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“Urban Escape” – Spray Paint on Canvas by Me….

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

“Urban Escape”
Ray Ferrer (Me) – 2014

SPRAY PAINT on canvas   –    20″ x 16″

Available here —> URBAN ESCAPE

Ferrer - Urban Escape

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The growth of whānau, hapū and iwi

In an earlier post (see January 11, 2014) I made reference to the fact the number of whānau, hapū and iwi have been frozen in time despite the growth of the Māori population. Some of the things I wrote about in that post are relevant in this one. I asked the question what would be the factors/criteria necessary for a new whānau, hapū or iwi to be established in that post? This post addresses those issues or at least lays some ideas out for debate and discussion.

Mead (2003) uses Firth’s description of the whānau as being a three generation unit – the grandparents, the parents and the grand/children (p. 213) perhaps numbering ninety at the most – I had an Aunt who had fifteen children and well over ninety grandchildren so they would fit this definition. However in the way of most whānau Māori, there are the complications of multiple marriages that are complicated even further by living arrangements which often see multiple families living together whereby the children consider themselves all to be siblings. It is when trying to explain these types of relationships the PNG terms cousin brother and cousin sister make explanations easier.

If as Mead and Firth say a whānau is made of three generations, each additional generation thereafter adds another dimension to the idea of whānau. By their reckoning therefore, my husband Maua and I along with our children and grandchildren are a whānau. Likewise each of my siblings, their children and grandchildren are a whānau. Does that therefore mean the original ‘grandparents’ drop away and thereafter become names on the genealogical chart even if they are still alive? Or given we live longer, and more and more these days there are four and five generations living, does the concept of whānau include all those generations living? At what point do we then talk about whanaunga, relatives by birth as opposed to say whānau, the Māori version of the ‘nuclear’ family? Likewise, when does a whānau become a hapū?

All of these are questions that are being asked but seldom answered so here is my attempt and it is open to discussion and debate.

Mead talks about whānau as being what Māori call the whakapapa (genealogy) principle. That is, it is the foundation of the building block linking generations to each other as they grow outward, upward, downward depending on how one views one’s whakapapa. 

Building on Mead and Firth’s definitions, I say that a whānau are all those relatives who descend from living grandparents and in more and more cases, living great-grandparents.

Until the “great” urban migration of the 1960s, whānau lived within close proximity to each other. In that way, the children “lived” in all the houses and aunts and uncles were additional parents so parenting was a shared responsibility. That is how I grew up at Puketawai in the 50s and 60s. If I wasn’t at home at our “palace” (said with tongue in cheek because the reality was our home was derelict), I was at the Pokais next door, up at Waru’s, over at Wanoa’s or at Aunty Ara’s or around the hill visiting at the Matete’s or at Aunty Rosie’s or generally roaming the hills to find quiet space to think and imagine; likewise the children from those families.

The centre of our universe was what we called the , Puketawai. In fact our house, the Pokais and the Waru’s homes could be seen to be part of the papakainga (homebase) as each house was separated from the marae by a fence when one was finally erected for the first time whilst I was still a child. Puketawai was a living, breathing community.

Then as if overnight, families moved to “the big smoke”, Wainuiomata, a satellite suburb of Wellington. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I worked out that those of us who remained behind were single parent families like ours and families with a disabled person in them. Only one Maori family in our community that didn’t fit either of those criteria chose not to move. They eventually moved to Gisborne, a forty five minute drive away as opposed to an eight hour drive.

Growing up, the was basic in its construction and consisted of the wharenui (meeting house), the kāuta (cook house) and the church. The purpose of the wharenui in this whānau context was to provide a meeting place when issues of importance needed to be discussed. It was not highly decorated; in fact it still has no whakairo (carvings) or tukutuku (lattice-work) inside or out and its walls are covered by those who have travelled beyond the veil.

So putting the bits together whānau are

  • first and foremost kin based.
  • three or more generations of living relatives including great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and children – the Māori version of the immediate family.
  • the economic base unit for Māori
  • need a place to gather for important occasions.
  • keep whakapapa (genealogy) so future generations may know their place to stand.
  • Have whanaunga who are blood relatives belonging to the same genealogy as the whānau, who can be referred to as whānau.

At some point, whānau become hapū (sub-tribe). There is not the same amount of research or writing about what constitutes a hapū. However whilst it is said whānau are the economic unit for Māori, it is said hapū are the political units.

It is likely in pre-European times they were established when resources became highly contested as the number of whānau in a hapū grew. In their establishment, they had to negotiate space with the existing occupiers of the land and continue to negotiate their space long after that initial negotiation. It is this that proably lead to them being identified as the political unit.

Like iwi (tribes), hapū are usually named after an ancestor. Again it is probable the ancestor was the one who led the group to the place where the hapū was established or was an ancestor who was significant in the establishment process. In most tribes, hapū usually acknowledge male ancestors with some exceptions. Ngāti Porou is one of those exceptions where hapū are named after women (see 11 January, 2014 post).

Referring again to Mead, the building of a marae is a signal of the intention to establish a hapū (2003: 214). Then the group establishing the marae has to demonstrate they are capable of resourcing it; from the people who can carry out the rituals and ensure customary practices are upheld to those who can carry out the functions like cooking, cleaning and building maintenance, to those who can manage the ongoing functioning of the complex and those for whom this becomes ‘home’.

Kereopa talks to the idea of ‘fitting in’ and taking the concept of hapū and moving it into the new social environment (Moon, 2003). He also provides some suggestions about what might be necessary in the establishment of new hapū when he says, “[B]ut if you want to stick to the world of Māori proper, then your rangatira have to come from the need of the people” (p. 121). So building on the requirements for establishing a whānau, a hapū needs a rangatira who is chosen by the people to be their leader.

So the factors that distinguish a hapū I suggest are:

  • identification of a leader.
  • ability of the new unit to negotiate for the right to occupy a space and then to keep that right intact.
  • naming of the newly established unit after the leader.
  • building and naming of a marae.
  • resources to manage and maintain a functioning marae.
  • growth of the number of whānau that can contribute to the maintenance of the political unit.




Hirini Moko Mead, 2003, Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori values, Wellington, Huia Publishers.

Paul Moon, 2003, Tohunga Hohepa Kereopa, Auckland, David Ling.

The Academic and Ngā Kete Tuatoru (The Three Baskets of Knowledge)


I am involved in the development of a “professional doctorate”. What, you may ask, is that?

To cut a long story short it is a doctorate that can be done in your place of employment which focuses on a problem that either prevents or slows down the company or organisation from maximising its capability to deliver on its promise. The person doing the doctorate develops a project to address the problem and does research to find out different ways to address it. At the end of the study, they are usually examined in two ways – in a written piece of work and an oral examination. We are trying to consider different ways to go about this process. In the tertiary sector like at a polytechnic/TAFE/Community College or university/college getting a doctorate is the pinnacle of academic achievement. One I would like to encourage more of the whānau to pursue.

As part of the process the development team has looked at Ngā Kete Tuatoru: The Three Baskets of Knowledge as the philosophical basis to guide the way in which the doctorate will operate and be delivered.

Ngā Kete Tuatoru is a story of how knowledge was made available to humankind.

Depending on the tribe, the person who obtained that knowledge was either Tāne or Tāwhaki. Whomever it was ascended through the twelve heavens and faced a challenge on each before  progressing to the topmost heaven where a process of preparation was undertaken before Tāne/Tāwhaki was deemed ready to receive the kete (basket). When deemed ready Tāne/Tāwhaki was given the three baskets and two stones. The stones were to be used in the graduation process of the whare wānanga (house of learning/university).

For the purposes of the professional doctorate here at Unitec, we are adopting this statement”

“…the Māori story of the Three Baskets of Knowledge provides an apt and accurate metaphor for the holistic approach to education inherent in this new doctorate. Te kete Aronui is the basket that holds knowledge of what we see before us; te kete Tuauri is the basket that contains knowledge that is in the dark or knowledge we build out of our processes and relationships; te kete Tuaatea is the basket that holds knowledge beyond space and time, beyond our contemporary experiences, and can be experienced through rituals and contemplation.”

To add to the understanding of my colleagues of how this applies to the professional doctorate we are developing, the following was provided. Each list can be added to and are not set in concrete and are up for debate:

Te kete Aronui is the basket that holds knowledge of what we see before us – skills and capabilities, professional experience, prior learning, family and other social experiences e.g. volunteering like working on the marae (complex of buildings housing a community), conversations and discussions, meetings…

Te kete Tuairu is the basket that contains knowledge that is in the dark, or knowledge that we build out of our processes and relationships – the problem/project/plan, a literature review, the methodology and methods, networks including social media, conferences, papers, articles, blogs, presentations, documentaries, training videos, online media sources, magazines…

Te kete Tuaatea is the basket that holds knowledge beyond space and time, beyond our contemporary experiences and can be experienced through rituals and contemplation – reflection, analysis, synthesis, 360 evaluation processes, theories, models, frameworks, the ‘so what’ question….

The definitions and ways of working we have adopted here have been developed from Shirres work on Maori theology (see reference below). There will be those who will read this and think the spirituality of Ngā Kete Tuatoru has been lost and devalued. That is a probability we will be able to address having debated and discussed what it is we mean.

Colleagues have been reminded and will always be reminded the kete are never singled out but move together as a trio; there are twelve heavens in the Māori spiritual realm and a doctorate has ten therefore there is always space for continued learning to take place. The kete are never completely filled.


Michael Shirres, Māori theology: A Māori Understanding of Knowledge, retrieved from on 18 February 2014.

The Three Baskets of Knowledge retrieved from on 18 February 2014  

The picture is of a light installation by David Trubridge, industrial designer, displayed as part of Milan Design Week. The installation called The Three Baskets Of Knowledge is composed from three hammock like baskets, each made from different material, playing with light and creating an illusion of transparency of a solid form, a signature feature of David Trubridge’s designs.

Whakapapa: The linking of generations

The word whakapapa is best understood to mean genealogy – the recording and reciting of family connections through the generations. In the last month a branch of my whakapapa has begun the process of determining our lineage through two women – Tarati Angiangi and Hana Konewa who link us to Tainui waka (canoe/boats).

To get us started, one cousin created a Facebook page and through our Facebook ‘friend’ connections we began to make ourselves known to each other. For the moment however, those who have identified thus are primarily the descendants of Wi Koka Keelan and his wife Turuhira Mahemahe. Wi Koka was the son of Hana Konewa from her marriage to William Thomas Keelan. Hana was the daughter of Tarati Angiangi and Rawiri Tangaroa and had several husbands and descendants from each one and those branches have yet to make themselves known to us in the same numbers. 

Making ourselves known to each other in this way and having the conversations we are having albeit online, was inevitable given the Māori diaspora (a scattering of people who originate from a smaller region/place). Inevitable because it is not unusual for people to want to know their origins for different reasons – identity, medical, a need to belong being primary.

In the past identity was provided by the whānau (extended family network) who usually lived in close proximity to each other. They provided the teaching and socialization of what it was to be Māori or as Rangihau put it, to be Tuhoe – in other words one’s identity with one’s tribe and therefore one’s whanau and hapū (sub-tribe)(Moeke-Pickering, 1996; Rangihau in King, 1975). They did this primarily through lived experience, whaikōrero (formal speeches), whakatau(ā)kī (proverbs), waiata (singing/chanting) haka and poi (dance forms) and pūrākau (stories), direct instruction and schooling. To a large extent these ways of being educated as to identity are still relevant and engaged in and supplemented, complemented or replaced by groups of common interest e.g. kapa haka (performance groups), formal study and online resources such as social media. To perhaps illustrate, here is how I identify. 

When asked to introduce myself I often begin by saying, “Hakoa i tipu mai au i roto i te paruparu o Puketawai marae, no Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa me Tuhoe ahau”. In this way, I am identifying with and acknowledging the marae on which I grew up despite having no whakapapa allegiance to it. I grew up in a house not a hundred meters from the marae and the key for the marae (courtyard and surrounding buildings) or the (village) as I grew up calling it, was held at our home. Here is an identity of place.

My mother was the secretary of the marae committee until she moved to work as a teacher at Waipiro Bay in 1968 or ’69. Much of our childhood was spent at Puketawai and long after we moved away, we still returned for hui (gatherings) of one sort or another. Despite a lack of whakapapa connection, our service as children and that of our mother more especially, in our minds gives us some rights to claim a connection. We were the caretakers of Puketawai marae until we moved to Māngatuna to live with an aunt and uncle in about 1968, as our mother took a job as a teacher in Waipiro Bay. We grew up mowing the lawns, cleaning the wharenui (meeting house), wharekai (dining room), kāuta (kitchen) and church both before and after events. We were pressured into helping our mother with fund raising activities for the marae like ‘calling’ whilst the adults played housie, learning how to play euchre to make up the ‘hands’ when need be, monitoring the time so people rotated when playing euchre, preparing supper and even purchasing on behalf of the marae committee, the prizes for the winners. Ours was a childhood in service to Puketawai marae. It was doing that service we learned our identity as Nātis and as Māori.

My little pepeha (statement of identification using geographical and genealogical markers) also notes the main iwi with which I identify because like most Māori there are a number of others to which I can lay claim but do not. Those with which I do identify, I do so for the following reasons:

  • Ngāti Porou because it is the iwi in which I was born and raised and to which I have whakapapa links through my tīpuna kuia (ancestress)Turuhira Mahemahe;
  • Ngāti Awa and Tūhoe because through my grandmother, Ngāwini Te Rangipaeroa Akuhata, my siblings and I have land shares in Waiohau, Matatā, Te Teko, Ruatoki and a few other places in those two iwi. Those shares confirm our whakapapa in those two iwi despite being raised in Ngāti Porou.

Our mother was very particular in telling us regularly about the latter connections and when she became more involved in land meetings in those two iwi, in taking some of us with her from time to time especially my two younger siblings Noble and Peneropi better known in the whānau as Nopera and Pene. Her actions were to bind us so we would also identify with those two iwi – the iwi of her mother who died soon after giving birth to her and is buried at Te Rāwheoro in Ūawa.

But coming back to Tarati Angiangi and Hana Konewa, some of us are getting together at Easter to give some concentrated time to the piecing together of our genealogy from those two women and in a straight line, here it is for me:

    Tarati Angiangi = Rawiri Tangaroa ka puta mai a

    Hana Konewa = William Thomas Keelan ka puta mai a

    Wi Koka Keelan = Turuhira Mahemahe ka puta mai a

    Rūtene Pahoe Keelan = Ngawini Te Rangipaeroa Akuhata ka puta mai a

    Matilda Sophie Keelan (aka Matiria Te Kiri Houpara) = George Jack Johnson ka puta mai a

    Teorongonui Josephine Eliza Keelan = Setu Maua Miller

I have chosen to only state my direct line rather than include all my siblings and all their children and the descendants of every generation because that work is yet to be completed and until it is, that information should not be made available publicly.

Whakapapa is often times complex and for us that is certainly the case as we try to establish Tarati Angiangi’s parentage. Our purpose is for no other reason than to know our connections through her lines, the layers that make us who we are. We lay no claim beyond that – at least I lay no claims beyond that. Except to be able to say with clarity who my tīpuna (ancestors) are and how I can lay that claim.



Moeke-Pickering, T. (1996). Maori identity within whanau: A review of literature. Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.

Rangihau, J in King, M., 1975, Te Ao Hurihuri: The world moves on: Aspects of Māoritanga, Hicks Smith.



The Xmas/New Year period always brings whānau (family) to the forefront of people’s minds. It is a time when being together with family is important. Parents get to watch their offspring socialize and congratulate themselves on a job well done (or otherwise); siblings get to bond yet again with each other – and with their offspring if they are parents; cousins get to know each other and understand how they are related so they can pass those connections on to the following generations.

Too many years spent away from such gatherings by some can leave one’s soul rather bereft at times. However over the last few decades, the notion of whānau has taken on different connotations. These issues are presented to encourage a discussion and yes I do declare my own preference.

Whānau has two different meanings but each is linked to the other. There is the verb to be born or to give birth and the noun, family or to be more precise, extended family. In the last couple of decades it has also taken on a meaning of a group of like-minded people who may be a unit formed for a particular reason e.g. they are friends or work together or are fighting for a particular cause or belong to the same neighbourhood. In actuality Māori words for such groupings do exist like rōpū (group, party of people) and kapa (team) but have been overlooked and or replaced by the more emotionally charged whānau. One can only surmise as to why that may be the case.

It is easy to see the relationship between the first two meanings – whānau is about being related by virtue of birth. With that comes a whole set of relationships and responsibilities which Hirini Mead covers in his book “Tikanga Maori” (2003). The latter set of meanings is a little more difficult to understand because these groups are not formed through the process of being borne and then born but through the process of coming together out of necessity for a common purpose or for support and nourishment a whakapapa (genealogical) family would otherwise provide.

Mead puts the case for providing for these new groupings because he says the old whānau units are too large and disparate to accommodate everyone. He argues that the “dynamic aspects of the system have been knocked out and they need to be reinstituted and reformed.” (2003: 210). As he correctly identifies, whānau, hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe) groupings have been frozen in time and have not grown or more correctly multiplied as the Māori population has grown.

Traditionally, hapū grew as whānau ventured out to establish themselves in new territory out of need – access to resources for constructing shelter, land for growing crops and hunting and fishing territory. These newly established groups had a number of distinctive features.

First and foremost they had a leader from whom they took their name. It was this person who led them to their new environment – in most iwi it is only the male leaders who have been acknowledged with such naming. In Ngāti Porou, female leaders have also been acknowledged through the naming e.g. Te Whānau o Iritekura, Te Aitanga a Mate and Te Whānau o Hinetāpora to name three hapū named for the women who led them in the establishment of their new community.

Another distinctive feature is they built a (fortified village) to not only protect them from invaders but also to create a sense of community.  They retreated to the pā when under threat by enemies. Otherwise they lived in a variety of smaller kainga (homes and villages). Shawn Awatere have provided good descriptions of these villages and their make up in Tu Whare Ora (2008). It’s worth a read to get an understanding of those ancient communities and how we could learn from them in planning for our modern communities.

Getting back to the idea of the modern whānau and hapū, at what point would new ones emerge and how would they assert themselves in this world that becomes more crowded by the minute? A question for a future post.

The photo was taken at the picnic after the unveiling of my mother’s headstone at Tolaga Bay cemetery Auckland Anniversary Day 2013. Picnic held at Tolaga Bay Camp Grounds which is next door to the cemetery!


Shawn Awatere with Craig Pauling, Shad Rolleston, Rau Hoskins and Karl Wixon, 2008, Tū Whare Ora – Building Capacity for Mwāori Driven Design In Sustainable Settlement Development,      

Hirini Moko Mead, 2003, Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori values, Wellington, Huia Publishers.

Māori in a Global World

Marae and Whare Kai_harakeke

An abridged version of a key note I delivered at the Mātauranga Māori Conference, Māori in a Global World, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 6 December 2013.

E ngā reo, e ngā mana, e nga karanga maha o te motu tēnā koutou. Tēnā koutou i tae ki tēnei hui ki te āta titiro ki a tātau te iwi Māori kei roto i tēnei ao hurihuri.

My kōrero today references the physical space of this campus as a metaphor for talking about Māori in a global world.

About 50 metres to the right of the marae atea (courtyard) outside is the puna (spring) from which flows Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka. It is said that whilst travelling through the district with her uncle, Puhi the chief of the Mataatua waka (canoe), Wairaka grew tired and thirsty and struck the ground with her staff causing water to flow. The story reminds us that Māori have always been part of a global world.

Wairaka was on a waka that had sailed the Great Ocean of Kiwa from Hawaiki Nui, Hawaiki Roa, Hawaiki Pāmamao. She and the other intrepid adventurers on that waka knew when they left their homeland it was unlikely they would ever return. They brought with them the food, knowledge and technology of that homeland and when they arrived here were challenged to adapt to survive and survive they did.

Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka flows past the front of the marae ātea through the pā harakeke known as Te Rangimārie. Te Rangimārie connects Māori and Unitec to the Global World in a number of ways. First there is the name Te Rangimārie which means Peace. It is a constant reminder we do not live in a state of peace globally. Each one of us in this room has a relative who has served or is serving and for some of us, we have a relative who never returned from a war.

The second way in which Rangimārie connects us to the global world is in the down stream products of the harakeke or flax plant. In the 1800s Māori were prolific traders. Hazel Petrie in her book, Chiefs of Industry (2006) quotes a “Robert Jarman who encountered a great many Māori in Sydney in 1833[describing] them generally as ‘industrious, intelligent, bold, and enterprising’.” (p. 39) The flax trade peaked in 1831 at 1182 tons exported to Sydney. At the time Petrie says flax hand-prepared by Māori women was highly valued and sought after.

Petrie writes about many Māori trading between Aotearoa, Australia, the West Coast of the United States. They owned ships but they also travelled to those places to work. Petrie’s book brings togather much of the evidence Māori were engaged in a global context and highly enterprising and entrepreneurial in those early years of contact with the then new settler group.

A third way in which the pā harakeke connects us to the global world is the metaphor of the matua sheltering the rito or the older flax frond protecting the emerging flax frond.

Throughout all cultures and societies are the pictures of adults sheltering children. The flax bush is a constant reminder of the role parents and adults generally have to play in providing for the following generations. We are not always good at doing that – we just have to witness the growing disparities between the haves and have nots, the poor and the wealthy and for Māori the high rates of incarceration, suicide, child injury and death.

However the work of Anne Salmon and Rawiri Taonui in reminding us about the ways in which our ancestors engaged with tamariki gives hope we might one day return to that level of respect for each other no matter the age. Taonui quotes various observations of Māori adults interaction with children in those first interactions between Māori and the new settler group (2010). Here is one of those:

“The chiefs . . . are accustomed to public discussions from their infancy. The chiefs take their children from their mother’s breast to all their public assemblies, where they hear all that is said upon politics, religion, war etc. by the oldest men. Children will frequently ask questions in public conversation and are answered by the chiefs. I have often been surprised to see the sons of the chiefs at the age of four or five years sitting amongst the chiefs and paying close attention to what was said. The children never appear under any embarrassment when they address a stranger whom they never saw. (p. 193)”

In the meantime Taonui paints this picture for us:

“Māori are over-represented in child homicide. However, the problem is not just confined to Māori; it is a New Zealand problem. For instance, although Māori, who are 14.6% of the population, accounted for 28 (31%) of the 88 children killed between 1993 and 2003; 48 (54%) of all child homicides were Pākehā children (Pacific Island or Asian comprised 12 deaths or 13.6%). Between 2001 and 2005, Māori children under 15 years old were 28% or 17 of 61 child homicides – 44 were non-Māori (Ministry of Social Development, 2008). The majority of children killed were European; the question therefore arises as to why it is that the photos of Māori child victims are more likely to be named and publicized. And, while the names of Māori victims are well known, the names of Pākehā children are not. (2010: 191-192)”

So every time we look at the pā harakeke we are reminded of our global past as entrepreneurs,  labourers and soldiers that tells us we are no strangers to participating at that level. We are also reminded we have a responsibility to be good enough parents and adults so our tamariki can contribute to the global community possibly at an even greater level than we have .

From the pā harakeke we move into this buiding Ngākau Māhaki which the Executive Director of the Academic Development Group here at Unitec has described as a library. And as you sit here, that analogy cannot be lost on you as it is rich in knowledge at many levels and not just Māori.

As we all know, Lyonel Grant was the designer, artisan and artist who was ably assisted by Judy Robson-Deane and Shona Tawhiao who wove the mats you see in the house and staff from Unitec especially those in the Faculty of Technology and Built Environment. They worked together to produce this beautiful house. Go here for a little bit of the kōrero about the house.

So this house in and of itself is a movement from the past into the future; it is a repository of our history, of how we are connected globally; it looks old but it is incredibly forward thinking in its design and execution.

There are two other buildings that give life to this building and without which it would not be able to host you today. Next door is the wharekai (dining hall), Manaaki and on the other side of that is Pūkenga. Manaaki was opened this time last year.

Wharekai are a contemporary concept. If you look at many old photos of (which is what I grew up calling what are known today as the marae), there were no dining halls. There was a wharenui and a kāuta or cook house. Whenever there was cause for a hākari (feast) either a large marquee was hired or food was laid out on whāriki or mats that were in turn covered with table cloths (or newspaper) and everyone sat either side and feasted at what looked like a giant picnic!

Wharekai began to be constructed during the 1950s and 60s. There are some that are older but the major construction of these facilities occurred during the decades I’ve mentioned.

Wharekai have enabled Māori to host visitors in a way that adds value to their experience of being cared for. Manaaki next door is used for a variety of events held by the Unitec Institute of Technology and not just when there is a hui in here. It has its own life and is recognised by staff as a great venue for events.

Bringing people into Manaaki also brings them into Ngākau Mahaki and into the larger space that is the physical embodiment of the agreement between Māori and non-Māori here at Unitec, Te Noho Kotahitanga. It is where we greet new staff and students as well as visitors. It is our major connecting place between the Institute and the world, Māori and the world, staff and students and te ao Māori. The same environment exists in almost every tertiary institution throughout the country.

My final point of reference is Pūkenga which is on the other side of the wharekai and was the first building on this site and is about to turn 21! Pūkenga houses the Maia Māori Centre. If this wharenui is the artistic embodiment of history, literature, many technologies, cosmology, the arts, the sciences, then Pūkenga is its beating heart.

It is where students whether they are Māori or non-Māori can find refuge, study, have something to eat, find a shoulder to cry on, get hugs and told off and at the end of it celebrated for being achievers.

So let me introduce you to the pā that is Unitec; the gateway to the Institute a place for Māori to achieve and to take their place in the global world as their tīpuna have done for generations. In introducing you to Unitec may you have an enjoyable conference.

No reira e hika ma, i roto i nga kupu a Apirana ki a Rangi Bennett

E tipu e rea mo ngā rā o tou ao

Ko to ringa ki ngā rākau o te pākehā hei ara mō tō tīnana

Ko to ngākau ki ngā tāonga a o tīpuna Māori hei tikitiki mō tō māhuna

Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua nāna nei ngā mea katoa

Kia ora!


Petrie, H., 2006, Chiefs of Industry: Māori Tribal Enterprise in Early Colonial New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland University Press.

Taonui, R. (2010). Mana Tamariki: Cultural Alienation. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 6(3), 187. Retrieved 5 December 2013 at

New space in science for the not-so-ordinary poi

Raupo poi

I read an article recently talking about the healing properties of the poi. For those who don’t know, a poi is a light ball at the end of varying lengths of string and twirled making different patterns and movements. It is used primarily for entertainment purposes. The short article gave a link to a website called SpinPoi that provides more information about poi for physical therapy.

Rather than talk about the healing properties of poi, I just want to talk about the poi we learnt when growing up at Puketawai just outside of Tolaga Bay.

We all learnt the poi because whether we wanted to or not we joined the AMP kapa haka (preforming troupe). AMP stood for Anaura, Māngatuna and Puketawai three of the marae (villages) between Tolaga Bay and Tokomaru Bay. So it was those of us whose whakapapa (genealogy) linked them to those marae (or in our case because our mother was the secretary of the Puketawai Marae Committee) became a member of the kapa haka and practicing, rehearsing and performing became a regular activity.

Uncle Jury Matete was the male instructor and my mother known to everyone as Aunty Mac was the female instructor. Their expectations were high and we often didn’t meet them until time for competition. You see all that practicing and rehearsing was about competition.

There are two poi I remember we did – Taku poi porotiti and a medley of four tunes in one performance. About five years ago we got together for a Christmas with our mother and a variety of relatives with whom we had grown up and the two poi were on the programme. A half-hearted attempt to teach them to the next generation ensued. We weren’t as good at instructing as Uncle Jury and Mum had been.

For sentimental reasons here are the words. I’ll add the rangi (tune) when I get the chance to record myself. In the meantime some of you might know the tunes. Happy singing:


Taku poi porotiti rere atu ra

Whiu atu whiu mai ki te takiwā

Papaki tahi kia rite te takahia

Kia kori to tinana ngāwari

Taku poi raupo, taku mihi atu ra

Mauria te korero

Kia mau te aroha, me te mahitahi

Kia eke tōna wāwata

Titiro atu ki te poi nei e rere nei ki taku aroha

Papaki tahi kia rite te takahia.

Kia ora ra koutou katoa

Kia ora ra koutou katoa



E rere taku poi mauria atu ra

Nga iwi o te motu e papaki mai nei

Ki awhi atu ra me nga atu ki a mau

Me nga atu kia mau e

Me nga atu kia mau e


Me he manu rere aue kua rere ki to moenga

Ki te awhi to tīnana

Aue aue e te tau tāhuri mai


Kumea mai ra, toia mai ra

Nga iwi o te motu hoea mai ki tē moana

Tahuri mai ki Tairawhiti ka takahia te moana

Ngā iwi o te motu tēnei rā


Hoki hoki tonu mai

Te wairua o te tau

Ki te awhi reinga ki tēnei kiri e

Tēnei kiri e.

On a final note; kapa haka in the days when I was growing up was different to that performed these days for competition purposes. Competition has lifted the performance to a level that would leave our parents breathless. The colour, pace, choreography, musical arrangements, impact of other cultures’ dance routines have all impacted on the final product. Being part of a global village has changed kapa haka much in the same way that the performance of our parents’ generation was quite different to that of their parents. Kapa haka best demonstrates Māori culture as a living culture in that it has adapted to the pace and living of each generation. To illustrate that have a look at these two groups and note the differences in their performances.

Te Arohanui Maori Concert Party performing on the Danny Kay Show in 1963


Ngā Taiatea Kura Kaupapa performing their poi in 2012.