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Waihua descendants gather to share and learn more

Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust Press Release 25th November, 2013.

Waihua descendants gather to share and learn more about their whakapapa and whenua.

Tamariki performing outside the Te Aho Whanau homestead, 23rd November 2013.

More than fifty people came together from Murupara, Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Whakaki, Waihua and Wairoa to find our more about their whakapapa (genealogy) and the history of Waihua, just south of Wairoa, on Saturday 23rd November.

Local kaumatua, Gaye Hawkins and Fred McRoberts shared their knowledge at Kurahikakawa (Waihua Marae, the old school), the memorial at the marae site, the urupa (cemeteries) and a whanau homestead on Waihua beach road. Many of those who came recalled memories of childhood and stories of how thriving the community once was.

Locals recalled the successful surfcasting competitions that until recently were run by the locals as a fundraising activity. People would come from around the country to participate. Kaumatua recalled the hockey prowess of the local community and the events that marae would host that would include hockey tournaments, kapa haka and other sports.

Elmaadi Te Aho, project co-ordinator for Ngati Pahauwera, said, “It has been a wonderful day and a chance for people to connect with one another and the community, their history and their extended families. Our tamariki have connected and been running around like they have known one another all their lives. There has been aroha (love) and manaaki (generosity) in the presentations from Gaye and Fred today. Everyone has shared what they know and people can’t wait for the next one!”

Ms Te Aho went on to say that, ”Today has been rewarding and the whole community, both Maori and Pakeha have provided support to the event with their photos, maps and resources. It has been a celebration of the history and the potential future of descendants of the area.”

Waihua now only has 9 houses, five still inhabited by those with ancestry to the land. Many sites of significance were shared, including sacred places to avoid. One of the interesting stories shared was about how a female ancestor, Kurahikakawa, was mistaken for a man in written literature. Stories of local food, recreation and how descendants are connecting today through a family school holiday camping programme and using technology provided inspiration for those from out of town.

Ngati Pahauwera Chairperson, Toro Waaka, said, “It has been a fantastic day, and the hunger people have to know more about their history and knowledge their families have lost is heartening, particularly seeing so many youth and children here. This is knowledge that must be shared and recorded for future generations. We are currently pursuing Marine and Coastal area claims with the Crown, and many of the stories shared today have highlighted our need to be more active as protectors and defenders of our natural environment.

A recent Ngati Pahauwera tikanga wananga (cultural meeting) highlighted the interest of Pahauwera members to have more events such as this Waihua wananga. This will be part of a series over the next four months.

Kym Hamilton, Project Manager, Ngati Pahauwera, said, “This project is part of a broader initiative by the Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust to provide support for youth and families to know more about their tribal identity, increase their knowledge about the Pahauwera lands and waters, and contribute to Ngati Pahauwera futures and development.”

Ms Hamilton said, “Two weekends ago we provided whanau strategic and action planning P.A.T.H. workshops. P.A.T.H. stands for Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope and we were lucky enough to have Kataraina Pipi, an expert facilitator, and her team come through and work with five families to develop plans. We will be running a training programme for up to ten adult and youth facilitators in the New Year, we are also looking at an arts programme, and a music event over the next three months.”

Toro Waaka said, “Ngati Pahauwera is prioritising whanau and social development that has real outcomes and is about whanau determining their priorities and getting on with it. Our whanau have been some of the most under-served in the country so it is really exciting to be working to support this sort of development, for our whanau who live locally and outside of the Ngati Pahauwera tribal area.”

Ngati Pahauwera families and youth who are keen to be part of this project should contact our office npdtt@xtra.co.nz or register their interest on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ngatipahauwera.developmenttrust

ENDS

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