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Poroporoaki: Mihipeka Edwards

Poroporoaki: Mihipeka Edwards

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

23 May 2008

E te kuia, haere ki to iwi, haere ki to whanau, haere ki o tatou tupuna. Haere ki te kainga tuturu mo te tangata. Aue! Te Pouri! Te Tangi e! Haere, Haere, Haere!

The Maori Party today mourned the loss of talented writer and cherished kuia of Ngati Raukawa and Te Arawa, Mihipeka Edwards, who was aged 90.

“Mihipeka gifted us her memories, documenting her experiences through her life story, published in three autobiographies over the past twenty years” said Mrs Turia.

“In Early Years she recalled the painful impact of the influenza epidemic, the war years, and the devastating treatment of Maori in schools in the early part of the twentieth century” said Mrs Turia.

“She told us of being strapped for calling cat, ‘ngeru’ or apple, ‘aporo’” said Mrs Turia. “Simple but savage lessons in assimilation which never left her”.

Mihipeka wrote:

"I wanted to write about how the Maori people lost the language, to let it be known how it really did happen. I made a vow in my heart that one day I would tell it from every point, every pinnacle, every roof top, so that there would be no more misunderstanding. I would let people know how important it is to hold fast to your identity, because without your reo you are nothing."

“In Time of Turmoil – Nga Wa Raruraru; and Call of an Elder, Karanga a Te Kuia, Mihipeka shared her growing need to pass on her heritage, while also recording the ongoing conflict of a Maori woman, trying to succeed in two worlds, as she said, ‘the sewing together of humankind’”.

“We commend the vision of Haeata, the Maori women’s arts collective who launched her work; and we will be forever richer for having heard Mihipeka’s story. Moe mai ra e kui”.

The Maori Party acknowledges the profound grief for the whanau of Ngati Wehiwehi in their loss of another cherished kuia at this time, the late Maud Miratana.

Mihipeka Edwards will return to Parawai Marae in Ngongotaha for her burial on Sunday.


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