Preserving our history

Storytelling is an important part of Māori culture, where history, art, mythology and local knowledge come together. The preservation of tikanga, te reo and our history relies heavily on kōrero being shared and passed down through generations.

As there was no written language in Aotearoa before Europeans arrived, Māori primarily verbally told the stories, although this is not the only way stories were communicated. Haka, waiata, karakia, and poems were all different ways that kōrero was shared.

Traditionally, kōrero was shared in the marae. It was important to gather as a community to listen, watch and learn the stories of our iwi. Today, we retain this tradition by gathering as a community, whether it’s in Motueka or online, to share stories of the Trust, our history and our people. We also continue the tradition of gathering with the hapū to hear these stories during Ohu Maatu, where we recite the heke (migration) and our story after settling in Te Tau Ihu.

For the future
Storytelling is vital in how we pass on information and knowledge, and only survives when it’s passed on from one generation to the next.  These stories share valuable insight into the land around us, like how Riuwaka got its original name of Turi Auraki, or how our maunga (mountains) were used by our tūpuna to communicate.

As a Trust, we want to continue to share the stories that make us who we are, such as the history of the Trust and how it was established, as well as the efforts from tūpuna like Hohaia Rangiauru, who worked to ensure the land taken was returned to its rightful owners.

These stories serve a purpose, as they retain the Māori language, as well as our identity. So, for the future we are focused on preserving the stories shared amongst our whānau, so they are not lost. We are working with kaumatua, owners and whānau to put together the stories of our history and tūpuna in written form here on the NRAIT website.

We already have a lot of information about our whenua, our people and our history, but will be adding more. Head over to the ‘Our Stories’ section to read some already written.

If you have information or kōrero that has been passed down to you about our tūpuna, whenua, or history, that you would like to share, please contact us at