He mihi nui ki a koutou katoa – thanks to all those who have made contact with us in regards to our WW1 Ngāi Tahu men and women. The feedback on the photos and stories of our soldiers was unbelievable. We hope to honour these stories by sharing some of them with Ngāi Tahu whānau and we would also like to put them into our files for families to hold. He ngākau aroha. Nā Maurice Manawatu, Project Advisor Whakapapa.

Waitangi Day celebrations

Joseph and Maurice recently attended this year’s Waitangi Day celebrations at Awarua Marae.

Joseph checked the electronic database to ensure Ngāi Tahu whānui members contact details were up-to-date and also fielded a number of requests to see if the latest mokopuna had been registered.

Maurice was there talking with kaumātua about the whakapapa units WW1 soldiers project and they were also there to tautoko the local kaimahi and be the taste testers before the kai went out – a job they duly completed with the utmost grace and dignity.

World War I update

To date we have 228 Ngāi Tahu soldiers with their army records, whakapapa and some of their stories. We have 12 men who entered both WWI and WWII and gaining high ranks within the army. The home guard was also well represented with eight of our men being part of the organisation.

There are many amazing stories of our soldiers to be told with sometimes whole families entering the war.

At this stage I have only found one woman who played a part in the war, it could have possibly been a sign of the times. Evaline Skerrett was from Bluff and she entertained the troops in Britain a century ago. Evaline was hailed as having one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Mihi nui, Maurice.

Tāmaki Makaurau

Arapata and I travelled to Schlaepfers Farm in Tāmaki Makaurau for my first ever Whakapapa hui, to celebrate the Treaty of Waitangi and to connect with whānau. We were warmly welcomed on by a pōwhiri and then made our way to the memorial site of the Schlaepfer whānau. Not only were we educated about the Schlaepfer whānau tragedy but we were also were given a deeper understanding of the location in which we were celebrating the Treaty of Waitangi.

The day consisted of a spectacular band, choice food and heaps of aroha. I met and enrolled some amazing new whānau members who were only too keen to talk about their unique whakapapa.

We also witnessed the recognition of Uncle Kukupa Tirikatene, who received a beautiful tokotoko from our Tāmaki Makaurau whānau. Whānau acknowledged the many years of work Kukupa had given to the Taurahere group. The best part was when Kukupa shared some of his stories growing up as a young boy way back in the day and his Rātana faith.

I would like to thank all of our Tāmaki Makaurau whānau for the warm welcome and hospitality. Getting to know you all was truly a blessing, one which I will always remember. We cannot wait to visit and re-connect with whānau again next year. He ngākau aroha, Jaleesa.

Aoraki Bound

I had the privilege of accompanying Tā Tipene on an expedition to the Marlborough Sounds for his kōrero, which he gave to the Aoraki Bound students. To see Kaihinu Pā and hear the stories of Kurī’s arrival was uplifting for me.

My role was to tautoko Tā Tipene on his yacht and also with his kōrero to the students. I believe his kōrero was invaluable for all those who were present. Mihi nui, Maurice.