Our hui

On 17 August, we held our Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana hui at Tauranga Boys’ College. It was a beautiful day and a bumper crowd attended to listen and welcome our guest speaker, Uncle Terry Ryan from the Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa Unit.

Anna Were reported on the planned hīkoi south, an exciting opportunity to learn about our ancestors and Ngāi Tahu history. The trip is now virtually signed and sealed but for those who missed out, save your pennies because Anna says it could be the forerunner of more trips to come. [Read more…]

Ngāi Tahu ki Tai Tokerau

Ngā mate
It is with great sadness that Ngāi Tahu ki Tai Tokerau learnt of the tragic death of David John Orbell on 4 May.

David was one of the staunchest and proudest supporters of Ngāi Tahu in the north – always the first to signal his attendance at a hui, always the first to arrive loaded with bins of fish, and always keen to ensure his children knew of their whakapapa links to Moeraki and Te Waipounamu. David was to have celebrated his 60th birthday and 20th anniversary with his wife, Katherine later this year. He was laid to rest on Tuesday 7 May in Patau Urupā near his home in Waimahana.

Always a free-spirited warrior and never afraid of danger, David tragically died from smoke inhalation after fighting a fire at his home the previous week.
He will be missed and remembered always by his lovely wife Katherine and beautiful children Fauna, Tarawai, Leder-Rae, Davis, Tai, Tiaki and Tui and wider whānau at both ends of the motu.

Nō reira, e te Rangatira, David, haere hoki koe ki te hunga-tapu i runga rawa, i raro i te manaakitanga o tō mātou matua-nui-i-te-rangi, ā te wā, ka tūtaki anō tātou.
Haere, haere, haere i runga i tōu waka rangimārie.

Nā Janet Hetaraka.

Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana

A good attendance at our April annual general meeting witnessed rapid democracy in action as virtually all the executive and committee, who had served us so well in the past year, were confirmed to carry on for another year. Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana will be well served for the current term. However, the challenge to make our taurahere group much more a vehicle for Ngāi Tahutanga and whanaungatanga remains. (Details of the annual general meeting have been circulated by email, along with Huey Rurehe’s 2012/13 chair’s report).

With the formalities taken care of, we were treated to another demonstration of the talent that exists amongst the 700 or so Ngāi Tahu whānau resident in our rohe. On this occasion it was Frank Te Mihinui Kawe, son of Pōua Brian and Tāua Janice Kawe, who demonstrated his talents. As a knowledgeable captain, he had one heck of a story to recount about waka voyaging in the Pacific. He gave us an impressive power point presentation about voyaging history – much of it modern.

Frank was the skipper of the canoe, Te Matau a Māui, which was one of seven waka that made the 32,000km journey from New Zealand to San Diego recently, taking in Hawaii, Tahiti, the Solomon Islands, and other places. Not to forget the important reconnection the crews made with the people of Rapanui (Easter Island). For the record, three others with Ngāi Tahu connections were involved – our Tauranga captain, Jack Thatcher and two wāhine, Kate Souness (Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri) being one of them.

The latest long voyage was about rekindling Pacific relationships and fulfilling Hekenukumai Puhipi’s (Hector Busby) dream of the acknowledged tohunga of voyaging and waka building; and keeping waka-building craftsmanship, sailing skills and culture alive within the Pacific region. It was also about raising awareness of the problems facing the ocean by putting the focus on things like acidification, dead zones and noise pollution, and the affect they all have on marine life.

Frank told us that, on the waka, they had no running water or fossil fuel burning engines, and they used natural gas for cooking. Solar power was used for energy and the crew navigated by the stars, the ocean currents and the feel of the waka transmitted through the soles of sensitive feet. We were not allowed to ask about toileting arrangements.

He also told us about a few of the scary moments – like the time a carved pōhatu, one of three donated as protection for the waka, went overboard when a rogue wave struck unexpectedly.

On the whole though, the double-hulled waka proved eminently seaworthy. So much so, their performance gives credence to the idea that we of the modern era have long underestimated the capabilities of our early sailing ancestors.

Frank’s stories would likely inspire many rangatahi to go voyaging. Though one old sea dog, Uncle Joe Briggs, when asked if he’d go, replied with: “Only with my own cabin and all mod cons.’’

If you would like to know more about these inspiring sea voyages, I would recommend seeking more information via Google. A film crew also took the journey and recorded the whole project. A film, Our Blue Canoe, will appear later this year – keep an eye out for it. Nā Laurie Loper.

Uncle Joe Briggs, Brian Stephenson, Doug Baker, guest speaker Frank Kawe, chair Huey Rurehe at April AGM.

Midge Hanrahan and Auntie Jan Kawe.

Alec Were and Shonamarie O’Brien enjoying the afternoon hui for Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana.