On 27 December whānau descendants of the late Priscilla Riwai Stone (aka Nana Stone) packed into Wheke for a one week wānaka.

On Sunday 28 December we remembered our tāua by holding an unveiling of her head stone in the Rāpaki urupā, where she rests with her husband David Stone (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata), and her mum Matekino Riwai, the grand-daughter of Toria Mokiho and Riwai Piharo (our 1848 Kaumātua in the Blue Book).

This event was tinged with sadness, as we had lost Tāua Mavis Karena (Nana Stone’s sister), a week before Nana’s unveiling and also their cousin and oldest friend Tāua Myra Manihera, two weeks before that. We were humbled to have the Karena and Manihera whānau join us for this special occasion, as we remembered our three tāua.

Our “Reconnecting the Whānau” wānaka began with the first of several waiata sessions with whānau learning several waiata, including a favourite of our tamariki “Mō tātou” and also our Rāpaki pepeha.

We learnt our whakapapa back to Toria Mokiho. It was a moving experience to see each person, from our mokopuna to our kaumātua, stand and recite both their whakapapa and pepeha.

Reconnecting our whānau at Rāpaki enabled us to hear how Nana and Papa Stone instilled the value of pride in one’s identity in their tamariki and mokopuna. From an early age their tamariki joined Uncle Hori Brennan’s first junior Kapa haka rōpū, Te Whetu Ariki o Kahukura, and performed alongside their Brennan, Manihera, Crofts and Topia cousins at the inaugural Waitaha cultural competitions, started by Tāua Te KiaToa Riwai (Tāua Matekino’s sister) back in the 1960s.

Nana Stone is survived by her 10 children, Mutu, Sheena, Hapeti, Herena, Rita, Matekino, Karl, Clive, Wally and Amber. We were fortunate to have all 10 of them at our wānaka. Between them they have over 50 children, with the count of mokopuna, mokopuna tuarua and mokopuna tuatoru forever climbing.

This wānaka strengthened our whānau ties to Rāpaki, especially for many of us who live outside of Te Waipounamu. It was fulfilling to see our babies surrounded by kōrero, waiata, laughter, all the while learning about our history and whakapapa in the beautiful and peaceful surrounds of our marae.

It was a phenomenal week with amazing food and action packed with swimming, picnics, playing games, mahika kai, passing on whānau recipes for steam pudding, fried bread and parāoa, trips to Kaikōura and Hamner, sightseeing around Christchurch, celebrating New Year’s Eve with our whānau whānui from Rāpaki. The whānau concert was a highlight to round off on our last night.

Our whānau wish to thank Yvette Couch Lewis from our rūnanga office for her ongoing support; all our whanauka who joined us at Rāpaki to share old, and create new memories; and finally to acknowledge the financial support received from the Ngāi Tahu Fund that helped make this Rāpaki wānaka and reunion possible and successful. Kā mihi nui. Nā Jeni-leigh Stone-Walker.

Stone 1

Stone 1a February 1984, Nana Stone sitting in the middle of her 10 children.

February 1984, Nana Stone sitting in the middle of her 10 children.

Stone 2

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