Wai ora - The significance of our awa
“Rivers are the veins of Papatūānuku, Earth Mother, and the water in them is her lifeblood. Rivers nourish all living beings and link us with ancestors.”
Water is the essence of all life, it is the blood of Mother Earth (Papatūānuku) that supports all people, plants and wildlife. It is a significant part of our culture, as it played a large role in how our tūpuna travelled, lived and survived.
As a source of mahinga kai, a place to collect materials and hāngi stones, as well as being access routes and a means of travel, rivers hold significance for not only for our ancestors, but for us today. Our tūpuna valued rivers and waterways as they were in close proximity of other wāhi tapu, settlements or other historic sites. Many of our people settled near rivers for these reasons.
Not only are rivers and waterways practical, but they also form a large, necessary part of our tribal identity, with many particular rivers and waterways playing a significant role in tribal stories.
Te Puna o Riuwaka (Riuwaka river)
Just 16km out of Motueka, in the Kahurangi National Park, you can find the Riuwaka river. Te Puna (meaning spring of water) o Riuwaka is where the northern branch of the Riuwaka river rises from the Tākaka Hill. The pure water flows underground through limestone caves and marble rocks beneath the Takaka Hill, and pours into a deep, clear pool. The river continues flowing down the hill, running into many pools along the way such as the Crystal Pool. Not only is Te Puna o Riuwaka a place of natural beauty, it is also wāhi tapu for our people. It is a sacred, supernatural place where our tūpuna would visit. Many of our ancestors lived along the Riuwaka river, and would visit Te Puna o Riuwaka, to sustain their spirits as well as cleanse and heal their bodies.
Read more on the healing waters of Te Puna o Riuwaka here.
As with the Riuwaka river, the Motueka river runs through rough hill terrain, with its source at Mount Owen, it then flows down towards Tasman Bay. The river is a large part of Motueka and our Whakarewa lands. Many of the occupied land areas that were wrongly sold to the New Zealand Company were alongside the river. Motueka river is commonly used for recreational purposes such as fishing, swimming and kayaking. Check out this video from Motueka High School, with some students kayaking down the awa.
Make sure you incorporate your awa/roto/moana (river/lake/sea), that you affiliate with in your mihi. If you aren’t quite sure, reach out to extended NRAIT whānau, a kaumatua, or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To include your awa into your mihi, say ‘Ko Riuwaka te awa’ or ‘Ko Motueka te awa’. You could also mention your roto (lake) and/or your moana (sea).
It is important to our history and culture to grow and develop in the place you belong. Traditionally, that is our tūrangawaewae, and for Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa hapū, that is the Whakarewa lands of Motueka.
Traditionally hapū would stay in the rohe of their marae and move together, but today we move around so easily, and as a result, we live throughout Aotearoa and the world. Even though we’ve spread, we encourage Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust members to reconnect and return home in the hope that members develop a sense of unity and belonging, deepen their connection and embrace the legacy of our tūpuna.
This year, Jeremy decided to move himself and his whānau back home to Te Tau Ihu from Wellington. Which means his tamariki will grow up alongside their cousins, as well as learn more about their tūpuna. Reconnecting with the whenua and their whānau is important to Jeremy.
Check out this video, and listen to his kōrero about how being home and reconnected has impacted him and his whānau.
The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust Board - Our kōrero
The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust Board represents a hapū made up of unique members from two iwi, Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa. The members of the hapū are unique because they all descend from a key group of 109 tūpuna, the original owners of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka.
As a Trust today, we own, manage and nurture the land holdings on behalf, and for the benefit of the hapū. But we haven’t always been here, in fact we are a result of hundreds of challenging years. This is our story of how we got here.
The origins of our Trust lie deep within the history of our lands. On October 1841, a hui was held on the shores of Kaiteriteri beach involving 12 Motueka Chiefs and members of The New Zealand Company (the Europeans).
This was a defining moment in our timeline as it marked the day where a promise was made to us that a particular area of land, Te Maatu, would remain ours. The Europeans were granted the right to settle, but not to take all the land, and more certainly, this specific area of land.
It was 12 years later when the land was officially taken by Governor George Grey for the purpose of building a school. He made two Crown Grants to the Bishop of New Zealand, which saw the transfer of 1078 acres of our land that belonged to our ancestors in Motueka given to the Anglican Church. These lands become known as the Whakarewa Estates and the Trust established to manage the estate was known as the Whakarewa School Trust Board.
Although individual Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa descendants were recognised as being the rightful land owners, their permission and compensation was not sought or given for this land transfer, and so began our fight, our struggle and our hardship over the next five to six generations to have our tūrangawaewae returned to us.
We fought by way of submissions, petitions and deputations, which resulted in three major investigations into rightful land ownership.
Yet our lands continued to remain in the hands of Whakarewa School Trust Board.
In the early 1980s, the Ngāti Rārua Council brought up the issue of ownership of the land when the Whakarewa School Trust Board underwent yet another restructure. It was found that the way the property was being used at the time was not in line with what was stated in the Trust deed.
Finally, we started to make some ground.
Support from many Pākehā and Māori people assisted the cause, and in the early 1990s dialogue opened between the Anglican Church and manawhenua tribes.
Whakarewa belongs to us
The efforts of our ancestors were rewarded in 1993 when the Honourable Doug Kidd sponsored a Private Members Bill to return the Whakarewa Estate to the rightful Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa ki Motueka descendants. Nearly 137 years later, the ownership of the lands and assets were returned to the descendants of the original owners, thanks to the passing of this bill. The act called the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust Empowering Act 1993, established the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust Board we have today.
Prospering but not forgetting
Just like the Whakarewa School Trust Board who had a deed to follow, we too have the same in the form of our Empowering Act. It sets out the purpose of the Trust and the nature of the benefits we provide to the owners of this land.
We separate our work into two sections – asset management and investment so that we can continue thriving and providing benefits to our owners, and the social and cultural arm which assists our owners in areas of education, sporting ambitions and cultural events. Our focus is to provide the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa ki Motueka hapū with a hand up to achieving their goals and aspirations.
We are proud to be able to continue providing benefits to our members and ensure they have a great quality of life, while recognising the struggles of our tūpuna.
That’s why it’s important to continue telling this kōrero, so the next generation, and the generation after it, know what happened to our tūpuna, why Motueka is important to us as a hapū and to know that together, we are stronger.
Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu – 2015 Post Graduate Scholarship Recipient
During the current three-month period of our education funding programme (1 June – 31 August), we received a wonderful update from one of our previous recipients on how they have progressed in their education journey so far. Our latest blog is to share NRAIT owner Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu’s kōrero on what she’s been up to.
In 2015, Hanareia received the NRAIT Post Graduate Scholarship after graduating her Bachelor of Science in biological science, and a Bachelor of Arts in Māori studies and writing. After completing her Bachelor’s degrees, she began studying a Master of Science at The University of Auckland.
Hanareia has just recently received her final grade for her Masters, from these results she will be awarded a Masters in Biological Sciences with First Class Honours. Not only did she achieve this with a top grade, Hanareia was also recently awarded the Fulbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award for 2017 at a ceremony at Parliament.
Hanareia and her whānau at Parliament in June to receive her Fulbright Award.
During her studies, she took a variety of papers based in plant biology, biotechnology, plant pathology and protein interactions. In her research, Hanareia spent time working alongside the Next generation bio pesticides programme, which is aiming to develop environmentally safe alternatives to pesticides currently used to control insect pests and diseases that limit productivity in the pastoral and horticultural sectors.
As Hanareia puts it, this area of study is beneficial to Māori, especially for Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa ki Motueka hapū, as our whenua is fertile land for growing kai, and diseases and insect pests can have a devastating impact.
“Take all the opportunities that come to you and do not be afraid to seek them out yourselves. Putting myself out there and connecting to people is the best thing I have done to further my career and networks in science. Always give back to those that have helped you on your journey and inspire those that will be ngā rangatira o āpōpō. Connecting science and Māoritanga can give you a uniqueness that is desired in Aotearoa and is needed to assist Māori iwi, hapū and whānau to grow and support their goals and aspirations.
I would like to once again thank NRAIT and whānau for the support I received, as it without a doubt allowed me to pursue my goals and the fantastic outcome for my MSc.
Hanareia hopes that one day Māori scientists will be leading the charge on many fronts to ensure Māori are being heard and represented. Protecting our taonga species and crops are important in a world that is constantly changing and new threats are forming.
You can read more about Hanareia’s journey here.
This isn’t the final step in Hanareia’s education. Next month she will be travelling over to America to pursue her PhD in Plant Pathology at Penn State University.
Whakamihi Hanareia, NRAIT and your whānau are extremely whakahī (proud), and we’re grateful to you for sharing this kōrero.
We are proud to continue our support for our hapū’s education pathways. Through our education funding programme NRAIT owners can apply to receive grants for anything from trades training through to post graduate degrees like Hanaeria. To apply for an education scholarship or grant click here.
All photos taken and supplied by Naomi Aporo.
This month, over Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Taranaki based weaver Mako Jones visited Te Āwhina Marae to share her mōhio (knowledge) of weaving. A weaving wānanga, was held for experienced weavers of Te Tau Ihu. During the weekend, those who attended used techniques from our ancestors to weave two whāriki (floor mats).
The floor mats woven over the long weekend were created by the group for the purpose of whāriki kopaki for tangihanga.
Historically, floor mats were of great importance before European settlers arrived. As the whare had dirt floors whāriki were used as the basic floor covering. Finer floor mats were made for sleeping, which lay over the top of whāriki, and for special occasions, such as for the birth of a child. The use of whāriki in the place of a coffin is now becoming an alternative option for our whānau.
The transfer of knowledge from our kaumātua down through the generations is essential for keeping our culture and traditions alive and well. This kaupapa is important for preserving our culture, and that’s why the Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust are proud to support and sponsor the next weaving wānanga, which will be held in early March, 2018.
The reappearance of Matariki, a cluster of 7 stars, signals the new year. In Aotearoa, Matariki is the Māori new year, and is when we rejoice in new beginnings, remember the past and celebrate the present. Some iwi celebrate Matariki at different times of the year, but June 24th marks the start of Matariki for most New Zealanders. It is also a time to celebrate and give respect to the whenua, and celebrate the tangata.
During Matariki we also take the time to look back at those who have passed and have been returned to Papatūānuku. Historically our ancestors would view the Matariki stars with grief, and tell Matariki the names of those who had gone since the stars set.
Traditionally, tohunga (an expert) would look to Matariki as a prediction for the next harvest. If the stars were bright it showed a warm, favourable season for planting, which ensures a good harvest. If the stars were unclear or close together, then it was a negative sign. The time for planting would depend on these signs, with the good sign of bright stars meaning that planting would happen earlier.
During this time of remembrance, we also celebrate the future through different rituals and activities. Celebrations include the creation and flight of kites and lanterns, cultural performances and waiata from our tamariki, and hangi. We also celebrate the rising of Matariki by re-telling our kōrero to our whānau.
Events in the rohe
There are many events around the rohe to celebrate and recognise Matariki. There’s a lot to be learned so we hope you get the chance to get along to something nearby.
Matariki Open Day – Te Āwhina Marae – this event was on Friday 9June. Did you make it along?
Matariki Lantern Parade – Victory Community Centre, June 14th 3 - 8pm
Matariki Celebrations – Ngāti Koata Trust, June 24th 9am – 9pm
Keep up to date with these events through their Facebook pages.
Education funding - applications now open
The Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust’s education grant and scholarship funding programme is now open for applications for 2017, and as with each year, we open applications for 3 months to NRAIT owners who meet the criteria for each grant.
Our aim is to make education accessible for all owners and to prepare our children and young people to become employable adults with skills that will benefit them and society. So rather than just focusing on tertiary education, we also offer grants towards trades training, adult education, and study assistance for primary and secondary students.
A big focus for us now however, and into the future, is also developing people to work in key industries where Aotearoa is currently lacking a younger workforce, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We encourage our owners, who are about to enter tertiary education, to consider these areas of study, and explore our funding options to support them throughout their education journey.
Business management and other related subjects are also an important focus area for us to continue the entrepreneurial legacy of our tūpuna. These skills are also important for the Trust, as we need to continue bringing new talent, with the right skills and experience, on board to drive the organisation forward.
However, if you’re looking to take the next step in learning te reo, learning a trade, or any other adult education programme, the grants are available to help you achieve this.
We are pleased with the success of our education funding recipients last year, and we look forward to supporting more of our owners in their studies.
Applications are now open, and can only be done online. These must be completed by 31 August 2017. If you have questions about the application process, please contact Nichola Dixon at email@example.com.
Whenua Planting Ohu Maatu 2017
Ohu Maatu 2017 was a special time to remember our tūpuna, and an opportunity for reconnecting, learning and celebrating. It was also a time to give back, and acknowledge our ancestors for our legacy. During the weekend we visited Te Uma, to plant the whenua of our new born babies.
Whenua (placenta) is what nurtured our tamariki while in our mother’s puku, so we bring it back to our whenua Te Uma. Planting the placenta of our new born has been a cultural custom for us for centuries. When we plant the whenua, it forms a connection between our tamariki and Papatūānuku, the earth mother who gives birth to all things.
We also planted trees along with the whenua, which will grow with our tamariki. The whenua planting also represents that our tamariki have their feet firmly grounded on this land, and they always have a place to return to, their tūrangawaewae. We planted the whenua with the sands that have come from our ancestral maunga, Mt Taranaki.
As part of her personal journey to reconnect to her whenua in Te Tau Ihu, Emma Park wanted to plant her baby’s whenua at Te Uma.
“We were attending the NRAIT AGM and thought that this would be the perfect time to bring his whenua. On the Friday night, we were advised by Anaru Wilkie that my partner Shenan also has whakapapa connections to NRAIT and Te Āwhina, and this reassured me that we were doing the right thing.
The NRAIT office were so awesome and provided a special pack with a native koromiko and all the things that we would need for planting.
We were privileged to share the day with another whānau from Taranaki. My partner chose the location and dug the hole before Aunty Hera did a karanga for us all to come down to the designated place for planting whenua. If you haven't been to Te Uma the view is amazing looking down on our whenua.
Both whānau returned their whenua to Papatūānuku, while we were blessed to have Uncle Andy and Rāmiri to say karakia for us.
The experience was very uplifting knowing our baby has a physical and spiritual link back to Motueka.”
Thank you to Emma for sharing her kōrero.
If you’re interested in planting the whenua of your tamariki, or would like more information on what is involved, contact Nichola on 03 548 0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Poupou Unveiling – The gateway to our rohe
Whānau from NRAIT were part of a group that unveiled and blessed the first two poupou (carvings) at the Abel Tasman National Park early on the morning of Saturday 8 April. The poupou are the first of eight gateway sculptures to be placed at major entrances of the park.
With the installation of the first two poupou, the project that was more than a decade in the making, was underway at last. The location of our ancestors in these key places throughout the park highlights the relationships our families have with the rohe as manawhenua.
This project is significant for us as not only will visitors come to Abel Tasman National Park and see the natural beauty, they will also gain an understanding of the enduring history the area holds for Māori and the people of Te Tau Ihu.
These first poupou represent two rangatira, Turangāpeke and Hohaia Rangiauru.
Turangāpeke is a well-known name among NRAIT members as it is also the name of the wharenui at Te Āwhina Marae. Turangāpeke is of Ngāti Rārua, and his children were the original land owners of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka, our whenua.
The pou of Turangāpeke has been placed at Anchorage, and holds a taiaha, which is symbolic of his leadership as a warrior and strategist during the time of the heke (migrations).
Hohaia Rangiauru of Te Ātiawa, was also an original owner of our Whakarewa lands. He was the Motueka Chief of Te Ātiawa, a key figure in the historic Kaiteriteri hui of 1841. He was also fundamental in providing evidence at the 1843-1844 Māori Land Court hearings, a large part of our whānau’s history.
Hohaia Rangiauru can be seen at Medlands, holding a tokotoko, which represents his authority that he had as a chief, and with his involvement in securing the customary rights to our lands through the Land Court hearings.
The original carvings were completed by John Mutu at Te Āwhina Marae, which were then made into moulds. To increase the longevity, the carvings were replicated into concrete as they will be exposed to many natural elements such as salt water and salt air from the sea. The taiaha and tokotoko held by the individual tūpuna are made from bronze.
At the completion of the project, carvings will be found throughout the park with each poupou placed at the other prominent gateways. The tūpuna are placed in the areas closely aligned with each of them and their kōrero.
In time, the poupou will be integrated with technology, where they’ll be connected with wi-fi spots, to tell the stories of the ancestors and manawhenua through visitors’ smartphones.
This is a very exciting opportunity to ensure our legacy and our kōrero are not lost, and people from all over the world can learn about the tangata whenua through new media while also experiencing the natural beauty of the rohe.
Representatives from DoC and Project Janzoon, NRAIT members, and others from the community at the unveiling of Turangāpeke at Anchorage.