Kia ora koutou, a big thank you to whale watchers, the Kaikōura Coast Guards and the many Pākehā friends, Te Hau Tapanui and Jacob have in Kaikōura, who helped them off the rocks after their boat konked out. They were washed onto the rocks but with only a few scratches – all was well. In other words they were very lucky, it was the boat’s fault and the boss is getting a new one.

Now, onto something very special and lovely – the blessing of the Ngāti Waewae whare tipuna. What a weekend and if you didn’t enjoy yourself that was all your own fault, because I did and so did our whānau from across the hill (not the ditch).

We left Tuahiwi Marae at 10.30am after our lovely bus driver Sue said karakia and we said our goodbyes. By the way, our bus driver is the wife of another son who passed away earlier this year Matiu (Matthew) Tutengaehe.

There were a lot of tāua and aunties on the bus. There was lots of laughter and of course lots of kai and lollies. Aunty Pauline handed out blackballs – she hadn’t had them for ages, only chocolate. We also had a chief on board, Uncle Arthur Flutey. He’s got quite handsome hasn’t he. On our way to the coast highway, we had lovely views but there wasn’t much snow.

We arrived at Sheffield at 11.45am just in time for a pie and drink before we carried on our way. We passed a lot of rock formations – some are like big castles. “Ah there you go Patty that is called Castle Hill.” We stopped at Arthur’s Pass for an hour of kai time, a smoke and whatever goes with a pit stop.

We drove through Kūmara – don’t blink because you will miss it. We had just got on the bridge and my cousin got a text from her sister, Aroha Hohipera saying welcome to Māwhera – wasn’t that lovely. Thanks cuz.

On Friday, the West Coast weather was against us but who cares (it was 27 degrees in Christchurch). We left Greymouth in the bus around five o’clock in the morning.

I woke up and turned on the television and the Māori news was on so I hurried up and got dressed thinking gosh “they are late, we are all late.” Then in walks my cousin Ila, who was all dressed up. “Aren’t you coming?”

I said “we are late,” and it was only 4.30am. I’d been watching the 1.30am Māori news thinking it was 5.30am. How can some people be so stupid? (Ok Charlie Crofts I know you are laughing your head off, saying that silly old girl, I can hear you). In the end we got there in plenty of time.

Ngāti Waewae welcomed my cousin, Ila and I like we were royalty. I would also like to thank my moko, Shirley Lee-Ann Gage for the wonderful love, help and tautoko she gave us all. She helped to unload and load the bus – thanks Lady.

We didn’t stay for the Hui-ā-Tau as we were afraid of slips on the way home even though in the end there were none. Boy did it rain; and there was a lot of thunder and lightning, so that is why the decision was made to go home in the morning.

To Ngāti Waewae our apologies we still love you. As for your whare tipuna, it is amazing, especially those lights – I had a sore neck looking up at them. I walked into people who were also shedding a tear and cursing Johno and Rik Tau, who should have been there.

During the blessing it rained tears of joy. Breakfast was lovely. I had four pots of yoghurt and two pieces of toast (nobody else seemed to have toast). That is what I was meaning when I said we were treated like royalty. Nothing was a bother to the ringawera. They were marvellous.

I didn’t see much of my cousin Charlie. I think his son Karl took him back to the motel. Also Aroha Hohipera, it was not the same, you not being there with us but I’m glad that you are ok now (how is the baby?) haha – you never told us about that.

On our way home, Wikitoria was at it again (laughing) – so musical. Wikitoria we will always remember your laugh going and coming to Ngāti Waewae (so lovely).

I arrived home on Friday afternoon, got my bottle of wine out to go over to whānau for a drink. I watched the news first and what do you know, I woke up at two thirty and the bottle of wine was still sitting on the table. We arrived home to find whānau there waiting for their own whānau members to take them home.

I think that will be enough for now. I still have heaps to write but maybe later – see and hear from you all next year.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all the whānau of Tuahiwi. Season’s greetings from my whānau as well. Kia ora koutou katoa. Patricia. Luv ya all.