Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New Ngai Tahu Whare Tipuna

Close to 1,000 people gathered in the tiny Lyttelton harbour settlement of Rapaki last Saturday, for the dawn opening of Wheke, the new whare tipuna of Te Hapu o Ngati Wheke, Ngai Tahu that has been ten years in the planning and making.

It was always going to be a long day - I woke up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep, so I was ready for action way ahead of the 4.30am Whakatuwhera - the dawn ceremony. Later in the morning - after breakfast for 600, when the sun was up - a team of waka taua (war canoe) paddlers arrived at Rapaki's Gallipoli Jetty (built in 1916 as a memory to soldiers who fell at Gallipoli) to start the second half of the formal celebrations - the powhiri for invited dignatories.

It was a baking hot day and while everyone huddled under umbrellas, sunhats and nearby trees, local kaumatua (elders) welcomed the guests. I spent some of that time taking photographs - hundreds of photographs - and these are a tiny sample of some of my favourites from the day. I'll be bringing a few more to this blog in the coming days.

I always find a wealth of photographic material at Maori events - the carved tokotoko (walking sticks), the beauty of the hongi (greeting; above), the hats, the splendour of carvings, the luxury of feather korowai (cloaks- below), the intricacy of patterns and ta moko. I'm never short of a subject.

I'll bring you more of the hats, the tokotoko, the hongi and the exterior carvings in future blogs. Unfortunately, I can't show you the exquisite carvings and tukutuku panels and the elaborately painted heke (rafters) inside the whare tipuna. While I was able to photograph them for Ngai Tahu's TE KARAKA magazine, that's where they have to stay, as photography is not generally permitted inside a wharenui. Suffice to say, Master Carver, Christchurch-based Ngati Porou artist, Riki Manuel and his team have created a sublime interior that is completely unique. Manuel has invented what he loosely terms "a Rapaki style" that is based on local whakapapa, birds, plants and kaimoana (seafood) - in short, the unique local lifestyle that sets this divine little community - just across the Port Hills from Christchurch - apart. www.ngaitahi.iwi.nz

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paua - In Contemporary Use

A shiny rainbow of blues, green and mauves
Captured in a Neck Piece
Cathedral Square Market
October 2010. Ajr

Friday, November 26, 2010

More from Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau - Karitane

This year's Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau was staged at the tiny southern seaside village at Karitane about 35 minutes north of Dunedin, from Friday November 19-21. Numerous marquees were erected on the estuary foreshore (our view above) and around 1,000 iwi (tribe) members descended on the village for three days of meetings, 'reunions' with relatives and friends, discussions, tours and activities.

Local school pupils performed (above); a good number of Police kept and eye on proceedings, at the same time mixing in with visitors (above); and dozens of kids treated the entire location like a giant fun park (below).

It was often an exhausting business for the tamariki (children). When they weren't playing in the sea or exploring the rocky foreshore, they were joining in sack and egg-and-spoon races, hip-hop dancing or fake ta moko (tattoo) face painting sessions. The little guy pictured above finally gave in to exhaustion when he was sitting on a chair in the main tent.
Meanwhile, this group of kuia (old ladies) decided to dress alike in red cloaks so they "wouldn't lose each other" in the crowds on opening night.
I'm always staggered by the massive amount of organisation that goes into staging these big events - the feeding and accommodating of over 1,000 people is only the beginning. There are hangi to dig and prepare; meetings to schedule and run; guest speakers to organise and so much more. And the hosts this year, Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki, even went to the trouble of decorating every hui site around the village with giant handpainted banners (above).
A crowd of keen paddlers also gathered for waka ama paddling and sailing activities on the Waikouaiti River and estuary (above); and Nuku Tirikatene-Nash ran a surf school over the sandhills at Karitane Ocean Beach.
There were demonstrations on traditional methods of working pounamu, with discussion on the distinctive characteristics of the many treasured pounamu varieties; and demonstrations of the making of traditional mokihi (rafts) (above), which are made by binding bundles of dried raupo (bullrush) leaves together with stripped harakeke (flax). The mohiki pictured above are small, take-home versions - they were traditionally made much larger to transport two to four people. Hui participants also had the chance to visit nearby Puketeraki Marae, the nearby Evansdale Cheese Factory and Huriawa Peninsula to explore the archaeology and re-vegetation of Te Pa o te Wera. Rihari Taratoa-Bannister and Kelly Tikao were also on hand in the Oi Tent, to show Oi He Whakaaro Maori Short Films. In short, there was something for everyone. www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz
If you'd like to see scenes from last year's 2009 Hui-a-Tau at Colac Bay in Southland, click on Hui-a-Tau in the label line below this post.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Hui Market

Every year at the Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau, there's a very good craft market where iwi members can sell their arts, crafts, services and products. You'll find everything from pounamu (greenstone) and bone jewellery to pounamu platters, woven kete (baskets), stone carvings and clothing embellished with traditional designs. It's a great chance to pick up both traditional and contemporary gifts for friends and family. www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz

Maori Place Names - 80

Omarumutu, Bay of Plenty
North Island
June 2010, Ajr.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hats at the Hui

Last Friday, I headed south to Karitane, about 30 minutes north of Dunedin, for the annual Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau hosted by Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki. The three-day event was staged at the Karitane reserve overlooking the very pretty estuary and for the most part, the weather held. The Hui-a-Tau is a chance for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu to meet with all iwi runanga and representatives to discuss the years activities, business and concerns. And while all those formalities are taking place, I'm usually found taking in the details of the event - photographing people and places, artisans and 'aunties.' At this year's event, I was particularly taken with all the hats, so I've decided to start my coverage with a short 'hat parade' - candid shots of a few iwi members taken during proceedings.

And Hat's Off to organisers for another successful event

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pounamu - A Green Display

Pounamu Pendants
For Sale
At a Market Stall
Ajr 2009

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Traditional Designs - 21

Band Member
Christchurch Fire Service
Oct.2010. Ajr

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maori Place Names - 79

Moeraki, North Otago
South Island
May 2010.Ajr

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Man, One Tattoo

Waiting for the Whanau
Riccarrton Rotary Market
October 2010. Ajr

Monday, November 15, 2010

Te Pouwairua a Tuhourangi

In former times during the Tangihanga (funeral) for a chief, his waka (canoe) would be placed on its end, standing upright and semi-buried in the ground. This would signify the homage and gratitude rendered to the great man, the warrior, the great chief. To the already carved waka, the addition of more carved or painted designs - kowhaiwhai - would show tribal connection. In this Pouwairua, standing tall above Lake Tarawera, the Te Arawa people of Rotorua honour and respect their great leader, Tuhourangi, who once occupied the surrounding lands with his people.
In 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted fiercely - that's it in the rear right of the photograph above - flat-topped now. In the ensuring devastation that followed, the Maori village of Te Wairoa, home to the Tuhourangi people, was completely buried in volcanic ash.

The Tuhourangi owned the famous Pink & White Terraces - Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata -which were a major tourist attraction in the late 1880s. Members of the tribe acted as guides for people wanting to explore the terraces. Along with the loss of Te Wairoa, the terraces and several surrounding villages, the Tuhourangi also lost all their cultivated land that had provided social, cultural and economic sustenance for the hapu for generations.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

For Sale

Roadside Stall
Paua Shells For Sale
Otago Peninsula, Dunedin
May 2010. Ajr

Friday, November 12, 2010

A War Memorial

We miss out on a lot in life when we don't take the time to look carefully at everything around us. It seems to be the modern way - to whizz through life without a minute to spare for the sheer enjoyment of observation. I've been guilty of it myself - which is why I had never really noticed this particular war memorial in Rotorua's Government Gardens before. Always in a hurry for a meeting at adjacent Rotorua Museum & Art Gallery, I had driven straight past it many times.

Unveiled by the Duke of York in 1927 it is a memorial to the Te Arawa soldiers who died in the Great War. It is extravagant in its detail - following both the English and the Maori traditions. I've only represented a tiny portion of that here in the interests of conserving space. I particularly loved the little waka with its miniature paddlers set into the concrete memorial.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maori Place Names - 78

Onepu, Bay of Plenty
North Island
June 2010.Ajr

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Ngati Pikiao Marae

It was late afternoon on a grey winter's day when I pulled off the highway 14 kilometres north of Rotorua at the tiny village of Mourea. I'd spotted the sign to Te Takinga Marae and I was keen to get a closer look.

I drove down beside a slow moving river and parked my car for a while to take in the pretty buildings - the cute-as-a-button Maori church, complete with urupa (Motutawa) and the marae complex itself, set back from the road against a backdrop of thunderous grey clouds.

Te Takinga (Hohowai) Marae is home to the hapu Ngati Te Takinga of the iwi, Ngati Pikiao, which in turn is an affiliated member of the Te Arawa confederation of tribes. Ngati Pikiao occupies the land of the Okere and Rotoiti Lakes near Rotorua and Te Takinga, is on the western shores of Lake Rotoiti. there was no one about on the marae itself; in fact the only person I saw in all of Mourea, was a man fishing on the side of the river.


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