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.
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.

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