Friday, December 27, 2013


One summer I was working the press for my uncle Chop... as part of the Robbie Cooper crew. We had a run inland from Uawa and up around Hikurangi. Shearing is a hard game full of hard men and our gang had our fair share of ‘salt-of-the-earth’ characters to make life interesting. In this gang there was my Uncle Chop on stand 1, two of the Lewis brothers (Hore and Victor)... my brother-in-law Joe Moeke... and my older cousins Rakai Tamihana and Percy Tehau. Uncle and the Lewis brothers were machines... with one speed setting... GO HARD. The other 3... Joe, Rakai and Percy were big drinkers... hard workers for sure... but breakfast, lunch and dinner type heavy drinkers. Actually it was like science... cos shearers sweat a lot of energy out and need to focus on replacing their fluids... fulla Joe Rakai and Perc were very focused... they’d have 2 bottles of brown at breakfast... 2 at smoko... 3-4 for lunch... 2 in the arvo... and the rest of the crate at the end of the day... That was normal... then there was after dinner.

One night I was sitting with Joe Moeke, Rakai and Percy... in typical Muriwai style... they start picking on me... being the youngest... Joe Moeke was a funny fulla and he’d ask me all the usual questions... all the boys from Muriwai know “Hey... got any hairs on your nuts eow?” “You had a woman bei or you like boys?” “Do your nuts shribble up in a fight bei... or do they stay hard?” always the same shit... ANYWAY Rakai reckons... tell them ‘Get F@%kd’ boy... (in his super fast reo) then heads off... leaving us to talk shit and drink LION BROWN... They had crates of the stuff delivered every few days. I was young so after a few bottles I wasn’t my usual sharp self. Joe and Percy were spinning yarns about the old man... apparently he taught them to shear sheep blah blah... and they’d been shearing blah blah blah for years. Uncle Wallace Smith had his run... Uncle Dave Ngarangione had his runs around Muriwai... Uncle Chop was working for Robbie Cooper in those days. Dollar Tehau was around and Nuku Smilers family... plus many other whanau too.

Soon... we ran out of beers... and Joey reckons... Atta Warren... go down and get 2 bottles from Rakai’s crate. He’s asleep I replied. Well just grab them then... I’ll tell him in the morning says Joe. Nah... I said... Rakai had a habit of knocking people out... before asking“who is it?” ...especially if he gets a fright. I wasn’t that drunk or that stupid. “Scared aye??? Should have known “says Joe... Reckon says Percy. Whatever... I yelled inside my head. Then Joe reckons... go on... be sweet... just be quiet... don’t wake him up. Joe and Percy went on and on and on and on and... Soon I was at the door of the Shearers quarters. I could see Rakai’s crate next to his bed. He was snoring hard... so was uncle Chop. I tip toed across the floor like a farm yard ninja. I reached down to grab 2 bottles... I carefully lifted them from the crate... making sure not to clink them together in case he woke up. I almost had them... SUDDENLY THE LIGHTS WENT ON... Joe and Percy were standing at the door... Joe yells out... WHAT THE HELL YOU UP TO WARREN... you thieving little bugger... HEY CUZZY... THIS YOUNG FULLAS PINCHING YOUR PISS... 

Everyone wakes up... uncle CHOP... cuzzy RAKAI... Then all hell breaks loose... I’m pissed with stolen beers in my hand... I get told off... twice... I get sent to f@%ken bed... twice... Joe and Percy are busy cracking up and making out they caught me... red handed... “Knew it” says Joe. From that point on... if any little thing went missing in our gang... toothpaste... soap... combs... biscuits... f%@ken jandals... I was number one suspect... BASTARDS


CONGRATULATION TO UNCLE NGAPO (BUB) WEHI... his book "Ka Mau Te Wehi" has just been voted as the best biography 2013... An awesome read with some very interesting korero about Muriwai (home sweet home). This was taken from the book... page 99-101... enjoy

The 1968 centennial celebrations of the Ringatu faith were held on the Ngai Tamanuhiri pa at Muriwai. While I had the sanction of the elders and the fortitude to perform the wero, I’d have to admit in hindsight that while physically I was up to the task, I was not as fully prepared mentally as I thought. The ritual quickly crept up on me. Just seconds prior to running out on to the marae I realized I had no taki to lay down before the manuhiri. This ruffled my feathers a bit and I had to quickly improvise. I stripped some bark from the trunk of a tree close by and tied it in a knot.

When the time came, I went through the motions of the wero and ran out onto the open stage of the marae which was surrounded by many tribes and dignitaries. I dazzled the people with all the strict swooping taiaha movements I had seen in my vision, and after a long approach I finally laid the makeshift bark taki at the feet of the then Governor General, Sir Arthur Porritt. When he, as the most important man in the visiting party, picked up the taki, I carefully retreated, leading him and the visiting entourage onto the marae.

I never thought anything more of my actions that day and simply fell back into the ranks of the Waihirere team who were employed to compliment the home orators’ speeches with song. The orators there included Paora Delamere, Kahu Te Hau, Sir Turi Carroll, Arnold Reedy, Member of Parliament for Eastern Maori, Mr. P Rewiti and the old koroua (elder) Ngakohu Pera.

Later that evening my body went into paralysis. I was unable to move my arms, legs, torso, my neck or my jawbone to speak. Luckily I was able to ask my brother-in-law to take me to see the old man Kapi Adams, a well-known blind tohunga, who happened to be in Gisborne at the time. I was a dead weight to my whanau who carried my rigid body down the road to where old Kapi was staying. As we entered the driveway to his lodgings Kapi yelled out in a loud voice “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE BUB WEHI?” By my reckoning he couldn’t see us and had no idea we were coming. Uh oh... I’d done something wrong and he already understood what it was I had transgressed, was my first thought.

The old man then asked the following question and answered it in the same breath. ‘HEI AHA TO MAHI E TAMA, KIHAI KOE I TE MOHIO, KO TERA RAKAU, HE RAKAU WHAKAIRI TUPAPAKU,’ (What have you been doing son, didn’t you know that tree is where dead bodies were hung?) At that moment I realized that in my haste and unpreparedness I taken a strip of bark from a sacred burial tree and transgressed a local tapu. As part of his ritual, he asked the whanau to lay me down before him and he walked on my back as he chanted prayers to remove the paralysis from my body...

Awesome stuff... ka mau te wehi...


Invest in the future... plant a fruit tree

My dad built our house in my grandmothers orchard... we had all sorts of fruit all around the house when I was growing up. Apricots... apples ... 3-4 plum varieties... 3-4 peach varieties... oranges... lemons... grapes... walnuts... pears... locots... feijoas... fruit everywhere... To my nan Takatohiwi... it was kai... an investment in the future... her koha to her growing whanau. Nan had many children... my dad being the eldest son. For every child she had... she'd plant a tree on top of the placenta... and dedicate the tree to that child. 

My dad was the pear tree... and with each child the outdoor pantry was enlarged cos nan beleived in planting fruit trees... that was important... The entire extended whanau enjoyed the fruits of her investment... all through my generation... and the next. Of course...all foods were important to nan... like puha... karengo... kai moana... kai maori... too much my nan... nothing went to waste with her... and pretty fiesty too... 

I remember going to get puha with her... sometimes she'd be having a full-on discussion with the wind... like WHO ARE YOU... WHAT YOU WANT... HAERE ATU... GO ON GET... of course the wind never ever answered back... TE PAE MAUMAHARA... MAURIORA WHANAU

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This is the summer solstice... the time when the sun turns back toward winter. It's the opposite of Matariki and the sun has travelled as far south as it can... now it will slowly turn back and begin it's journey north to complete the cycle that started at Matariki. All cultures that live to the beat of the suns’ drum understand the importance of the equinox and solstice. 

They are the four seasonal markers... the four currents of energy... the four winds of evolution... and the four strands of life. 3 moon cycles per season... and 12 moon cycles per year. The journey from summer to winter (and back) is a well worn path and our ancestors knew each nook and each cranny intimately... they gave them names... gave them tikanga... and gave them powerful purpose. There are 2 solstices (summer and winter) and both serve as significant celebrations in modern Maori life. The summer solstice is Christmas... and the winter solstice is around Matariki.

Solstice is about how long the day is and how long the night. In the summer solstice the days are at there longest and the nights are at their shortest. In the winter solstice the days are at there shortest and the nights are at their longest. The sun travels backwards and forwards between these two points. Around midway between them is the spring and autumn equinox. The equinox means the days and nights are about equal... so effectively smack bang in the middle of the 2 solstice. The spring equinox is about the end of September... the autumn equinox is around about March.

There are 2 solstices per year...Te Hikumata-o-Raumati... and Te Hikumata-o-Takurua. There are 2 equinoxes... Te Ineine-o-Koanga... and Te Ineine-o-Ngahuru. They are part and parcel of the cycle of life... the ebb and flow of the tides... the to and fro of the winds... the pulse and heartbeat of the seasons. Our ancestors knew all this... It wasn’t rocket science... it was observation... MAURIORA



When I was a youngster growing up in Muriwai… everyone was still using the old rua-kumara system to store their potato and kumara crops through winter… so simple a child could do it… and I should know… I wa...s that child. As a family we would all help at harvest time. My dad and uncles would be turning the potato and kumara out with shovels… but before that my o
lder brothers and cousins would clear away the vegetation… stacking it to one side as we had use for it all later. 

Then my dad and uncle dug out the crop. The rest of us got busy releasing all the potato and kumara from the soil and stacking them in rows. As the men unearthed the crop we quickly filtered through the soil to find everything. Row after row was turned over and just as quickly the crop was cleaned and stacked for sorting. As we neared the end of the picking… my mum would start to sort the crop into piles of different sizes and/or varieties. After we finished the picking… everyone joined in the sorting.

My mum gave instructions on size and layout… she designated piles and defined grades… all those who could follow her instructions were welcome to stay… those too young or too stupid to follow instructions were unceremoniously ejected from the garden… eventually the piles became more formal. Usually each pile was about 8 to 10 feet long and 3 to 4 feet wide at the base. The kumara were stacked along the bottom then another layer was placed on top of those but just slightly narrower.

The stacking continues… and as the pile grows higher and higher it also gets narrower and narrower. By the time the pile reaches about 3-4 feet high they tapper almost to a point. It is important to stack the pile properly and once the stack is packed solid… the men begin covering the whole pile with soil. They used at least 6 inches of soil to cover every part of the crop. The soil is packed down real tight all over and a trench is dug round the pile that drops below the bottom level of our stack insuring any water drains away quickly.

Finally the vegetation is generously draped over the piles… It is important to cover the piles with plenty of green material. The sides of the rua-kumara are fairly steep and packed solid with soil. The green material draped across the top will eventually dry and almost fuse together to create a waterproof roof… like a poor mans thatch to help keep the pile dry through winter. Kept in tact a rua-kumara storage pit can store food for over a year.

Not exactly the most sophisticated storage system ever… but it was dirt cheap... MAURIORA



When tracing mana whenua it is important to stay focussed on the light and always follow the fire. The way to clarify the mana whenua for sure... is identify the mana tangata... and that story is often told by the land itself. If you look at any whakapapa it can seem impressive and overwhelming but if you consider one factor when tracing mana... who did they get it from... the trail backwards reveals the line of inheritance and thus the whakapapa of the ahikaaroa

This is the whakapapa of the Rangiwaho clan including Ngati Rangiwaho, Ngati Rangiwaho-Matua, Ngati Tuheke, Ngati Waipapa and Ngati Urungatoka... and as you can see there are some significant links to Kahungnu, Ruapani and Rongowhakaata. The children of Rangiwaho have strong bonds in the Turanga area. Tutekawa and his brothers and sisters had strong connections to all leading whanau.

But if you focus on the people who actually lived there... the people who sustained themselves on the lands around Maraetaha, Whareongaonga, Paritu, Puninga and Okahu... the line of inheritance becomes clear... and shows the line of ownership and occupation since the time of Tamanuhiri.

And again... this is the whakapapa of the Paeaterangi clan including Ngati Rangitauwhiwhia, Ngai Tawehi and Ngati Kahutia... and as you can see there are some significant links to Kahungnu, Tapui Paraheke and Rongowhakaata. The children of Paeaterangi have strong bonds to the Turanga area. Tapunga's children had solid whakapapa connections to all leading whanau in the area.

Again... if you focus on the ahakaaroa and follow the line of fire... the mana whenua becomes apparent. It is the people who live upon the land... those who serve as caretakers and protectors of the land... who are the main beneficiaries of the land and thus they claim mana whenua. If you know that your tipuna had mana whenua... the first question is 'where did they get mana from... and then where did they get mana whenua from. By asking this simple question you can identify the line of ownership and occupation which will eventually lead to our focal tipuna Tamanuhiri. Then the land begins to tell us the story that is etched into the landscape... thus the whakapapa moves to the land.

In the Ngai Tamanuhiri territory there are many many maunga, awa, taunga, kainga, puke etc all over the land. The actual pa and kainga themselves are long since gone but the names remain as a permanent link to that time and those people. If we look at our CORE whakapapa and take note of the names highlighted in red... these people having naming rights to this place... because this land is theirs. They own it... so they named it... pretty simple really

Now have a look at the places on the map... they show 8 generations... clearly a line of mana whenua that indicates the path of inheritance. Bfollowing the owners from generation to generation wecan determine the line of inheritance invested in this land. The land itself is speaking to us... telling us about it's layout... linking us to the sea... telling us about the hunting and fishing.... telling us about the wars... telling us great victories... telling us about our survival. If you listen carefully... the land will tell history


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


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.



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 they 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. 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



Remember the days when kids gathered to watch the men pull up the hangi. Back in the 70s it was the ultimate time of every occasion. The hangi would be set as per usual... but wrapping the meat was... how should I put it... not quite as professional as today... the baskets weren’t so robust either... but when the hangi was uncovered and removed from the pit... all us kids would rush in to retrieve any meat stuck to the red hot rocks. Back in those days there was always heaps. We were super tuff back then... the heat from the rocks was no deterrent... some of us were in bare feet and some tried the snatch grab approach... run off with the rock (haha). It was awesome anyway... and one of my favourite childhood memories. 

It’s not ‘PC’ having kids hang around the hangi pit these days... but back then... PC still meant Police Constable... back then if you stepped out of line... if you ‘F’ up accidentally on purpose... you got a swift kick up the arse (or 2)... there and then... from almost anyone... how bloody un-PC is that... no need for the Police Constable BUT... that was just the village... raising the child. I was raised by that village... and met that boot... but more importantly I was raised by an over-whelming sense of belonging... of being included... of being supported... and being valued as a member of the whanau, hapu and iwi. Taku he ki te huatea... no muri te huauri.

THE HANGI or earth oven is pretty basic. A pit is dug maybe a couple of feet deep or so. This is done to channel the heat upward. When the fire and hot rocks are placed in the pit... the surrounding compact soil helps focus the heat upwards and through the food etc. Of course the rocks need to be heated and this will take a couple hours. You would stack enough wood (see inset) to burn for 2 hours... then place all your rocks on top. The stones need to be red hot when you set your hangi.

Make sure the pit is clean before you lay the rocks in place. You don’t want dust to mix with the steam etc. Lay most of the rocks along the bottom... but leave some of the smaller rocks to place between the food parcels to help disperse the heat. When the rocks are in place start adding the food baskets. Remember put some of the small rocks in amongst the parcels. Back in the old days... the food was all wrapped in leaves... today we tend to use tinfoil. Stack the baskets in place and add any further items to the top. Now take your inner cloth... (all cloths should be soaking in water while the rocks are being heated) and completely cover the stack of food.

Make sure the inner cover is wrapped tight and well tucked in. Back in the day we would have used large leaves to completely cover the food but today we use heavy cloth. Cover the whole pile with the heavier cloth... as many as needed to make sure it’s well covered... Make sure the steam stays in and the soil stays out. Add water... it’s important the steam is really pumping at this point. Now cover the whole thing with about 6 inches of soil... or at least until any steam leaks are stopped... Timings and basic protocols tend to differ from place to place.

Of course all iwi are different... every hapu... every whanau and every marae has its own way of doing things... different timings... different food preferences... different ways of covering the food... different ways of heating up the rocks... even different methods of achieving the steaming process... AND we’d like you to share your experience... tell us how you guys do it back home.

Let us know your tips for a good hangi... ahakoa te aha... your tips about your iwi protocols... your tips about whanau methods... your tips about which food is best etc. Make your comments below... If you start with the words TIP: I’ll add that korero right here... so all those who share this post can get a better idea of tribal defences etc... Be an awesome resource... tera pea ka korero i te reo... he pai tena... kei a koe te tikanga... MAURIORA WHANAU



This map was created between 1996-2010... the presented to Rakaipaaka at Muriwai Marae to illustrate our claim to the whenua. It was put together by Noel and Warren Pohatu. 

The maps below are an indication of how each land block is divided. The pa and villages that make up this land have long gone... but the names remain attached to the land. If we look very carefully we will see... that the names in our whakapapa are also attached to the land. Te Whare o Tamanuhiri, Te Ana o Tamaraukura, Te Kohe o Paea, Rangiwaho, Te Taumata o Puraho, Te Toka o Tutekawa, Te Pahangahanga o Tapunga... the land is talking to us... the land is telling it's story of our history


Sunday, December 22, 2013


If you see your whakapapa as a series of names listed on a piece of paper… then that’s all it will ever be - a list of names on a piece of paper. To really appreciate who you are... it is important to know the stories of those who contribute DNA to your existence.

This is my male line (ure-tarewa)… but it is not exclusive to me… indeed all male Pohatu whanau members share this exact same whakapapa including all my uncles and my cousins. My dad had several brothers and each of those brothers had several sons and together we are the conscious portion of a never ending story. Collectively and individually we contribute in our own way to the future of our whanau/hapu/iwi.  

My uncle Nick (Takaratua) was a sign writer with a real creative side when he was young. He was our happy-go-lucky uncle and nothing was ever a problem. The community at large knew him as ‘Amigo’ and he went everywhere in his gumboots. Uncle Nick was a really funny guy and I always loved my favourite uncle. My dad was his older brother and by all accounts they had their rivalries but I remember we lived next door to my grandmother and Uncle Nick was there to see her on a daily basis. He spent hours in the garden next to our house. Many times my dad would see him working away in the garden and tells us to get out there and help uncle. When we collected shovels to go help Uncle Nick he would tell us to put them back and go to the beach before our dad came out again… he was so cool. Mind you I was thinking to myself “wheres uncle Nicks three sons” but we had an awesome extended whanau and life was good.

My Uncle Hare was brought up by the Taipiha whanau and spent much of his childhood in Teteko. By all accounts when ever he visited Muriwai he didn’t really appreciate that half the boys he hung out with were his brothers. But uncle eventually returned to Muriwai and began to unravel the whanaungatanga that was kept from him for so long. When I began my journey of discovery (about our whakapapa), Uncle Hare was a staunch supporter of my efforts. When I recited our tribal whakapapa from Maui to my dad… uncle had tears in his eyes… and in his mihi to me afterwards he told me he had never heard that whakapapa delivered inside Tamanuhiri meetinghouse ever. From that point on Uncle Hare insisted I was involved in our tribal research. He also helped bridge the divide between myself and our kaumatua and help watea the paepae so that I might speak on our behalf. I remain indebted to my handsome uncle and very close to his whanau.

Me, Barry and Lester were all born in the same year… I’m the oldest (Oct 24)… Barry was born three days later and Lester popped out a couple of months after that (me and Barry use to joke that our parents were probably at the same party). We all went to school together… that’s when Lester caught up and overtook us… but Barry was the smooth ladies man, Lester was an academic genius and I was the creative smart arse. Nothing has changed. Barry is up in Kakadu and as handsome as ever. Lester is working for the Trust and using his powerful brain to guide our iwi… and here I am telling tales and loving every second of history. I love these two guys like brothers and we will always be there for each other… But hey there are many many cousins and whanau out there that I hold very near to my heart. Whakapapa is all about horis with stories… start collecting yours… Mauriora!!!


Toitu te Mana Maori

This was taken from our Mana Whenua Report 2009... As stated above, Native Land Court minute books have been the principal primary source for this project. Many of the whakapapa presented throughout this report have been sourced from the evidence given by Ngai Tamanuhiri claimants, as recorded in the minute book. However, the written record contained within the minute books is the evidence as transcribed by the court clerk. The minute books contain many different spellings of the names of hapu, individuals and places. In addition, there are wide variations in the use of hyphens.

When writing research reports, CFRT usually requires that the normal academic practise of quoting the evidence as written is followed. Thus, names are usually quoted as they were spelt in the minute book, even if that is not in accordance with the commonly accepted spelling.
In the case of this report, the Ngai Tamanuhiri Whanui Trust have requested that previous spelling errors made by others should not continue to be reproduced. While the writers of the minute books may not have been certain as to how to spell a name spoken by a witness, the witnesses themselves knew who they were referring to. We have therefore agreed that where names have obviously been mis-spelt in the minute book, that the preferred spelling will be used in this report. Any changes made in quotations or whakapapa are therefore noted in the footnotes. We have followed the direction of Ngai Tamanuhiri Whanui Trust as to the correct spellings, and Warren Pohatu has been our guide in correcting the mistakes of others. 

written by Heather Kay


Hine Hakirirangi and her pet Riroriro
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. 

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..

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Taken from my manuscript for... Mana Wahine...

Hineahuone is in fact the garden of mortal man. However Hineahuone’s auspicious life began, literally, as a hand full of dirt. In fact it was Tane-Mahuta, son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, who wanted to find a female human to take as a wife. He looked hard but discovered that there was no female figure and he decided to create one. Tane performed a powerful karakia before taking a hand full of sacred soil from Te-one-i-Kurawaka. He started shaping the soil into a basic body shape. 
Tane started adding arms and legs to the figure. Then he fashioned the head, the hands and the feet. Finally Tane shaped her sexual organs. When at last Tane was happy with the final shape he decided to breathe life into her body. Tane took a deep breath. He then pressed his nostrils to her nostrils and began to blow life giving breath through his nostrils into hers. This is actually the origin of the hongi and it remains as an important part of our culture today. After a while the female figure began to breath and slowly opened her eyes. Life seeped slowly into every inch of her body and soon she was able to sit and look upon the world of light. 
Hineahuone and Tane Mahuta
Within minutes Hineahuone was able to raise herself up from the dirt and stand on her own two feet. It was Tane who named her Hineahuone (woman shaped from soil) and he took her to be his wife. Tane and Hineahuone had a daughter together and named her Hinetitama. When Hinetitama grew up Tane took her as his wife. Hineahuone was annoyed by this behavior and she left Tane. Hineahuone eventually married Tane’s younger brother Tumatauenga. Together they had a son called Tiki who is actually the first mortal male.