the fireplace in the lounge, her glasses perched on her nose and a Māori dictionary on the armrest of the chair,” he says.

Like Unfinished Crossword many of his poems are prompted by memories of his whānau and from times when he was a child growing up in Temuka, South Canterbury.

Rangi says the production process for his poems varies. He tends to research a lot of subjects prior to writing and while some poems are written quickly others can potentially take years.

“The best way to find out what I write about is to read the books I have written, and see the different subjects I have written about – New Zealand history, conservation, the Antarctic, Māori language, art, sport, and whales. There is no limit to the kinds of things you can write about,” he says.

Rangi likens his poetry to a diary. He says it’s a way of cataloguing his life.
“It tracks what you’re doing; it’s a record of what you’ve done in the past or present.”

Rangi says that working as a poet and a writer has not been a money-making scheme but he says his passion far outweighs the monetary returns.

“If you are a writer, the reward of seeing your work in print in many ways justifies your writing and encourages you to write again. There may be setbacks along the way but the important thing is to believe in your work. Believe in yourself and the way you write. Know that what you have written is good and does not need to be compared to other writers.”

Although he has formally retired from teaching, Rangi still enjoys returning to the classroom when he can. As a teacher, he believed it was important that his pupils were educated on and about the Māori language and culture. While he was a teacher at Ashgrove School, in Rangiora, he wrote a teaching resource book called Technology of the Māori, which showed how pre-European and Classical Māori lived from day-to-day.
“I wanted to make it interesting for the pupils – we did language one week and then culture the following week,” he says.

The link between writing and teaching has always been strong for Rangi. Whenever he was teaching creative writing to his students, he was also writing poetry for himself. The two have been an integral part of his life and his passion for words and culture.

Rangi with his latest book of poetry.

Rangi with his latest book of poetry.