Hīkoi ki Te Waipounamu

In April, 15 members of our Taurahere rōpū travelled to Te Waipounamu, after a year’s fundraising, to top up the fund from Kāi Tahu which enabled so many of us to attend the trip.

We went to Kaikōura and learnt about the importance of whales to our people and we experienced the area where whales are celebrated daily in Aotearoa. We stayed at Takahanga Marae for two nights and it was a privilege to have Tā Mark Solomon kōrero about the house and area. Although we did not get out to sea, due to bad weather it was interesting to look around Whale Watch, get close to seals and taste crayfish at a side walk café.

We travelled to Mangamaunu where we were hosted by the Norton whānau and Tāua Phyllis. This was one of the highlights of the trip to Kaikōura because her aroha and manaaki was refreshing.

Our kaiako Brad Haami lives in Tamaki Makaurau and he is an author and researcher. He is the son of our treasurer Sandra Maaka-Haami (Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Awa) daughter of renowned Kāi Tahu Doctor Golan Maaka. His father Grenville Haami (Te Ati Haunui Paparangi) is our acting secretary.

Brad’s extensive knowledge of whales was also shared with a group of overseas students at the old nuns convent. His ability to share his knowledge on a huge variety of subjects relating to our history and landmarks, and his ability to whaikōrero on the various marae and places we visited was a huge bonus and much appreciated by all participants.

Our second objective was to follow-up on a pounamu hui held in Whakatāne where Cherry Peeti-Tapurau a Kāi Tahu artist residing in Bay of Plenty spoke with us and demonstrated the technique of working with pounamu. This entailed a trip to Hokitika to visit the Arahura River, the Waewae Pounamu shop and factory and the marae in Hokitika and Bruce Bay. We were unable to meet up with locals at either marae due to a communication breakdown. However, our visit to Hokitika was enhanced by Brad’s explanation of the history of the Sea view Lodge, the statue and prison where many North Island iwi where imprisoned by the colonists.

The magnificent scenery from Lewis and Arthur’s Pass made our trip to Hokitika and Ōtautahi wonderful. Our overall objective of whakawhanaukataka was fully experienced in Ōtautahi and for many of the group this was their first trip to their Kāi Tahu whenua. We were privileged to spend a night at Te Wheke, visit Te Whare o Te Waipounamu, Tuahiwi and other various historic sites.

We look forward to our next hīkoi to Te Waipounamu where we hope to make more whānau connections further south, hopefully as far as Ruapuke.

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