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Amohaere Houkamau with family portraits in Tuwhakairiora at the Hinemaurea Marae in Wharekahika. 110 www.nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
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Amohaere at home with her parents and sister Moana. Amohaere and Selwyn at the ancestral house at Hinemaurea Marae.
“ ... I LEARNT THAT IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUES AFFECTING MAORI AT A DOMESTIC LEVEL OUR DESTINY LAY IN COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP”
With her Uncle Kahutia at a local rugby match between Hicks Bay and Tokararangi.
FINDING THE TIME to watch the sun’s first rays spread across the day is a luxury for Amohaere Houkamau. She enjoys knowing that her name is linked to the symbolism of the dawn. It has, however, taken her a number of years to appreciate how this and the way she has lived her life have merged. Now, working on the seventh floor of the Beehive as a senior political advisor to Minister of Finance Bill English, she sometimes finds it hard to believe that the young woman raised within the heart of Ngati Porou on the East Cape has arrived at such a destination. “I came from a classic Maori whanau who had uprooted themselves from their turangawaewae and moved into Gisborne to make the most of employment opportunities. Both my parents (Tau and Awhina née Pahuru) live by the philosophy that if you want something in life you work for it.” A sense of duty to whanau, hapu and iwi and the honour of being named after her distinguished grandmother (who with her husband Sugar raised nine sons on the family dairy farm at Matakaoa Point) embedded in the younger Amohaere the value of being accorded special acknowledgement and its associated responsibilities. Leaving the coast to study at Canterbury University in 1979, Amohaere thought she could strike out on her own by following in the footsteps of her tupuna (ancestor) Reweti Kohere who had studied there in the late 1890s. Inspired by Reweti’s activism as a journalist and budding politician in improving the rights
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of Maori to their land and language, Amohaere also studied in those areas and was active within the 1981 Springbok tour protest movement in Christchurch. When her father reminded her she should concentrate on what was happening “under our own noses”, Amohaere shifted her focus to community initiatives within Christchurch. She worked as a Maori community advisor with the National Youth Council and Youth Workers Association and helped to establish the first Drop-in Youth Centre, Te Roopu Awhina, as well as the Maori Women’s Resource Centre in Christchurch. The rapidly changing social and political landscape of the late 1980s meant that Amohaere had to quickly adopt strong advocacy skills. “During that time I learnt that in order to deal with the issues affecting Maori at a domestic level our destiny lay in collective leadership. I became part of a movement that was challenging the status quo not only in terms of our relationship with government but also with iwi,” she says. When Ngati Porou iwi arrived in Christchurch with an upand-coming tribal leader wanting to learn more about his father’s whakapapa (family tree) to Ngai Tahu, Amohaere admits she wasn’t immediately impressed by the young Selwyn Parata. “I thought he was going to try to tell Ngai Tahu how they should do their business but I realized soon enough, as he endeared himself to the local community, that he would become significant in my life.” Two years later Amohaere with Awhina, her daughter from a previous relationship, and Selwyn returned to Gisbourne and Ruatoria to reaffirm their credentials amongst their own iwi. Selwyn took on the role as regional manager for the newly established Iwi Transition Agency that would evolve into the
At St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki.
Ministry of Maori Affairs. Amohaere started working with iwi and hapu throughout Gisborne and the East Coast, explaining the implications of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989, a new piece of legislation that was to herald significant changes for New Zealand families. “This work established my profile amongst the greater Maori community. It was the perfect way to grow my community development skills and allowed me the opportunity to show my own people that I was willing to be their voice when it came to dealing with bureaucracies and government policy,” she says. At this time her own family expanded with the birth of three more children: Materoa, Ngarimu and Rapaea. Amohaere’s professional and personal planning and networking skills were utilized in many cultural settings and soon she was knocking on the door of the tribal runanga (organization) suggesting they develop their own social service policies. It was an innovative and timely approach to the devolution policies of the early 1990s which saw many government services being contracted out to non-government organizations. It didn’t take long for the leadership of Ngati Porou Runanga to see the value of such a proposition but they had one condition – Amohaere came with the package. Since becoming chief executive of Ngati Porou Runanga in 1997, Amohaere has seen enormous growth in the iwi infrastructure, especially around delivery of health, education and housing services. “We established a Treaty-based relationship with the Crown founded on the principles of reciprocal responsibility for the social and economic wellbeing of our people. Through its efforts, Te Runanga o Ngati Porou has survived for the past
22 years without a Treaty settlement, accumulated assets worth approximately $10 million, provided employment for hundreds and achieved sustained prosperity for its 85,000 tribal members.” There have been many highlights for Amohaere although sustaining her energy has been a challenge within a predominantly male hierarchy. One of her most significant achievements has been the establishment of the Tairawhiti (East Coast) Development Partnership where she brokered partnerships between central government, local and iwi authorities and business and community sectors to promote and enhance cultural, economic, environmental and social development strategies for the region. Recognition, however, has not been just within her own community. Over the years Amohaere has been active on many national boards including those of the Lottery National Communities, the Charities Commission and the Maori Television Service. Moving from the heart of a tribal entity to the centre of the nation’s political machine was not even on the horizon for Amohaere until a personal approach from Bill English gave her pause to think seriously about working in his office. “My understanding of the role is to provide the minister with advice on a range of subjects,” she says. One of the points he made is that her advisory role will not be confined to Maori issues. “By accepting the role I saw that I was bringing a perspective, a life experience and a quality network that hadn’t existed in this environment before. It was a hard decision to move away from working directly with my own people but I realized that doing so would allow someone else to rise to the occasion and take our people on to their next stage of development.” NZ Life & Leisure 113
ANNE THORP COMBINES FOOD AND TELEVISION WITH MAORI CULTURE. LUNCH AT HER PLACE IS A MIX OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY FOOD SERVED TO AN ASSEMBLY OF FAVOURITE GUESTS WITH A GENEROUS SEASONING OF AROHA AND MANAAKI
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THE CONCEPT OF MANAAKI, translated as hospitality or generosity, is central to Maori culture. It is this concept that Maori culinary entertainer Anne Thorp has attempted to capture in her cooking series Kai Ora. Originally produced for Maori Television by Anne’s own company, Pakiri Productions, it has become the first New Zealand cooking show to air on the Sky Food channel. Anne’s unique cultural perspective is interwoven throughout the series. This allows her to blend her culinary prowess using fresh New Zealand produce with the personalities of Maori guests who include well-known entertainers, community leaders, politicians and restaurateurs. Her very first show hosted Whirimako Black (who featured in the March/April issue of NZ Life & Leisure) who provided the theme music for the Kai Ora series. Whirimako’s involvement set the scene for bringing gifts and koha and for adding the dimension of “singing for your supper” to the show, another concept of manaaki.
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Rewana, Maori bread.
Former Kiwi league star Matt Rua (left) and Shaun Davis.
Anne’s lunch guests include (from left front) Michael Barrymore, Jack Bourke, Shaun Davis, Gabrielle Binning (obscured), Matt Rua, Jack Gilchrist and Amokura Panoho.
For Anne, aroha is the essential ingredient in her cooking and she advocates the need to connect heart with hands when preparing food. “Otherwise the food has a bland, less appealing feel about it.” Being involved in all aspects from preparing food to serving her guests is where Anne has extended her business acumen. With commercial kitchens in both her Pakiri beach house and her Auckland home in Herne Bay, she creates intimate spaces that can accommodate an All Black engagement party or an international celebrity dinner. Both homes reflect Anne’s appreciation of life and her desire to project her version of manaakitanga. While at Pakiri, though not tribally connected (she is of Ngati Awa and Ngai Te Rangi descent), she fosters close relationships with the tangata whenua and at home in Herne Bay she is constantly visited by family, friends and associates who provide her with inspiration and support. It is obvious that coming from a large family has helped shape Anne’s personality. With seven siblings and an extended family, she took on preparing meals for them at the age of 10 and thus paved the way for her future in the culinary arts. “We had limited resources but I had the opportunity to plan a menu that met our budget. My interest in food preparation extended to food presentation and things have gone on from there.” It was Anne’s personality that persuaded John McCready, CEO of the Living Channel and Food TV, to feature the Kai Ora series. “Anne has produced a very good cooking programme and its broad appeal is that it is a very New Zealand programme, not just a Maori programme. As a result it has set the benchmark for other New Zealand food programmes on our channel.” 88 www. nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
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Opera singer Jack Bourke.
“IT’S NOT ABOUT WHO YOU ARE WHEN YOU DINE AT MY TABLE OR PERCH BY MY KITCHEN BENCH. IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU CAN ENJOY THE MOMENT”
It was at her Herne Bay home that NZ Life & Leisure was able to experience Anne’s aroha at first hand. A gift of a new rewana plant (Maori bread yeast) had recently arrived from cousin Rusty in the Bay of Plenty. This was the third time the gift had been delivered but as Anne lamented, “I wasn’t emotionally connected enough to appreciate them and the other two died”. With this last gift Anne has been dutifully following instructions and is very conscious of the ritual she is about to perform. “This bug or plant is about 50 years old and has been nurtured by my relatives from one generation to the next. It’s important to treat it with respect.” With the bug mixed and the dough made, an exultant Anne delivers one mixture to sit in front of the gas fire to rise. She returns the other to its glass container that has been ritually cleaned, adding two freshly peeled potatoes before putting it back into the fridge. Working happily in the kitchen that also accommodates a high-backed leather office chair, she explains that the television is strategically positioned to “take the focus off me. When I am preparing food in the kitchen I tend to have guests watching. However, sometimes it is hard to concentrate on what I am doing so I put the television on to keep my guests amused.” 90 www. nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
The whole backyard has been transformed into an alfresco dining room. “We have lived here for nearly 20 years and originally there were 15 trees in the garden. I went to Paris a few times and liked the gardens there. They’re about people in the garden and how they enjoy it as opposed to just what’s in the garden. From there I developed my concept of a dining room. I learnt from an early age the value of providing an environment where people can relax and be nourished. It is something I take a lot of pride in.” The effect of being cared for on this occasion leads yet another guest to sing for his supper. In the afterglow of lunch an Italian aria seems fitting and Tongan opera singer Jack Bourke obliges. It’s a pity the cameras weren’t rolling for another Kai Ora show as the assembled company would have made any producer smile, but Anne treats all her guests the same. “It’s not about who you are when you dine at my table or perch by my kitchen bench. It’s all about how you enjoy the moment. “If I could sing I probably would have abandoned my culinary exploits for the stage.” Letting her pots and pans do the singing for her is Anne’s message of aroha and manaaki. Kai Ora screens at 8pm on Thursdays until the end of May on the Sky Food channel. NZ Life & Leisure 91
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WHEN THE SPARKS FLY IN CARIN WILSON’S AUCKLAND WORKSHOP, HE COULD BE CREATING A SCULPTURE, PIECE OF FURNITURE OR ARTWORK. WHATEVER IT IS, IT WILL REFLECT HIS MAORI HERITAGE
AT THE FOOT OF Maungawhau (Mt Eden) is a cottage nearly 135 years old. In 1983 it captured the imagination of newly established furniture designer Carin Wilson and he and his wife Jenney have spent the last 20 years creating a landscape and home to bring out their creative spirit. They consider it a work in progress. Incorporated within their home, which Carin describes as a mini marae, is a workshop that has evolved into his business brand, Studio Pasifika. “Not only is the home a shelter which includes private spaces but a place where people can come together. The studio is a fertile place to generate ideas as well as engage in a reflective process”. Carin, of Maori (Ngati Awa) and Italian descent, draws heavily on his upbringing within both cultural influences, from the close-knit Italian community in Christchurch where he spent his childhood to the dusty roads of his father’s marae in Whakatane. 108 NZ Life & Leisure
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PAGE 109: Leaf-shaped puriri table with steel legs was designed for Maori Television’s boardroom. PAGE 110: The cedar bench is a prototype for church seating in the Cook Islands; above it is Carin’s replica in steel of the Ngati Porou chief Parekahika Uawa’s signature on the Treaty of Waitangi; the storage unit is a prototype destined for the European market; carved into the native timber maire is a proverb that symbolizes the importance of mana, language and the land. THIS PAGE: Their hideaway on the slopes of Mt Eden provides Carin and Jenney with space to reflect and meditate; a headrest combines totara, pounamu and whalebone; an installation on the foyer wall of Maori Television mixes glass etchings created with Peter Martin and laser-etched leather symbols with Steve Munro; “Te harakeke” is included in a statement on nurturing the development of the new station.
“WORK LIKE THIS IS A RESULT OF TAKING TRADITIONAL CULTURAL ELEMENTS AND REPRESENTING THEM IN A MODERN WAY”
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Bryan Evans, a marketing consultant and director of the website Maoriartnz, understands the international appeal of Maori culture. “The Kiwa exhibition held in Canada in 2003 showcasing works from Carin and other Maori artists received rave reviews. That exhibition demonstrated New Zealand’s uniqueness. Global markets are always looking for artists who have new ways of presenting the world. Within that market Carin is world class. Not only is he a great designer but he is a great Maori designer.” Although the world beckons quite frequently, bird song, sunshine, freshly brewed coffee and a well-selected CD all continue to hum collectively from the home and studio. Carin believes this environment has left an impression on his two children that will always see their lives absorbed in Maori values. (Seth is a TV commercial producer with Curious Productions and daughter Tulia a creative director with fashion house Zambesi.) “The concept of the home and studio being together is a really important part of what this place is about. When my children came home after school they accepted what happened in the studio as being what we do. The relationship with the maunga (mountain), the stone, the history of the area still resonates.”
It is his Maori ancestry, however, from which he derives most of his creative energy. “What I built my philosophy around was the memory of my engagement with my (Maori) grandmother… her beautiful warm embrace at the end of a long and momentous journey…it was memorable because it was unconditional.” By attempting to embody that spirit, Carin has found a rhythm with which to explore many design mediums. For clients seeking a distinctly New Zealand look, he introduces a conversation on how to appreciate a Maori perspective. “It’s as simple as engaging them with deep and entertaining questions and out of that dialogue we find out how we view the world. I haven’t discovered a way that defines my view as powerfully as the Maori explanation and having clients trust that allows me to develop my ideas.” Pro Design magazine recognized Carin’s ability to blend contemporary and traditional design concepts, labelling his designs at the new studios of Maori Television “Technology meets Mythology”. As Carin explains, “Work like this is a result of taking traditional cultural elements and representing them in a modern way…the business of taking Maori culture forward and not staying in the past”.
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‘Nohonga’ chair is made from rewarewa, totara, kwila and woven leather. The glass etchings are part of Carin’s exhibition Nga Tohu – Signs and represent the signatures of three northern chiefs on the Treaty of Waitangi.
The privilege of being able to work and live creatively takes on another meaning when the Wilson family travels to what Jenney calls their spiritual homeland on the east coast north of Whangarei. For Carin it brings together many elements of his own personal journey. Having brought his family from Christchurch to Auckland in the early 1980s to be closer to his Maori relations and his whenua, his connection with the coast meant it became a place to retreat and recharge after an exhausting project. It is no small coincidence that many places on Northland’s east coast were named by Ngati Awa as they travelled to and from the Bay of Plenty in the waka Mataatua. And it was on this east coast between Matapouri and Tutukaka Bays that the Wilsons found their private beach. “What it affords me is the breadth, the space, the little slice of earth that Auckland doesn’t. There is room to plant more trees than I will ever have the energy to plant…to see the bush regenerate and help it along…to think about planting groves of puriri and make these ideas happen. “As someone who has spent a lifetime around wood, it’s wonderfully nurturing and nourishing to be able to make those choices. It’s all about keeping the cycle moving…kaitiakitanga (guardianship). Taking trees from the bay and planting them in Auckland and vice versa is a way to reinforce the connections between the two worlds.” 112 NZ Life & Leisure
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profile OPPOSITE: Caren in court and with her canoe Ohinewaiapu practising on the Taraheru River. THIS PAGE: The silver and bronze medals Caren won at the World Sprints represent the god Maui’s fish hook.
)&3)0/063 FOR A MAORI LAND COURT JUDGE, GUMBOOTS AND HORSES ARE PART OF THE JOB. AN OUTRIGGER CANOE AND A SHOP FULL OF VINTAGE KIWIANA COMPLETE HER RECIPE FOR A WELL-BALANCED LIFE WO R D S A M O KU R A PA N O H O
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“I HAVE THIS BURNING DESIRE TO BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL AND TO LOOK FOR JUSTICE”
Sam and Caren Fox (formerly Wickliffe) share a passion for Maori collectables; Caren’s Human Rights Commission Millenium Medal; the artwork in her chambers is by Te Owaina Ihimaera.
NEW ZEALAND IS FULL of amazing women. Caren Fox is one of them although she didn’t plan on being an important person. As a solo mother she decided to become a lawyer and went to Victoria University. Working for a Maori legal service in Wellington in the 1980s helped her identify the need to specialize in Maori land and customary law. This inevitably led to a comprehensive understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, knowledge that was constantly called upon by various Maori clients. During the 1980s and 90s Caren appeared as counsel before the Waitangi Tribunal on many occasions. That in turn led to her becoming a published author of numerous international papers and articles relating to Maori issues and in 1991 and 1992 she was a Harkness Fellow in the United States. “I have this burning desire to be fair and impartial and to look for justice. This passion has driven me to advocate for indigenous issues whether here or in the Pacific.” In 1998, while working for the Commonwealth Secretariat in Fiji co-ordinating Pacific involvement in a Commonwealth project, Caren was introduced to a new diversion. “Amster Reedy (a Maori official on the Olympic Games Committee) was visiting Fiji for the outrigger canoe Waka Ama World Sprints and he encouraged me to get involved. So I joined the Polynesian club and we practised in Suva harbour. I found the sport gave me the physical and mental strength I needed to do my work.” In 1999 Caren returned to New Zealand to become a senior lecturer in law and Director of Graduate Studies at Waikato University. “I continued with waka ama by joining a social club and that really started my active involvement with all elements of the sport.” However, Caren didn’t have much time to rest on her paddles. In 2000 she was one of the first two women Maori Land Court judges to be appointed in the Court’s 135-year history. Caren, who has tribal links to Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata and Whanau Apanui, welcomed the opportunity to live in Gisborne. “This appointment gave me the opportunity to be on the East Coast and utilize my professional skills in Maori customary law. I believe that the Maori Land Court is becoming more of a court of the people. Its 98 www. nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
jurisdiction is being extended to cover Maori fisheries, aquaculture, the foreshore and seabed, with the possibility of moving into areas of post-Waitangi claim settlements. Our role is to facilitate Maori development and find ways for owners to utilize their land by encouraging good governance and management practice in order to maximize the land’s potential. “This has meant that I have had to learn to walk in their shoes – literally. Wearing gumboots, learning to ride a horse are the physical aspects of site visits. But it helps me to take away the mystique of the court. Even the odd fishing and camping experiences are all part of my role of bringing people together rather than polarizing the issues in dispute.” Living in Gisborne has also allowed Caren to become part of the highly competitive waka ama scene. In March this year she participated in the World Waka Ama Regatta held at Lake Karapiro, winning silver and bronze in the masters women’s races. The recent purchase by husband Sam of A1 Mart Antiques and Collectables has allowed Caren to pursue another passion. “There is a whole history of Maori motifs and collectables, ranging from prints developed at the time of early settler contact through to dinnerware commissioned by Sir Apirana Ngata. Our store hopes to source this sort of Kiwiana from the late 1880s and early 1900s, now becoming more valuable. This complements my lifestyle. I have the waka ama to take care of my physical well-being, the collections I display at the shop to nurture my creativity and now I am focusing on my spiritual wellbeing which is more about my proficiency in Te Reo Maori. My three daughters, Mere, Tina and Te Aomihia, are constant sustenance to my overall well-being so I feel very blessed. With them, my husband and his daughter Chelsea I take the time to celebrate happy and positive occasions to keep that balance in my own life.” When receiving the Human Rights Commission Millennium Medal in 2000, Caren talked about the need to translate human rights into understandable terms and to honour the ordinary person’s way of life. She herself seems destined to be anything but ordinary. NZ Life & Leisure 99
) & " 35 - " / % ) 0 , * " / ( " LOCAL IWI ARE TELLING THEIR OWN STORIES IN THEIR OWN WAY AND TAKING CHARGE OF THE TOURISM VENTURES THAT ARE REVITALIZING THIS PART OF NORTHLAND
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Amokura with husband David and guide Tawhiri Riwai
one of the guides who takes twilight tours to visit Tane Mahuta and other ancient trees within Waipoua Forest. Standing at the bow of the Hokianga Crossings’ specially built charter boat, he hints at what the tourist would miss if undertaking only the day trip to the forest. At that moment he is acting in another guiding capacity, helping passengers from the Opononi wharf on to the boat for their cruise around the Hokianga Harbour. Steering the boat with an experienced hand, Zac Bristowe sets about charming his passengers with the Harbour’s history, pre and post-European. With a twist of Maori humour laced with an in-depth knowledge of their geological features, he and the other guides tell stories of the special characteristics that make up the communities scattered around the Harbour. The name Hokianganui-a-Kupe, the returning place of Kupe, the first Maori discoverer of Aotearoa New Zealand, has many historical interpretations. By mixing natural science with the guides’ knowledge of ancestors such as Rahiri, these stories take on a human element. Shane Lloydd, owner of Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga in Omapere, is another partner and is proud of the opportunities that these Maori tourism ventures have created. “We realized that the Hokianga “WE WANT MANUHIRI (VISITORS) community had an opportunity to manage the TO OUR FOREST TO GET A BETTER influx of visitors to our region if we managed the tourism ventures ourselves. The local iwi UNDERSTANDING OF HOW (tribe) wanted to create employment and business IMPORTANT IT IS TO APPRECIATE THE opportunities by telling our stories our way.” This meant bringing back to the Hokianga LITTLE THINGS, WITHOUT WHICH the people who could provide a high-quality THERE WOULD BE NO BIG THINGS” experience. Headhunting key people such as Footprints’ manager Koro Carmen and guides Riwai, Matiu and Bristowe ensures the authenticity of the experience. Trying to tap into a tourism industry in the Bay (forest) his Hokianga people have retained throughout the of Islands where for more than 50 years the entire infrastructure centuries. “‘Ahakoa he iti he pounamu, despite being small you has been built around Northland’s east coast was initially daunting. are of great value.’ These are the words of my ancestors and it was “Northland should be glad that there is a Bay of Islands because with those beliefs they treated the forest as a living being with its we have this hub of activity that can be tapped into if you have the own spirituality.” right tourism product,” says Shane. During the trek through the forest, Tawhiri shares his “Initially it was hard to get the attention of the big players knowledge as if he is weaving a basket, making each little tale until Footprints Waipoua was recognized by Lonely Planet in May part of a greater story. The philosophy of Footprints Waipoua is 2006.” This recognition gave Shane and his partners the courage to create an experience that visitors will talk about. “We want to approach InterCity Coachlines. Through a memorandum manuhiri (visitors) to our forest to get a better understanding of of understanding between InterCity and local Nga Puhi iwi, a how important it is to appreciate the little things, without which daily coach service connecting the Bay of there would be no big things. Tane Mahuta Islands to the Hokianga is now available. has a whole eco-system living on and NOTEBOOK Local and international travel companies around his frame, but if you haven’t seen a Crossings Hokianga will now include the Hokianga in their kauri seedling at three years, then you are www.crossingshokianga.com Northland itineraries. not likely to appreciate his timelessness, Footprints Waipoua www.footprintswaipoua.com Tawhiri Riwai commented during the only his size.” Copthorne Hotel & Resor t Hokianga Waipoua Forest Tour, “If only Tane Mahuta This intimate relationship with their www.omapere.co.nz could talk, what stories he would tell.” environment is shared by the guides at Hokianga Tourism Association There is no doubt he is well represented by tourism partner Hokianga Crossings. “The www.hokiangatourism.org.nz his human counterparts. forest wakes up at night,” says Bill Matiu, WHEN LOCAL GUIDE Tawhiri Riwai tells visitors to the Hokianga their participation is appreciated, he really means it. His silhouette with luminous volumes of dark hair appears almost ethereal when seen against the ancient Waipoua forest that surrounds the majestic 1400-year-old kauri, Tane Mahuta. With this environment as his backdrop, Riwai daily introduces tourists to a spiritual awakening. Starting each Footprints Waipoua tour with a karakia (prayer), he shows his guests the different elements of the forest most would never have noticed. And when he sings a waiata amidst the trees, the words “I am a seed born of the greatest” resonate in the heart and his listeners can quite easily be reduced to tears. More than 250,000 visitors come to the forest each year and the newly established Maori Tourism Venture has the only concession available from the Department of Conservation to provide guided tours. “If anyone is going to tell our stories, it should be us,” proclaims Tawhiri as he proudly demonstrates his knowledge of the eco-system and the traditional relationship to the ngahere
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profile STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, STRONG FAMILY AND CULTURAL VALUES AND A BELIEF IN COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS HAVE MARKED HAYDEN WANO AS A LEADER AMONG HIS PEOPLE
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With tribal affiliations to Taranaki, Te Atiawa and Ngati Awa (Whakatane), Hayden considers his papakainga (the place he belongs to) to be Parihaka. Inside the prophet Te Whiti’s wharenui Te Niho o Te Atiawa, he and Toni catch up with Parihaka resident Maata Wharehoka.
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THERE IS A QUIET INTENSITY about Hayden Wano. He impresses with a sense of purpose and an innate ability to provide leadership without all the trappings of power. These qualities have identified him as one of Maoridom’s leading health experts. Hayden of course would be uncomfortable with such praise. He believes in letting results speak for themselves and is still not quite satisfied with what he has achieved to date. It is hard to see how he couldn’t be at least a bit pleased when his resumé is packed with significant milestones. These include registration as a general and obstetric nurse in 1979 and as a psychiatric district nurse when he returned to Taranaki in the late 1980s after working at Kingseat Hospital in Auckland. Add to that his academic credentials of an Advanced Diploma in Nursing, Diploma in Health Service Management, Master in Business Administration and an almost-completed Master of Business Studies degree. Yet Hayden considers his most important achievement has been as one of the architects behind the development of Tui Ora, the largest Maori health and development organization in Taranaki. Established in 1998 to provide primary care and public health for local Maori, Tui Ora now has 17 Maori health providers affiliated to it. “It was a time of health reforms and restructuring but it was also a time when there needed to be a high degree of innovation and improvisation. We wanted to create an organization that would consciously separate iwi politics from a business model. It took six months of strategic planning but we designed a structure that has withstood the test of time, policy shocks and political jolts from different stakeholders.”
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“WHAT HE HAS CREATED IS THE BEST MAORI HEALTH ORGANIZATION IN THE COUNTRY …”
The view from Hayden and Toni’s home takes in the natural and man-made features of New Plymouth’s port. Newest member of the Wano family is mokopuna Ariki, son of daughter Sarah and her partner Regan Hayman. 130 www.nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
Within the ever-changing landscape of health, especially Maori health, this was no mean feat. Sir Ross Jansen (director of several companies, trusts and community-based NGOs and a former mayor of Hamilton) accepted the role of Chair for the Tui Ora Board and was immediately impressed with the intense passion for Maori development that Hayden exhibited. “He is an outstanding leader, one of those quiet achievers whose personality touches you. What he has created is the best Maori health organization in the country providing mainstream services, an achievement that the whole of the Taranaki community can appreciate.” For Hayden it has been a fine balancing act to create an organization that has a kaupapa Maori focus but is not restricted to one dimension while at the same time taking an approach that is not seen as too corporate by his own people. “Initially we were seen by non-Maori professionals as upstarts but we educated ourselves as to how our people used health services and we demonstrated in transparent ways how best to engage Maori in their own care and well-being.” As he moves into a new role as CEO of the Hauora Taranaki Primary Health Organisation (a collaboration between Taranaki Primary Health Providers Incorporated with 17 medical practices and Tui Ora), Hayden’s credibility remains a strong motivator in keeping the sector evolving. “After seven years I have just resigned from the Chair of the Taranaki District Health Board and I have learnt a lot about myself and other people and have become more comfortable as
a leader. What I think I represent is a form of distributed leadership, where you engage people in a journey of development.” Hayden’s own personal journey started as the oldest of the five children of Makere and John Wano in the semi-rural town of Hawera where he experienced a life strong in working-class values with education at the core. The Parihaka settlement with its rich history and Ketemarae in Normanby with its associated Catholic parish, Hoani Papita, also provided the foundations for his sense of place and of belonging. However, during the mid 1980s when the social evolution of Maori language and culture was to the fore, Hayden started to struggle with his own identity. Married to Toni and with children, he felt the need to make a stand and be counted as part of the Maori renaissance. Toni, who also has a nursing background, recalls: “It was like having another woman in the relationship. I thought I could either act like a typical middle-class Pakeha woman and resist or I could go with the flow and take up the challenge of learning te reo Maori. When we returned to live in Taranaki I was involved with kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori.” Being part of an extended family actively engaged in the renaissance of the Maori language meant that the trials and tribulations were shared and with Hayden’s parents providing support and encouragement, the Wano family has become a major contributor to the Taranaki community. “We made a conscious decision to live in Taranaki and we are content with the opportunities we have. We have taught our
children, Sarah, Paora and Wiremu, old-fashioned values, that nothing comes for free and to have a good work ethic. It’s a simple approach but really important,” says Toni. Hayden acknowledges that his children have grown up to be independent but prefer to melt into the background rather than take a more public role in their community. “Our children are more confident in who they are than I was at their age. They also understand the importance of public office and have very strong views on what is right. At the end of each day I am grateful for the fullness of my life and that the knowledge I have gained has been by virtue of the experiences I have had.”
- & " %& 3 TREADING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF EARLIER LUMINARIES FROM NORTHERN TARANAKI’S NGATI MUTUNGA, 34-YEAR-OLD JAMIE TUUTA BECOMES THE YOUNGESTEVER MAORI TRUSTEE
Jamie Tuuta (Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Tama, Taranaki) stands aloft the monument erected in 1954 on the site of the ancient Okoki Pa in memory of Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck).
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CLOCKWISE: The Urenui Beach motor camp is situated beneath the old pa site Kumara Kaiama with Mt Taranaki as a backdrop; outside the wharenui (meeting house) MahiTamariki, built in the 1870s, Jamie cuddles 90-year-old Jean Matuku and also catches up with his kuia, 88-yearold Josephine Herlihy; Josephine and Jean; Jamie at the Wellington offices of the Maori Trustee.
“AT THE END OF THE DAY I HAVE ASKED THAT MY ACTIONS DO THE TALKING”
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worked hard to allow Jamie to be educated at Hato Petera College on Auckland’s North Shore. “I knew that my grandfather was making an investment he hadn’t been able to do for his own children.” Jamie was determined to take advantage of his opportunities at Hato Petera and he recalls the big impression the Marist brother Stephen Filipo made on him. “He showed me another aspect of leadership and the importance of lifting expectations for yourself and challenging accepted thinking.” Initially Jamie followed his family’s ambition for him to become a doctor by studying science and in the seventh form was awarded a Bayer Scholarship. However, after starting his tertiary studies at The University of Auckland he then transferred to The University of Waikato to study law. In 1997, almost 20 years old and still a law student, Jamie was appointed by his people as a rangatahi (youth) representative to the Iwi Authority. By September 1999 an Agreement in Principle had been negotiated with the Crown which set in motion seven years of research and consultation. For a brief period after Jamie graduated and moved to Wellington he enjoyed a hiatus of sorts from tribal politics by fronting Te Kaea news for Maori Television as a political reporter. By 2006 the evidence had been presented, the negotiations were completed and the Ngati Mutunga Treaty of Waitangi Settlement was signed with the Crown. Jamie had by this time become the chairperson of the iwi runanga and was inured to dealing with senior public servants, professional advisors, economists and politicians. “Our tribe didn’t have the heavy hitters like other iwi who had become the wizened public faces of treaty settlements but we are proud that within the parameters we had to deal with we achieved an early settlement.
THE LITTLE TOWN OF URENUI is the first settlement travellers are introduced to as they meander through the northern reaches of Taranaki towards the city of New Plymouth. Known for its popular beach-side camp where generations of families come during summer holidays, Urenui is the birthplace of two important historical Maori figures. Sir Maui Pomare and Te Rangi Hiroa, also known as Sir Peter Buck, emerged at the turn of the 20th century – a time of great upheaval for their people – to have a significant impact on Maoridom and consequently on the country. Both were educated at Te Aute College in Hastings and went on to travel extensively overseas. Both became doctors as well as politicians and, with their colleague Sir Apirana Ngata, led health reforms to improve the well-being of Maori and agitated politically for recognition of Maori as citizens of the Commonwealth. Just as importantly, they retained a love for their culture and language. It was in the foothills at Okoki, an ancient pa site where a monument to Te Rangi Hiroa stands, that Jamie Tuuta was raised by his grandparents Bill and Elisha Tuuta on a small family-owned dairy farm. His birth mother Mahere Kura had two brothers and seven sisters so the house was always full of mokopuna (grandchildren). “My grandparents were very active in the community and we were always doing something up at Urenui marae so that kept us pretty busy. The old man was the chair of the pa trustees and the first chair of the Ngati Mutunga Iwi Authority, the tribal entity that was established in 1991 to pursue our Treaty of Waitangi claim,” says Jamie. In a home where tribal matters were frequently discussed, Bill Tuuta would sometimes become annoyed by his young grandson’s constant questions but he saw his potential and
THE MAORI TRUSTEE In 1921 all native reserves which had been vested in the Public Trustee since 1864 and all money held by the Public Trustee for native reserves were transferred to the Native Trustee. L The Native Trustee was renamed the Maori Trustee in 1947. L In 1952 the Maori Land Amendment Act abolished the Maori Land Boards and transferred their functions to the Maori Trustee which now maintains about 130,000 client accounts. L In 1993 Te Ture Whenua Maori Act was passed to focus on keeping land under Maori L
control and ownership. L In 2009 the Maori Trustee Amendment Act was passed making the Maori Trustee a stand-alone organization, separate from Te Puni Kokiri and independent of government. L It administers around 2000 properties made up of an estimated 105,000 hectares of Maori freehold land. L It collects around $18 million each year in rent and other income on behalf of owners. L The Maori Trustee can be appointed to administer land through the Maori Land Court, or at the request of owners or trustees. NZ L ife & L eisure 83
The Tuuta family walks on the Wellington waterfront. From left: Big brother Matiu Nohorua, seven, guides Rauorangi, three, while their twins Te Rau o Te Huia and Tamaarangi amble in front of Tomairangi who holds daughter Pare Tuarangi, two, and Jamie.
JAMIE TUUTA’S ROLE L To ensure owners are aware of and feel positive about the Maori Trustee and the management of their land. L To be a leading voice for sustainable and environmental business excellence. L To be seen as an influential leader in the country in land administration, utilization and innovation. L To position the Maori Trustee in a competitive market-place. L To be an enabler, facilitator and co-investor with Maori to stimulate economic growth.
FROM FAR LEFT: The west-coast seaside provides a peaceful backdrop for Jamie to ponder his future; an unmarked grave sits among the bush that surrounds the monument to Sir Peter and Lady Margaret Buck at the Okoki Pa site.
“We always recognized that the process was a means to an end, not the end in itself,” Jamie states. “Within that environment of negotiation and counter-negotiation you learn a lot from the professionals. It kind of shapes your thinking... how to set priorities with the limited resources you’ve got to work with. Fundamental to this whole process has been our desire to tell our story not just to the Crown but to our own people.” Watching how his elders conducted themselves throughout the decades made a huge impression and set the benchmark for how Jamie himself behaves. “Apart from my grandfather there were kaumatua (elders) like the late Sam Raumati, the late Jack McClutchie, Peter White and Ara Lake who I was able to learn from. But they were always supported and even directed by our kuia the late Lena Wirihana, the late Marj Rau and Aunties Josephine Herlihy and Jean Matuku. They kept my kaumatua grounded and reinforced who we were as Ngati Mutunga.” Inevitably Jamie’s leadership and eloquence in both Maori and English led to his appointment to a number of other governance roles. But it was his appointment as chairperson of Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporation in 2008 that saw him return to live in Taranaki with his partner Tomairangi Mareikura (Ngati Rangi) and twin baby sons Te Rau o Te Huia and Rauorangi. The Incorporation, established in 1976, is today the biggest dairy farm in Taranaki and the largest supplier of milk to Fonterra, with a book value of more than $225 million. “We have been through some major legacy issues of the past that we have had to deal with but what I have valued during my tenure is that we 84 www. nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
are demonstrating Maori success and earning the respect and confidence of our own and the wider community.” Just as Te Rangi Hiroa and Sir Maui Pomare did before him, Jamie has moved between his place of birth and the corridors of power in Wellington. In August this year busloads of people from the eight Taranaki tribes converged on Pipitea Marae in Wellington to formally hand Jamie over to the office of the Maori Trustee. Miriama Evans, a retired senior public servant, is chairperson of Ngati Mutunga and is confident of Jamie’s ability to meet the challenges his new role will present. “He has natural talents and knows how to use them well. He’s learnt the art of listening carefully and has extremely good judgement. Our people have benefited by having him from a really young age and we’ve watched him grow through that process and have been proud of the tremendous contribution he has made to Ngati Mutunga. Now we are happy to hand him over because we recognize his skills and his humility and we believe he has a lot to offer this country.” Jamie is pragmatic about his new role as Maori Trustee. “I’ve inherited an organization that was previously under the wing of the government but through legislative change in 2009 is now a stand-alone entity. I see my role as having a proactive relationship with landowners to enable them to be involved in the management of their lands. Land is an essential part of our sense of place and identity. It is what helps define us as Maori. I can only try to make a difference. At the end of the day I have asked that my actions do the talking.” NZ L ife & L eisure 85
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SHE WAS FAMOUS IN THE 1990s WITH THE MOAHUNTERS. NOW MOANA & THE TRIBE ARE THRILLING THE WORLD WITH THEIR BRAND OF MUSIC THAT FUSES THE TRADITIONAL MAORI SPIRIT WITH CONTEMPORARY SOUNDS
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ALTHOUGH SHE’S STILL UNPACKING from a trip to Canada and Russia, internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and documentary-maker Moana Maniapoto has found time to visit her favourite café to buy a lamington square. She’s often described in the media as “the diva of Maori music” but this gesture of gracious hospitality is the hallmark of a songwriter who can translate these characteristics into her lyrics, music and performance. It’s also guaranteed to make a guest feel at home. Sitting with our cups of tea in the top-floor apartment Moana shares with her partner, documentary-maker Toby Mills, we admire the vista of Auckland city and harbour to the north and the distant Waitakere ranges to the west. Although the apartment is close to the city centre, Moana finds it provides much-needed peace and quiet after a hectic overseas tour. “It’s a place where Toby and I have our own spaces to be creative (the apartment has an editing suite), entertain our guests, enjoy the colourful Grey Lynn vibe and surround ourselves with the symbols of what is important to us.” Relaxing at home is something that Moana treasures, given her hectic European touring schedule. This year her German manager, Sol de Sully, will be ensconced in his own Grey Lynn villa so Moana’s plans for 2007 include some much-needed reflection and planning time.
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THIS PAGE: Artworks include a painting by Robert Tibble beside the sofa, a photograph of Guide Maggie Papakura of Tuhourangi (one of Moana’s iwi), a Bob Jahnke sculpture, a taiaha (ceremonial weapon) and a Shane Cotton painting created for the cover of the CD Toru. OPPOSITE: A mixedmedia panel by Israel Birch; a convivial moment with Renate de Sully (left) and Toby. 86 www. nzlifeandleisure .co.nz
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a worldwide star. She’s witty, warm-hearted and knows how to cope with difficulties. She can deliver a powerful performance to an audience of a few hundred on a small stage just as well as she can on a huge stage wowing an audience of more than 10,000.” Having fans who travel around the world to attend Moana’s performances highlights for Sol how her music transcends cultural differences. “They connect to Moana and the Tribe in almost a spiritual way and travel to New Zealand to see what she has opened their minds and hearts to.” This contribution to the New Zealand cultural landscape has been recognized with Moana being awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori and Music in 2004. Having a close relationship with her family is the acknowledgement Moana values. “Everyone in my family is cool and we have a lot of laughs when we get together.
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Since she started her singing career in the mid-1980s, Moana has also been described as a singer of “political and cultural consciousnesses”. Yet as she prepares for the production of her fourth album, Wha, she feels she has moved on from being a spokesperson on Maori issues. “There was a time when I was asked to give an opinion on everything concerning Maori. In those days I was seen as someone who represented three sectors of the community: Maori, women and youth, and there was a lot of pressure for me to comment. “I understand the media more now and appreciate that in those times I was given an important opportunity to articulate certain issues. I believed in the principle that if there’s something wrong don’t just moan about it, do something about it. But now there is a range of mediums by which Maori opinion can be sought and I don’t necessarily have to contribute to the debate in the same way. Instead I can concentrate on presenting my music to an international audience and here at home. How the audience perceives us and appreciates our culture is something I take a lot of pride in.” Sol applauds Moana’s performance that makes a significant impression on people in countries such as Germany, Italy and Austria. “She has great charisma that is appreciated by her European audiences. They not only love her, they love her music, her rhythm and her lyrics. I believe she is a true ambassador for New Zealand as she knows so much about her culture.” In 2004 the song Moko from Moana’s album Toru won the International Songwriting Competition Grand Jury Prize in the United States. Judges included rhythm-and-blues superstar BB King as well as CEOs of well-known record labels. These industry luminaries described Moko as “a compelling fusion of smooth world music and an urban sound with earthy, international beats … rich in lyrical content reflecting the Maori spirit and culture …”. Fusing traditional music and performance with contemporary sounds takes a lot of courage as well as organization. Moana and the Tribe began their odyssey in 2002. “What started as a joke became a very good organizational tool with a parliamentary system where we each have various portfolios. Sol, for example, is Minister of Foreign Affairs, Toby is the Attorney General, my best friend Amiria Reriti, backing musician, is Minister of Health (she is a health advocate) and Scottie Morrison (newsreader for Te Karere TV1) is Minister of Maori Affairs. I am incredibly lucky to travel the world with my sister Trina, my friends and partner who are all very talented. When we’re not singing we’re usually laughing.” Having commuted between Europe and his Grey Lynn home for more than 20 years, Sol feels the New Zealand music scene has much to learn from Moana’s international experience. “Her professionalism caught my attention. It is the reason I am backing her to become
“SHE CAN DELIVER A POWERFUL PERFORMANCE TO AN AUDIENCE OF A FEW HUNDRED ON A SMALL STAGE JUST AS WELL AS SHE CAN ON A HUGE STAGE WOWING AN AUDIENCE OF MORE THAN 10,000” Most of them are teachers. Sometimes I get stopped in the street and asked if I am Moana, Whaea Lisa’s big sister!” Kimiora Jackson, Moana’s teenaged son, has just returned home and requires his mother’s attention for his impending exams at King’s College. Moana reflects on her son’s inherited sense of social justice. “Coping with the transition from a Maori learning environment into a classic English classroom and the many times he has travelled overseas have helped him relate to the people he encounters. It’s his interest in storytelling that I hope he pursues.” It’s time to round up the teacups and dust the shredded coconut from our laps. The sun has made an appearance and the apartment’s rooms are filled with a warm natural light that reflects off the collection of artworks. Moana and Toby aren’t sure how long their bags will remain unpacked, given the many offshore projects they are involved with. “I love what I am doing right now, but I’d like to have more people around me making the most of the opportunities that come our way. The Pacific is one place we haven’t toured yet and it would be awesome to share our blend of culture with theirs. It’s all part of our exploring offshore opportunities.” Taking the time to keep her fans and family informed of her pursuits through her website (even if it means ploughing through snow to find an internet café) is a reflection of the commitment Moana has to her craft. When she posts a notice advising a future Pacific Island concert date, no doubt her fans will be booking their resort accommodation. To keep up to date with Moana’s music visit her website at www.moananz.com NZ Life & Leisure 87
profile Hana (left), Otene and Rachael Rakena with the pounamu image that symbolizes their exhibition Taonga Whanau, Treasures of the Family. OPPOSITE: The maunga Te Poho o Tamatea with the village Te Rapaki o Rekiwhakaputa, otherwise known as Rapaki Bay, between Lyttleton and Governors Bay.
POUNAMU CARVER OTENE RAKENA’S WORK PROVIDES THE SUBSTANCE TO WHICH HIS TWO ARTIST DAUGHTERS, RACHAEL AND HANA, CAN ANCHOR THEIR CREATIVE SPIRITS
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DUSK FALLS ON A winter’s evening as people gather under the Gothic cloisters of Christchurch’s Arts Centre. They have come to participate in one of the events that will kick off the 2005 Christchurch Arts Festival. There are smiles as relatives, friends and acquaintances reconnect. By invitation they move slowly into the gallery as a local elder recites an incantation. Soft mystical sounds surround the gathering during the formal speeches acknowledging the significance of the event. The connection to the people and place, the treasures and images on show are explained. A waiata (song) written specifically for the occasion adds the final touch as the exhibition Taonga Whanau, a collaboration between Otene Rakena and his daughters Rachael and Hana, is formally opened. It is evident from these formalities that the exhibition represents more than just a showcase of three artists’ work. Otene Rakena, a quietly spoken gentleman, is an obviously proud father as he watches his daughters entertain their guests. He politely answers questions but gladly leaves them to elaborate on the details. It is magical to watch two generations respond to the admiration of their family, friends and guests. This admiration is well deserved as the exhibition has a spirituality interwoven through its various mediums that can evoke unguarded emotions. “A box of tissues should be on hand,” says one viewer. The exhibition centres on a long black table running the length of the gallery. It acts as both a landscape and mirror for the objects and moving images reflected on its shiny surface.
FAR LEFT: The two hanging pounamu and five clay bowls in the foreground represent the art of navigating from the Matariki constellation. LEFT: Rachael’s pounamu Te Wairua o Arahura was Otene’s first completed carving.
Taking on challenges appears to be a characteristic inherited from their great-grandmother Kiti Couch. The Rakena family’s association with pounamu started in the early 1920s when Otene’s taua (grandmother) Kiti Couch travelled from Rapaki in Christchurch to Mangamuka in the Far North. She took with her a pounamu rock as a gift to Otene’s father’s family. That journey would no doubt be a story on its own as it appears that Kiti Couch was an incredibly resourceful woman. Not only was she the local postmistress for Lyttleton Harbour but also a midwife and with her traditional Maori knowledge was called upon on many occasions to support the remaining Maori communities struggling with colonization. Now her grandson Otene, at nearly 80, is creating his own stories with pounamu carving, a skill he taught himself when he retired. Otene says his creative spirit was nurtured by a teacher from Waima in Northland where he lived as a child. He also recalls the pounamu piece his taua had taken up north being used as a door-stop and chuckles at the memory. “Each piece that I work tells me what to do and how it should be shaped. If I use the wrong design it breaks and I have to refine the shape and work with the stone. Pounamu should reflect only Maori symbols, otherwise what’s the point? Each pounamu has its own mauri (spirit).
“…JUST AS THE POUNAMU IS SHAPED INTO A TREASURED POSSESSION…THE HANDS THAT TOUCH IT SIMPLY SERVE TO REINFORCE ITS PRESTIGE”
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The objects are a mixture of clay pots representing landforms that symbolize the turangawaewae (standing places) of the Rakena family. Hanging above these are pounamu pieces that represent either an ancestor or a landmark such as Mt Aoraki, to which the family has tribal links. Swirling around these objects are moving images with projected light filtering through the pounamu to form reflections on the ceramic shapes. Video interviews with Otene’s siblings play at one end of the gallery, placing the exhibition in context. The elders, aged between 60 and 86, tell stories of the Rakena family and its relationship with pounamu. The hush indicates that the audience feels the privilege of being witness to this storytelling. For elder daughter Rachael, a digital moving image artist, this is the fulfilment of her desire to enhance her father’s pounamu works in a way more appropriate than just displaying them in glass cabinets. After collaborating with her father for the exhibition Hei Koha Tu in 2004, Rachael took up an offer from Kai Tahu to participate in the Arts Festival. This would also incorporate sister Hana’s work. “I started thinking about us exhibiting together a few years ago. My initial idea was to show off Dad’s work better than in previous exhibitions where it was in glass boxes laid out on plain wood with no light coming through. I thought it was an opportunity to use my art form to light Dad’s work so the resulting image would have this shadow of his work on it. It would be like a shadow of influence. Because Dad named all his pieces after people and places, we asked Hana to come on board so that she could create the geography for Dad’s work.” Both sisters considered the collaboration a challenge to see if their art forms could intertwine and feel that because it made sense they managed to pull it together. NZ Life & Leisure 95
TOP: Kiti Cottage in Rapaki Bay is a family museum to the memory of Kiti Couch. CENTRE: Otene’s pounamu represents Mt Aoraki and hangs above Hana’s symbol of a capsized waka. Legend has it that Aoraki sat so long on his overturned waka that he turned into a maunga (mountain). BOTTOM: This carving represents Te Heru o Kahukura (Sugar Loaf Hill) in the Port Hills above Rapaki Bay. 96 NZ Life & Leisure
“Because of this I don’t sell my works though many people approach me to buy them.” Younger daughter Hana remembers the many craft activities her late mother encouraged her to participate in. After seeing her mother’s work Hana did a year’s ceramics course in Dunedin and later trained for six months with potter Chris Weaver on the West Coast. She also studied linguistics at university but took up night classes to continue to develop her pottery skills. She now has a studio in New Brighton, Christchurch where she fires and handbuilds her own work, supplying Masterworks Galleries in Auckland and Cave Rock Gallery in Christchurch. Choosing between becoming an astronaut or an artist was the dilemma Rachael found herself facing when deciding on a career. She studied physics and statistics at school but because she couldn’t quite work out how to get to Russia or America she went to the Otago Polytechnic School of Art instead. During her first year she took computer art and found her artistic calling – to become a digital media artist. She now lectures in Maori Visual Arts at Massey University in between exhibiting in Europe and Australia. Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu chief executive officer Tahu Potiki states: “They are intertwined with their maunga, their people, their places…just as the pounamu is shaped into a treasured possession… the hands that touch it simply serve to reinforce its prestige.” NZ Life & Leisure 97
+ 0 6 3 / &: 0 ' % * 4 $ 07 & 3: TAKING A LARGE GROUP OF BRITISH STUDENTS ON A WHANGANUI RIVER WAKA TOUR IS A CHALLENGE. THE TANGAROA FAMILY AND THEIR GUIDES SEE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THEIR CULTURE
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Sharing their culture is how Tanea (left) and Niko Tangaroa (above) provide an authentic experience for visitors to the Whanganui River. OPPOSITE: Past and present combine in the welcome ceremony.
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commercially. It was a privilege as well as a big responsibility and meant personal challenges to my own cultural knowledge and the changing of people’s attitudes. With the support of family and other key people we have managed to develop an eco-tourism business we renamed Waka Tours. I see it as a vehicle to assist in sustaining the mana of the river and its marae.” Paora Haitana, aka Baldy, is something of a modern-day legend on the river and one of those key people appreciated by Waka Tours. He travelled as Niko senior’s right-hand man on earlier river journeys and today provides the cultural integrity to nurture the next generation of the Tangaroa family. “Without Baldy’s traditional knowledge and support of my brother’s business management ideas we would struggle,” says Tanea. “Success for us is related to our ability to be part of the river. It has been a long journey but people like Baldy are helping us live our dream.” Baldy leads the poroporoaki (farewell ceremony) on the last morning of the journey with a mixture of humour and reverence. He uses examples of Greek and Italian statues to explain the carvings on the poutokomanawa (statue) at Tieke marae, enjoying the laughter his story produces. His audience now understands the symbolism of the carvings that represent many ancestors. Baldy explains that statues used to adorn the riverbank, identifying the 20-plus marae that housed the river’s inhabitants, giving his listeners an insight into tribal complexities.
ABOVE LEFT: River legend Baldy enchants his audience with a mixture of reverence and humour. BELOW LEFT: Kiwa Tangaroa is a kaitiaki (guardian) of the river. OPPOSITE: Guide Dianah Ngarongo weaves stories for the visitors.
THE CITY OF LONDON seems very far away as a group of teenagers from Verulam School in St Albans, Hertfordshire practise a haka on the banks of the Whanganui River beneath the Tieke marae. Loud chants echo as the young men stamp their feet and slap their chests, connecting with the history of the people, the river and the mountain. The Maori guides smile at the antics of the young men, approving the camaraderie that has already emerged on this river journey. At dusk the call of the karanga replaces the echo of the haka in the hills. A karakia (blessing) is said while the aroma of chicken casserole wafts through the gathering. It’s the second night of a three-day river journey and the British teachers and students appreciate their hot meal. They are canoeing along the river’s scenic middle reaches in the Whanganui National Park with overnight stays at marae on the riverbanks. With dishes done and hot drinks to hand, the formalities of evening prayers are completed. New visitors are introduced and the proceedings continue until everyone has had the opportunity to share their thoughts of the day. The laughter spills into the late evening and NZ Life & Leisure drifts off to sleep to the sound of young people singing. Key organiser of the journey, Niko Tangaroa from Whanganui River Waka Tours is the eldest son of the late Niko Tangaroa who established Tauakira Waka Tours in 1992. Niko senior was a man of mana to the people of Te Atihaunui-A-Paparangi, the local iwi, and he saw it as a chance to reclaim the area’s history and care for the river environment. Initially the tours were not designed for tourism but two years after Niko senior died in 1998, the younger Niko returned from Australia to help keep his father’s legacy alive. “My sister Tanea and younger brother Kiwa had been on every journey with my father. At that time the tours were run informally so we spent our first year putting into place the systems that were needed to operate
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On the riverbank at Pipiriki the young visitors and their guides pay their last tribute and take a moment for reflection and quiet farewell.
It is time to continue the journey. Tanea calls the farewell karanga as she will stay behind to pack up the rest of the belongings. An acknowledgement call comes from Dianah Ngarongo, the only female guide on this journey, as the six-seater Canadian canoes are pushed out into the river. The chant ‘Hoe Waka’ starts as everyone lifts their hoe (paddle) towards the sky. The morning mist rises and the seven canoes move off with the current. Meanwhile Joe Adams, who with partner Mandy operates Bridge to Nowhere Jet Boats and Canoe Hire and the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge, is waiting for Tanea to bring the final load of equipment down to the river. Joe’s job on this final day is to deliver Tanea to the lunch rendezvous at Ngaporo, a Department of Conservation site used by the river’s travellers, and then on to journey’s end at Pipiriki. The obvious respect between Joe Adams and the Tangaroa family lies not just in the mutual benefits gained by supporting these ventures on the river, but also by the inherent knowledge they share of the river’s features. This relationship is critical to the organization involved in hosting large tour parties. With the assistance of Joe’s jet boats, Waka Tours’ equipment, supplies and support crew can be delivered to destinations along the 87km river route. For British teacher Mike Toley who organized the school trip, the 18 months of planning and the logistics of transporting 30 people had caused some anxiety. “Niko and I communicated for a long time, working through the details over the internet,” Mike says. “Coming from the other side of the world we just hoped they would be able to deliver on what they had promised. In fact they have exceeded our expectations.” “It isn’t just a canoe trip down a river; it’s a very enriching experience that hasn’t just been put on for our benefit. It is amazing to see the relationship these people have with the river. And the food is excellent!” adds another teacher, Andy Davidson. 88 NZ Life & Leisure
Niko says that as the waka tour is a group-based tourism activity, the level of organization required is immense. “The value of working with groups is that the members know each other, they come from the same background, they have the same purpose in mind. With that knowledge we will put together a team of guides who will help facilitate the outcome they want. In this instance we have two young guides who are on the same wavelength as the students and before we know it they are all learning a haka!” Plans for developing the business are focused on enhancing the experience and encouraging group bookings. “The impact of a three-day trip on our guides is significant. We make connections and then we have to say goodbye. Sometimes we can tell group members will be back to share the experience with their own family and friends. That’s pretty important to the guides.” Joe Adams, who is invited to sit on the taumata (speaking forum) with tangata whenua during marae formalities, believes the quality of the experience comes from the stories guides share with tour groups. “Each of the guides has their own relationship with the river. Like me they understand it, but they also have a spiritual connection. It’s like their proverb, ‘I am the river and the river is me’.” Several of the guides skite about their impending fame in the movie River Queen due to be released later this year. They point out the places where sets were created for filming. Negotiations are underway for Wanganui City to host the inaugural screening and Niko and Joe are optimistic about the potential spin-offs. “The
river and the land have been left untouched. People coming to see where the story unfolded will have to rely on the guides who experienced the atmosphere, the drama, the excitement, the hard work. When they come we will be here.” At the beginning of their journey the English students were taken into the bush to find ferns to be placed at the prow of each canoe as a symbol of the journey of discovery. Now, as the journey draws to an end, the guides steer the canoes into a small embankment and place each fern trophy (rau) on the grass. Baldy explains the significance of the gesture. “We are leaving the spirit of the river behind. We need to prepare our own spirit, body and mind to re-enter the world we live in.” A hush descends. A final mihi (speech) and karakia (prayer) are made to the river. A waiata is sung. It is a moving ceremony. As the canoes reach Pipiriki a welcoming party gathers. The canoes line up alongside each other forming one large vessel and with paddles upright, women calling, men chanting, the guides steer them ashore. A group of young men perform a haka and jump alongside the canoes to heave them in and load them on to waiting trailers. The jet boat arrives and the British youngsters perform their last haka. “This is why we treasure what we do,” Niko sighs as he and the guides wave off the departing vans. “Every journey we undertake allows us to return to the river and to share a cultural experience. It grounds us and reminds us where we come from.” No doubt Niko Tangaroa senior would agree. E rere kau mai te awanui From the mountain to the sea mai i te kahuimaunga ki Tangaroa flows this mighty river Ko au te awa ko te awa ko au. I am the river and the river is me.
NOTEBOOK The cost of the hikoi (journey) is based on the standard three-day tour and includes canoe hire and equipment, all meals, experienced guides and support crew as well as return transport from Raetihi to Whakahoro/Pipiriki. Adults $560, students (12–17 years) $460. (Bookings are essential and minimum numbers may apply.) Rates do not include koha (this is a financial gift to the Maori hosts at each marae, given during the traditional welcoming ceremony). Tel (06) 385 4811 www.wakatours.com NZ Life & Leisure 89