Thursday, December 29, 2011


This is a collection of proud faces from proud cultures. 
If you look really closely... you can see the pride in their eyes... history is not about time or places... it's all about people

Monday, December 19, 2011


Porou-Ariki and Tahu-Matua
INTRO: To fully appreciate the southern boundaries of Ngai Tamanuhiri one must have some knowledge of the wider history and the oral traditions of Turanga-tangata-rite. It also requires a basic understanding of the whakapapa-lines that underpin the whanau alliances in the area. Tahu Potiki’s arrival at the Turanganui river heralded a new era in iwi development. Tahu’s crossing saw a simple fishing rock ‘Te Toka-a-Taiau’ suddenly symbolise a ‘line in the sand’ between the tuakana and the teina.. To the north Porou-Ariki and his whanau claim absolute-mana with a very catchy… “mai Potikirua tae noa ki Te Toka-a-Taiau”. Porou and Tahu were born and raised at Whangara. After the trouble between these brothers (over Hamo) and the demise of Porou-Ariki himself, Tahu settled at Turanganui with his new wife (and brothers widow) Hamoterangi. However the people of Turanganui are linked to both brothers by whakapapa...

Ira-a-Tahu is another son of Tahu who settles around Turanga. He has Iraroa, who marries Tokerau-Wahine (granddaughter of Porou). Iraroa and Tokerau-Wahine had a daughter called Iwipupu who marries Tamatea-Pokaiwhenua of Takitimu. Together they have Kahungunu, who thus inherits Tahu whakapapa. Obviously that whakapapa passes to his uri like Kahukuranui, Tauhei, Tamatea-Koata, Mahaki, Rakaihikuroa, Rakaipaaka, Hinemanuhiri, Tarakiuta and Tarakitai. All make meaningful contributions to the history of Turanga. If indeed connections to an ancestor are any measure, then let us be measured by Apirana Ngata who makes the following observation in his Rauru Lectures…
Ngati Porou can claim descent from seven out of ten of Kahungunu's children, while the Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki of Gisborne are able, so I am informed, to claim from all of them. Yet the tribal name Ngati Kahungunu has as among the East Coast tribes restricted application. It was established in the Wairoa district through Rakaipaaka and Hinemanuhiri, the children of Kahungunu's eldest son Kahukuranui, by his second wife Tuteihonga. In Hawkes Bay the name followed in the wake of Rakaihikuroa and his sons and grandson. Thence by sundry migrations and intermarriages the name extended until it superseded other tribal appellations in the territory south of Hawkes Bay.
Whakapapa to Kahungunu from Paikea-Ariki

Monday, December 12, 2011


 Despite his small size and cute appearance, gecko terrified early Maori settlers. Reptiles are the children of Punga, a son of Tangaroa. Punga is known as the father of ugly creatures like stingrays, reptiles and insects. Punga had two sons called Ika-tere and Tu-tewehiwehi. When Tawhirimatea (god of the winds) attacked Tangaroa (god of the sea) it caused chaos amongst the sea god’s many descendants. Ika-tere fled below the waves and became an ancestor of the fish while Tu-tewehiwehi hid on shore becoming the ancestor of reptiles.
Mokomoko one of the children of Mokohikuwaru
All lizards are the children of Moko-hiku-waru, a giant reptile god that lived in the Taranaki area. Moko-hiku-waru and another giant reptile called Tu-tangata-kino are said to be guardians of the house of Miru, ruler of the underworld. Both were very dangerous creatures. Special tohunga could employ these giant reptiles to attack their enemies or guard special objects or places. It was common to employ the descendants of Moko-hiku-waru, like the gecko, to guard hidden treasures and family heirlooms.
Another reptile god called Te Ngangara-huarau lived near Rangitoto (D’Urville Island). One day the monster kidnapped a woman from a nearby village. He took the woman back to his cave where he made her his wife. The woman managed to escape and returned to her village. When she told her brothers about her ordeal they decided to capture and kill the beast.
The brothers built a strong house to hold the giant. They lured it into their village using their sister as bait. When they finally got him inside they slammed the door shut then set the house on fire. The Giant reptile died in the flames and the people were safe at last.


Undoubtedly one of the most important members of our family, the kiwi represents the soul of Tane Mahuta and lives in the heart of the forest. Like the heart the kiwi remains largely unsee but without it the forest would simply die. Maori have always treasured the kiwi. It’s feathers are prized by cloak makers all over the country and there is no finer cloak than a korowai-kiwi (kiwi cloak). 
Rongokako and his pet Kiwi

On the East Coast a chief named Rongokako had a giant pet kiwi. The bird was so big that it could not be killed by humans. Rongokako was the son of Tamatea-Arikinui, captain of Takitimu, and they lived around Heretanga (Hawkes Bay). Paoa captained the Horouta canoe and lived at Turanga (Gisborne)
For some reason these two became rivals. Paoa challenged Rongokako to a race from the East Coast to the far north. Rongokako accepted the challenge and the race started in Heretaunga. Paoa boarded his canoe and sailed up the coast. When he reached Uawa he heard Rongokako was coming overland riding his giant kiwi. It’s strides were huge, clearing mountain tops in one step, Paoa decided to stop the kiwi. Somewhere between Waipiro and Tokomaru Paoa built a huge trap to catch the giant bird. As Rongokako approached on his kiwi he noticed something strange about the path. 
He saw the trap and was able to deal it a mighty blow with his taiaha. The trap sprung with such force it flew into the air. The place where the trap finally landed is now known as Mount Arowhana. The place where Paoa set the trap is called Te Tawhiti-o-Rongokako (The trap of Rongokako). Rongokako and his kiwi went on with the race. Paoa was so shocked he never did manage to catch them

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Moremore was the son of Pania, the maiden of the reef. Pania’s home was essentially the sea but every night she came ashore to sleep at a small freshwater spring near Hukarere. One night a young chief named Karitoki went to the spring to draw water. He found Pania there and took her home with him. The young couple fell in love and were even married but the fact remained that Pania would always return to the sea during the day. In time they had a son called Moremore and it was soon evident that the child had inherited the special tapu of his mother. 
Moremore... the shark with no tail
He too had to retreat to the water during daylight hours and this made his father very anxious. Soon Karitoki went in search of a solution and spoke to several tohunga. Eventually he was told by one old tohunga that he could remove the tapu by placing cooked food upon them when they were asleep. Karitoki decided to try this method so waited until his wife and his son were asleep and placed cooked kumara upon their bodies. Alas the kumara was not cooked through and the plan did not work. Pania was upset by the plans of Karitoki. She never again returned to the springs to sleep at night and she never saw her husband again. 
Her son Moremore turned into a taniwha. He lives in and around the Ahuriri area and even roams the wider east coast. Moremore is a kaitiaki (guardian) and generally posses no danger to the locals. His presence serves as a warning of potential danger. In the Ngai Tamanuhiri area around Te Kuri-a-Paoa Moremore takes the form of a shark with no tail or no dorsal fin. He is a protector and will appear to warn of an unsafe area or unsafe practices. At the very point of Te Kuri, a place called Pikopiko there lives a species of shark the locals call Moremore. It has no dorsal fin.

My book Taniwharau

Taniwharau is published by Penguin Books (NZ) and focuses on the special relationships that developed between various taniwha around Aotearoa and the local people of the land. It celebrates the many and various kaitieki (kaitiaki ranei) that inhabit our whakapapa and punctuate our oral histories. These magnificent creatures came in all shapes and sizes including lizards, sharks, whales, kiwi, pigeons, dogs and even giant eagles. Some were a weird mix of creatures; half man-half dog, half bird-half woman but all had a special place in the history of the various tangata whenua who claimed them as guardians. 
Taniwha often played a dual role in our history as most were seen as a good omen by the tangata whenua, yet any stranger to the area saw them only as dangerous beasts that would kill to protect their territory. Indeed the reputations of these great beasts traveled the width and breadth of the country with many a defeated war party. Those war parties made it their business to remember them as Maori will always give credit where credit is due and there is no disgrace in losing to a superior foe. 
The ancient Maori were a very spiritual people and believed the universe was made up of different realms that were separate yet very much connected. The mortal realm; inhabited by man and animals, was largely governed by the supernatural realm; inhabited by the many gods, demi-gods, guides and guardians. Both realms were linked by a spiritual bridge to allowed travel between the two worlds and overcame the communications barrier between the species. Man accepted that as he had gods and ancestors, so did all the animals. 
This basic acceptance allowed the magic of belief to manifest itself in the minds and memories of Maori. Indeed, like many indigenous cultures around the world, Maori culture personifies absolutely everything, animate or otherwise. 

Warren Pohatu


Mau rakau is a martial arts form that teaches the use of weapons like taiaha and mere pounamu in combat. As with other martial arts styles, students of the taiaha spend years mastering the skills of timing, balance and co-ordination necessary to wield the weapon effectively. The taiaha is often used in the wero and is better known than the short clubs but each and every weapon had it's own qualities and warriors were trained is all aspects of fighting. A wero is a challenge laid down to dignitaries or high members of the community visiting the marae. Students of Mau rakau undergo years of intense training. It requires fitness, skill, stamina and strength on a par with any of the Asian martial arts and the rank and grading of students is strictly monitored.
For  Te Whare Tu Taua students the pinnacle of achievement is Pou-Waru. The culmination of and 8 stage grading system that prepares students for life as a tohunga (expert). Students would have dedicated more than 10 years of their life to reaching this stage and only the best of the best will make it this far. The grading is grueling as those who have already qualified to this level are doing the grading and it is in their best interest to make it as tough as possible. No quarter is asked and no quarter is given.
This weekend several people will grade and part of that grading will take place at Hoani Waititi Marae. Good luck to all those who front up... kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui... It is an awesome spectacle to watch these gradings... to see the passion and pride of these young people (Men and Women) committed to this kaupapa and dedicated to the ancient martial art of Mau Rakau.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last year I done a series of pastels and manage to capture the step by step process and have finally found time to create an annimation (of sorts). Its not your high quality "Disney" style of annimation but it does give you an idea of how it all happen etc. 

I use Polychromos pastels on black card and the hardest thing was remembering to take the photographs... plus the realisation that once you move on past a certain point... that image is now lost forever... the actual individual stages and what they look like all give way to the final and ultimate image... and very quickly we tend to forget the hundreds of stages between the start and finish... we tend to overlook the journey and the many unique images that created the final peice. This is my tribute to that process and all those images.

The Final Image
Tu Tamure the tale of the snapper... To remember to powerful chief of the Whakatohea Tutamure. A significant figure in the story of Kahungunu, his daughter Tauhekuri and her eventual marriage to Tutamure's younger brother Tamataipunoa.

Tu Tamure... the tale of the snapper


Kia ora whanau... here's a short vid I put together using some of our photo's. All these images can be found in the MEMORIES folder of the NGAI TAMANUHIRI Facebook page... JOIN OUR PAGE whanau... learn a bit more about our whanau... about all our hapu and our iwi... Ngai Tamanuhiri. We have a very good understanding of our history and welcome all and any questions. I myself have spent about 12 years helping the Trust with the Waitangi Tribunal Claims... so we have heaps of material. And that's what I want to share... the wealth of knowledge we collected in well over a decade of tribal research... noreira... nau mai whana...
In the meann time here's some photo's from back home

You can see more photos here... WHANAU MEMORIES FOLDER

Some of the many photos received from whanau on fb

POST: We are encouraging whanau to share their taonga... and for that reason we ask everyone to respect those who submit images and PLEASE do not take copies without permission... if you are family we see no problem... at which stage we will supply a digital copy without the banner etc... THANKS EVERYONE... and please remember this is all about old photos... and how we looked way back when

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is a brief overview of the physical and spiritual structure of the marae, the meeting ground of the Maori people. Hopefully it will help explain the importance of the marae to Maori, the customs and rituals surrounding it, and the significance of features like the wharenui.
In modern society a marae’s role is largely governed by its location. In rural areas the marae retains its traditional role as the centre of all village life and the hub of tribal activity. It continues to provide both shelter for the people and a platform from which to guide them.
In pre-European society most marae had one main fire, which was kept alive 24-7. It was known as the ahi-ka-roa (long burning fire) and it signified the on-going life of that marae. It was never extinguished as the living flame represented the mana of the tribe. The families who maintain the fires through successive generations were recognised as keepers of the ahi-ka-roa and as such keepers of the mana whenua. Today we no longer keep the fires burning 24-7 but the responsibility for keeping the marae alive still falls to the people, the whanau of that marae.
Marae illustration by Warren Pohatu
In urban areas the marae is but one of many community focal points and has very little impact or influence over tribal initiatives. Urban marae simply accommodate the people and house a host of independent kaupapa. Often the people involved with that marae are not the tangata whenua. The sense of belonging, ownership and whanaungatanga is much harder to define. The influx of Maori into urban settings has seen a mass detachment from the usual whakapapa based tribal groupings. Its led to a large percentage of Maori living away from their tribal lands. This, in turn, impacts on the theory, the importance and the relevance of the ahi-ka-roa in an urban setting.
Another modern adaptation sees many forums in many different locations afforded a temporary ‘marae’ status for the purpose of servicing our customs and our culture. Powhiri (welcome ceremony) and mihi (acknowledgements) take place in a wide range of environments from school halls to sports clubrooms to corporate castles. For the duration of that function, that location assumes the spirituality of a marae and allows us to engage the associated customs and/or traditions.

Warren Pohatu (Ngai Tamanuhiri)

Te Poho-o-Tamanuhiri , Muriwai, Te Tairawhiti
The marae is undoubtedly the focal point of any Maori community. Consisting of communal buildings on tribally owned land, the marae serves as both a public plaza and a gathering place for the iwi (tribe). Here the iwi can host their hui (meetings), discuss tribal issues, welcome manuhiri (visitors) and host important functions such as tangihanga (funerals) to farewell friends and family. During these official occasions the marae is controlled by tribal protocol, with rules and regulations applying to both the tangata whenua (hosts) and manuhiri (visitors). It is important for hosts and visitors to understand their respective roles during a powhiri (welcome) or at tangihanga. Protocols differ from marae to marae; if you are unsure, it is OK to ask. Basically the marae cannot exist without the people. The marae symbolises the land and the people symbolise the life. The people need the land to live and the land needs the people to be alive. That is the true relationship between a marae and its people.

Tangata whenua
The hosts on a marae are known as the tangata whenua (people of the land). It is their marae: they decide how things work there and they will always defend their right to do so. After all it represents one of their tipuna. The tangata whenua are responsible for welcoming their visitors, making them comfortable, feeding them and ensuring they all have a place to sleep. As part of the welcome the tangata whenua issue a wero (challenge) to determine whether the visitors are friendly or not. Having completed that and confirming the peaceful motives of their visitors, the tangata whenua move to the right side of the building. There they begin their speeches of welcome, usually with a karakia (prayer). Each speech is usually concluded by a waiata (song). The tangata whenua keep the marae alive and are often referred to as the keepers of the fire (te ahi-ka-roa). In ancient tribal society the cooking fires were maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and thus the term ahi-ka-roa (long burning fires) became associated with the life of a marae. It represented occupation, ownership and an on-going association with the land.

Kawa and tikanga
Kawa and tikanga refer to the protocol and rules of a marae. In very general terms, the kawa of a marae refers to the religious protocol, or to a protocol as defined by the important tribal gods. Tikanga, on the other hand, refers to the rules imposed by man — related to dress, schedule of ceremonies, timing of events and location. As man evolves so does the tikanga and there are several examples of this evolution. Today it is widely accepted that kaikorero (speakers) must wear long trousers yet it is obvious that this tikanga is a fairly recent adaptation. There are many variations in kawa and tikanga from marae to marae. For example, not all marae allow visitors to arrive during the hours of darkness. It is the host tribe’s prerogative to detail the kawa and tikanga of their marae — that is their way, and it is not appropriate for any iwi to impose its kawa on another tribe’s marae. It’s also inappropriate for other cultures to impose their social doctrine upon Maori protocol. Having said that, Maori culture has definitely compromised itself to ensure its survival and maintain some relevance within the ever-changing modern world.


Apirana Ngata

E tipu e rea, mo nga ra o te ao, 
Grow up O tender child in the days of your world, 
Ko to ringa ki nga rākau a te Pākehā, 
In your hands the tools of the Pākehā, 
Hei oranga mo to tinana. 
As means to support and sustain you. 
Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tipuna, 
In your heart the treasures of your ancestors, 
Hei tikitiki mo to mahunga. 
As a plume for your head. 
Ko to wairua ki te Atua, 
Your spirit given to God, 
Nana nei nga mea katoa. 
The source of all things.  

(Sir Apirana Ngata)  


Hinehakirirangi was the sister of Paoa, captain of Horouta canoe. According to east coast oral traditions Horouta began it’s journey from the Gisborne region. It traveled up to Hawaiki under the leadership of Kahukura to collect seed kumara. When they were ready to return Kahukura decided to stay on and he made Paoa captain for the journey back to Aotearoa. Paoa’s sister Hinehakirirangi was given the task of protecting the tapu of the kumara. Whenever they boarded the canoe Hinehakirirangi would always be first. 
Hine Hakirirangi and her pet Riroriro
She would straddle the bargeboards of the canoe and all who followed her would pass between her legs thus removing any tapu they may possess. When they left the canoe the process was the same but in reverse. While she was onboard Hinehakirirangi would also be responsible for the kumara seed itself. When Horouta canoe eventually arrived back on the Tairawhiti, Hinehakirirangi returned to her home at Papatewhai, near Te Muriwai. From there she set about looking for suitable land to grow the kumara. As she walked along the riroriro accompanied her and sang it’s favourite song. Hinehakirirangi walked the length of Oneroa beach. 
Hine Hakirirangi lived at Papatewhai
Then she walked along Onepoto but still she could not find a good spot. She turned inland and walked the banks of Te Arai River. After a while she climbed up into the foothills and came upon a piece of land that made her heart tremble. It was perfect and even the riroriro was impressed as it began to sing “tanu kai, tanu kai” (time to plant, time to plant). Hinehakirirangi named this place Manawaru (trembling heart) and there she dug her garden. She planted her kumara and soon the entire district had access to the valuable plant
Local History...
Moana Kemp (along with my dad) was a Ngai Tamanuhiri kaumatua (80s-90s)
Tena nga mihi whanui atu ra..


Toitu Te Mana Wahine
Papatuanuku is the mother earth while Ranginui is the vast expanse of the heavens. Originally they were locked in a loving embrace that lasted almost for ever. It’s no wonder they had so many children. All of whom lived in the cramped spaces between their parents. It was very dark and very cramped in there and nobody was exactly happy. As the children grew up they became even more annoyed at the living conditions. Soon they gathered deep in the darkness to discuss the problems between their parents. Tangaroa was very keen to separate them but felt he was not nearly strong enough for such a task. 


Tawhirimatea apposed any talk of separation and threatened his brothers with eternal war if they even attempted to break them up. Tumatauenga scoffed at his brothers emotional outbursts and demanded their parents be separated immediately. Otherwise he would kill them himself. Then Tane-Mahuta said, “let me try my brothers.” He thought for a while then lay down with his back braced against his mother. He lifted his feet up and placed them on his father. He took a deep breath then pushed his feet up. 

Tane strained with all his might and eventually was able to pry his parents apart. Little by little they began to separate. Just then Tawhiri rushed off in a huff and hasn’t spoken to Tane since. Meanwhile the light flooded into every corner of the world and life as we know it was born. The true beauty of Papatuanuku could at last be seen. Her gorgeous green cloak, her impressive snow topped mountains, her abundant valleys, her lush rivers and her generous beaches simply confirm her as the mother of absolutely everything. Papatuanuku is the land and we are the tangata whenua (people of the land). 

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Te Herenga Waka
Te Paepae-ki-Rarotonga was the canoe of the great chief Toi-te-huatahi, or as some knew him Toi-kai-rakau. Toi lived in Hawaiki and was the most influential chief of his time. He had his family around him and enjoyed a life filled with pride and privilege. His eldest son was a man called Rauru-ki-tahi. He was a famous carver and also a waka builder of some renown. Rauru had a son called Nga Puna Ariki-a-Whatonga (Whatonga). One day a waka race was held to celebrate the launch of Whatonga’s new waka Te Hawaii. Many waka were involved in the race.

The course saw them travel way beyond the horizon and back again. Unfortunately the weather turned bad and a great storm engulfed the fleet. Many waka did not return to shore that day, including Whatonga’s. Toi was devastated by the loss of his loved one but would not give up hope of finding his grandson alive. He went in search of Whatonga and received word that he had survived and was now recuperating in the south. Toi travels the pacific in search of his grandson and eventually arrives on the shores of Aotearoa. Toi approaches the local people and enquires after his grandson. Unfortunately for him, Whatonga had already returned to Hawaiki. 
It seems the two men passed each other like ships in the night. Toi likes the look of this new land and decides to settle here. He builds a pa called Kapuaterangi near Whakatane. Members of his extended family soon join Toi at Kapuaterangi. They soon begin to establish their roots in the area. Many tribes trace their descent from Toi and the Nga tini o Toi clan that flourished in the early days. Ngati, Ngai and Nga are simply abbreviations of the term ‘Nga Tini‘ and mean ‘the many
Toitehuatahi... his son Raurukitahi and grandson Nga Puna Ariki o Whatonga

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Toitu te Mana maori
The story of Rona is a classic Maori tale and is used to teach us about respect for all things. Rona it seems was not a lazy girl but she really cherished her time of rest. Late one night Rona was sent on an errand to fetch some water from the well. That night it was Te Rakaunui (the full moon) but there were still a lot of clouds in the sky. Rona grabbed a container and, still sulking, began her journey to the well. The path was well lit by the full moon and Rona ran down the hill. She arrived at the well in good time and quickly rushed toward the waters edge where she filled her container. 

Rona holds the tahaa and the nikau tree
As she capped the water bottle, Rona turned to walk back along the path. Just then the moon disappeared behind the clouds and in the darkness Rona walked straight into some rocks. She stubbed her toes and dropped the taha spilling some of the water. Rona grabbed the taha and immediately turned toward the moon. Rona glared at the bright orange ball of light in the sky. She cursed out loud, blaming the moon for her misfortune and her pain. Rona snatched up her container then turned to walk back to her home. 
But the moon was angered by her outburst and rushed down toward her. The moon ceased Rona and she panicked. She grabbed nearby Ngaio tree but the moons grip was so strong it simply ripped the tree from the ground. Rona, her taha and the Ngaio tree were all dragged into the sky and to this day they remain as prisoners of the moon. To this day, as well, Rona regrets her outburst and pays dearly for that one moment of madness. Don’t be like Rona and blame others for your misfortune. Respect all things… at all times. 

Check out this video of the classic song AUE RONA E... the story in song