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!!!

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