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He raruraru kei te haere – problems down at the pā …..

Cultural discontinuity and insecure identities

This chapter begins with an overview of the issues and concerns surrounding cultural continuity for both Ngati Te Takinga and for Iwi Māori generally. I then locate the place of this thesis within the hapū plan to address these concerns and highlight how the colonised reality of contemporary hapū-Iwi life (our internalised oppression) inhibits hapū innovation. Section three of Chapter two examines the meaning, the significance and the role of the marae within Māori (Ngati Te Takinga) culture, while section four considers the rights and obligations of individuals within the context of the hapū-Iwi membership and apprenticeship (inclusion) process. The final section of Chapter two provides an example of an Iwi apprenticeship in progress and concludes with an overview of William’s (2000, cited in James, 2000) classification of Māori to define, identify and to position the ‘ahi kaa’ (mana whenua) and ‘away-dwellers’ (te ahi tere) referred to in this research.

Cultural disconnection

he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea e kore e ngaro I am a seed from Rangiātea, I will not be lost

Colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand and ensuing urbanisation assimilation and hegemony (Fanon, 1965 & 1968; Walker, 1990; Commo, 1993; A. Durie, 1997; Ballara, 1998; Bishop, 1998), has lead to the physical and cultural disconnection (detribalisation) of many Ngati Te Takinga people who live both inside, and outside, of Ngati Te Takinga-Ngati Pikiao’s geographical boundaries. The resultant loss to Takinga-Ngati Te Takinga of the human and cultural capital available to people our marae, and to bolster the hapū by way of numbers, is concerning. Coupled with the diminishing numbers of culturally

proficient and physically and mentally able elders (sometimes referred to as the mana whenua and/or ahi kaa) in our midst, the situation has become critical. The passing of our elders and/or their age related physical and mental incapacity, constitutes a loss of

our historical repositories of knowledge and of the types of cultural expertise and leadership necessary to support the hapū and the marae, two fundamental institutions of Māori society.

In setting out to address this problem, Ngati Te Takinga sought to bridge the gap between those of our people who remain connected and those who are disconnected. The term connected, within the context of this thesis, refers to those members of Ngati Te Takinga who regularly exercise and maintain their rights and obligations as hapū members; while the term disconnected refers to those Ngati Te Takinga peoples who, through their non-participation and non fulfilment of obligations at hapū and marae levels, have renounced and/or weakened their hapū membership rights. The bridge-building process between these two groups began with the hapū wānanga series. The recording of oral histories of [some] Ngati Te Takinga elders and away-dwellers was the second phase. Perceived as a cultural realignment device, the hapū considered that the telling, the recording and the reading of stories about home, could assist to keep us connected with our marae Te Takinga and also, with each other as Te Takinga descendants. Increasing chances for cultural continuity was the primary goal of the exercise.

The stories that were gathered captured two sets of data. One set focussed on home, belongingness and Ngati Te Takinga – Māori identity, while the other considered issues of the connection, disconnection and reconnection of hapū descendants. The information was produced as a tool for informing the hapū and marae revitalisation strategy.

Knowing that (for an away-dweller) reconnecting with one’s hapū and marae can be a daunting task, I wanted to call attention to the need to address the fears and anxieties of away-dwellers coming home. The requirement for more inclusive (and friendly) marae processes was critical to the success of any strategy for rejuvenating the marae. As well, I wanted to consider the possibilities for establishing a contemporary ‘distance’ (marae) apprenticeship process that could compliment and support the (traditional) apprenticeship process currently in operation. This system (which will be fully explained later in this chapter) has an unspoken requirement for ‘kanohi kitea’ or for physical presence of hapū members at hapū gatherings at the marae. The requirement can hamper opportunities for

away-dweller’s to participate and/or to contribute their knowledge and skills to hapū development. By creating systems that enable and allow our people to fulfil the reciprocal obligations that maintain our hapū relationships from a distance, the chances for strengthening hapū connectiveness are potentially increased. Although the ideal, for away-dwelling Ngati Te Takinga people, and for our people generally, the obligation to be physically present at hapū and marae gatherings can be unrealistic, impractical and often impossible. The obligation however remains.

A cultural value, the ‘kanohi kitea’ element of tikanga (Māori ways and methods) is a source of tension between the home (those who have remained in the homelands) and the away (those who left) people. Within Ngati Te Takinga those who have left include those who moved the short distance to live outside of the hapū-Iwi boundaries in the Rotorua Township. I am in this latter cohort and as an away person looking in, it appears that the tension is fuelled by a resentment of those who had left by those who had stayed.

Regardless of peoples’ reasons for leaving the hau kainga (ancestral lands), there is a stigma attached to going away. The stigma, as evidenced within the ahi tere (away-dweller) stories in Chapters five, six and seven and also within the prevailing discourse at hui-a-hapū, remains. While a person may return to live and work amoung, for and with the hapū, the fact that they left sits like a smudge on their personal record. The smudge dictates the parameter of that person’s rights within the hapū which may be limited and/or invalidated because they left. This form of discrimination can result in divisions, disunity and despair which, in turn, leads to a withdrawal of the people (support) needed to grow and strengthen the hapū.

He aha te mea nui?

What’s important really?

Hutia te rito o te harakeke kei whea te Komako e ko? Ki mai ki ahau, he aha te mea nui o te ao, māku e ki atu, he tangata, he tangata he tangata’

Tear out the heart of the flax bush, where would the bellbird sing? If I was to be asked what the most important thing in the world is, I would respond by saying, “it is people, it is people, it is people……”

This frequently quoted whakatauki (proverbial saying) tells us that in te ao Māori (the Māori world), people are of paramount importance. That Ngati Te Takinga ascribe to this principle is demonstrated by the hapū wānanga which sought to reconnect our people and to rekindle kinship ties. This thesis is also testament to the hapū’s belief that people and history remain integral to the survival of Ngati Te Takinga-Ngati Pikiao culture, as the source of [hapū] identity (Said, 1993). The notion, however, of an anti thesis arises when the principle of people first is juxtaposed with the existing discourse that surrounds away-dweller status in the hau kainga. Within this discourse, the idea that people are valued above all else, becomes a contradiction.

Alongside the climate of resentment, the stigmatisation of away-dwellers contravenes our espoused Māori values of manaaki (to care); koha (to give); tohatoha (to share); aroha (to love and care); and awhi (to assist and support). The culture of exclusion that is created by this discourse thwarts the development and implementation of a strategy for including our disconnected people. It appears that while the hapū wants to strengthen itself by rekindling kinship relationships, there is a fear that increased hapū membership could

‘tip’ the balance of power and result in a loss of control by the current home rule. The ensuing struggle to maintain the status quo manifests itself by way of the tension (internalised racism) between the home people and away-dwelling people returning home. In addressing the desires of the people to record hapū stories to retain and restore hapū knowledge, this research uses the same stories as a catalyst for deconstructing, decolonising and transforming the socio-cultural and political power base of the hapū.

In so doing, the research acknowledges that Ngati Te Takinga ‘cannot be the cure if we are the disease’ (Battiste, M. 2000, p. xvii).

Exploring events of the past in order to ascertain how they have shaped the present (Temm, 1990), the project considers how the present when informed by the past, might shape a strong Ngati Te Takinga future. The stories from both home and away-dwellers are intended to sow the seeds of understanding that can diminish the tensions and/or transform (decolonise) the discourses that jeopardise present and future hapū

development. Central to this development is the institution of the marae. Te Takinga

marae is the socio-cultural and political hub of the hapū. It is from this hub that the customs and collective identity of Ngati Te Takinga is monitored, kept intact and maintained. Examining the marae, the following section explains the place and significance of this institution within both traditional and contemporary Māori society.

For Ngati Te Takinga, Te Takinga marae is the common cultural denominator that links us to our past, to our culture and each other as Te Takinga descendants. The marae is both the anchor stone for hapū identity and the harbouring place for our culture.

I ngā rā o mua

Looking back is looking forward

Identifying of oneself with one’s people and one’s history is a major reason for the family marae and meeting house. To enter the meeting house is to be re-born into the kin group, into the family (Shirres, M. 1997, p. 54).

The marae

Marae have existed since time immemorial as ‘the quintessential citadel of the Māori ethos’ (N. Raerino, pers. comm., 2006). In former times marae consisted of an area of land centrally located in Māori villages or kainga. Doubling as the village square, the marae functioned as a place where public gatherings occurred, where visitors were welcomed and feasted, where the dead were mourned and, when unoccupied for such purposes, where children played (Schwimmer, 1966). The sacrosanct qualities of the marae were derived from the Māori ethos. In turn, this ethos was a derivative of

Māori’cultural imperatives such as language, songs, oratory rhetoric (te reo) customs and practices (tikanga) corpus knowledge and epistemology (mōhio) and inter-relationships, narratives and storytelling (whakapapa)’ (N. Raerino, pers. comm., 2006). These cultural imperatives shaped the appropriate, befitting and distinct marae etiquette and protocol accorded to those ceremonies that occurred on the marae; none were conducted without religious observances. Ceremonial rituals and prayers formed the most important constituent of the Māori ethos. To absent the marae of religious observances was to render the marae and its environs ‘barren and devoid of cultural significance’ (N.

Raerino, pers. comm., 2006).

While the physical marae may have changed, its function remains the same. Marae of old, however, have been supplanted by the contemporary marae complex which usually incorporates a meeting house and a kitchen-dining room. Contemporary ‘modern’ marae still embody the life principle of a people and their place; they act not only as centres for cultural and traditional activities (Durie, 2003) but also as a physical representation of the mana of a people. Marae form an integral component of Māori cultural identity.

European colonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand coupled with Māori urbanisation, heralded many changes to Māori ways of life and to Māori ways of being and knowing.

Surviving the many upheavals of these eras, marae have remained as cultural ‘touch stones’ for Māori within the urban milieu. Walker (1990) articulates this notion emphasising the magnitude and the importance of the role of marae during this period:

The bastions of cultural conservatism for the Māori were kinship within the tribal polity, the marae and the institution of the tangi. Seasonal and migrant workers returned often to their kainga to be with kin in times of celebration or bereavement. Weddings, tangihanga, twenty-first birthdays and other community events were invariably held at tribal marae. The marae gave a modicum of stability and cultural continuity in the face of Pākehā dominance and assimilationist pressures (Walker, R. 1990, p. 187).

Land loss and alienation also served to strengthen the place and significance of marae during the 1930’s – 40’s colonisation-urbanisation period. Many marae and tribal

meeting houses are built on land classified as Māori Reservations under the Māori Affairs Act. On the basis that this land is inalienable, Walker (1990) has suggested that for landless Māori, the marae was their remaining tūrangawaewae on which to hang their identity as the indigenous people who once owned the whole of the country. M. Durie (2001) agrees with this thinking by suggesting that for dispossessed Māori, the marae became ‘the only connection with Papatuanuku (the earth) and the only opportunity to exercise an interest in a greatly reduced tribal estate’ (M. Durie, 2001, p. 74). Under these circumstances, marae became ‘the beachheads from which Māori launched their cultural revival in the twentieth century’ (Walker, R. 1990, p. 187).

‘Mā te huruhuru te manu ka rere’

By feathers do the wings of the bird gain flight

The Māori cultural renaissance movement of the late 1920’s – 30’s was lead by Apirana Ngata who was considered to be one of the most able Māori leaders of the 20th century.

Ngata’s futuristic strategy for Māori cultural revival and continuity ‘focused the Māori cultural revival on the carved meeting house [or wharepuni], as the symbol of Māori identity, mana and tribal traditions’ (Walker, R. 1990, p. 187). For the people of Te Arawa, Ngata’s legacy is a substantial and rich array of elaborately carved meeting houses which are dispersed throughout the Te Arawa region. These houses stand today as a tribute not only to Ngata, but also, to those Te Arawa people of Ngata’s era who brought the dream to fruition. Our old people, my grandparents and great grand parents included, provided the feathers that gave flight to the wings ferrying the dream and, just as was envisioned by Ngata, the meeting house has become ‘the most powerful symbol of Māoritanga’ (Mead, H. 1997, p. 162).

For those Māori communities whose marae complex incorporates a carved meeting house, their house is a source of tribal prestige and pride. These communities ‘are envied for having such an important amenity and for being able to control, maintain and defend the symbols of their cultural identity’. Individuals belonging to that house benefit ‘by the reflected glory of the structure itself and by the gallery of ancestors it contains’ (Mead, H.1997, p. 162). The marae and meeting house affords individual whānau-hapū and Iwi members a sense of participation in the social history of the tribe (Mead, 1997). A magnificently carved house containing a centre post (poutokomanawa) carved by my grandfather Te Ngaru Ranapia (who carved the first/original Te Takinga meeting house), Te Takinga is the principle meeting house of Ngati Te Takinga. Te Ngaru was a prolific and well known carver. His many works are found both locally within the Te Arawa region and nationally, for example, in the Māori Affairs Committee Room in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings. Te Ngaru completed this work in 1919.

Summarising the special qualities, philosophical significance and portable nature of marae, Ngāmaru Raerino (2006) posits the following reflection:

[When you ask “where is your marae?”] it’s like saying “where is Hawaiiki?”. The marae can be in your mind or in your heart. It was originally a group of stones that imbued into the marae all the sacred things. I can set those stones in a certain place and in a certain way and then I start to draw from karakia to sanctify – that marae. A marae can be anywhere – we can sanctify the area and we become the living pou or pillars of that marae. Ko koe to poupou o Ngati Pikiao ….. i tērā marae. The portability of the marae is when we erect it in our minds and in our hearts. These four things are the cornerstones ….. but right in the middle what connects the whole lot is the rituals – the karakia and the pure – the incantations and spells – One is verbal, the incantations and the spells and the other the pure is the actual things that you do for example the use of water and the placing of stones, the ‘pure’ consecrates your karakia (N. Raerino, pers. comm., 2006).

Whether a sanctified area of land, a modern marae complex, or a place in the heart and mind of an individual, the maintenance of the rituals that imbue the marae with its sacred qualities, and the extent to which marae continue to draw together and unify Māori communities, are jeopardised by ongoing urbanisation and detribalisation. The resultant breakdown in the traditional hapū (marae) apprenticeship system may, in turn, lead to the demise of marae as the central socio cultural and political entity of hapū-Iwi.

‘Mā wai ra e taurima te marae i waho nei ...?’

Who the will care for our marae and our traditions?

Now that our young people are scattered throughout the cities of New Zealand and Australia, it is difficult both to receive the benefits of identity with a house and to give it one’s labour, time and financial support. By not being associated with the marae, young people are being alienated. They are not learning their traditions, their songs and their customs (Mead, H. 1997, p. 164).

The ability of many hapū and Iwi Māori to maintain the modern marae complex as ‘the quintessential citadel of the Māori ethos’ (N. Raerino, pers. comm., 2006) is hard.

Ongoing urbanisation and the subsequent diasporic nature of Māori people has lead to a breakdown in traditional collective socio-cultural values, beliefs and structures. In the face of an increasingly neo liberal, individualistic and competitive market driven environment (economy) with its conflicting value base (Emery, 1998; Bargh, 2007;

Sykes, 2007) many marae are struggling to survive. Both a cause and an effect of this situation, changes to systems of marae management and breakdowns in the traditional apprenticeships process, are bi-products of colonisation, urbanisation, integration,

assimilation and the resultant detribalisation of many Māori people; including people who are of Ngati Te Takinga descent. Although failing, the marae apprenticeship system (which is inextricably linked with hapū and marae governance and management) remains unchanged. Instigating change requires a review of both systems. To initiate such a process, the next section looks firstly at the Te Takinga marae operational (management) structure and secondly, at the apprenticeship system as uncovered by way of my Masters Dissertation ‘the way home is not yet clear’. An evaluation of the two systems occurs in the final chapter.

Te whakahaeretanga o Te Takinga marae Managing the marae

Marae are very often considered to be the centre of Māori culture. They are part of the wider whānaungatanga relationships that exist and an extremely important part. For many generations of being under cultural siege, marae have been important bastions and havens for Māori ….. marae are still one of the most important tangata whenua gathering places (Smith,C. 2007, p. 102).

Te Takinga marae is situated on what is now Māori reservation land (Mourea Papakainga 3D). Usurped by Te Takinga from the Tuhourangi people, over time this block

(amoungst other Mourea lands) were succeeded to and became the residing place of Kiore, son of Te Takinga, whose principal wife was Hineora (Stafford, 1967). Mourea Papakainga acquired reservation status following the New Zealand Government Māori land consolidation scheme. Implemented by Apirana Ngata in the 1929 – 30’s, the land consolidation scheme divided communally owned Māori land into blocks and then assigned them into the ownership of different hapū. Right through occupation decided who got which pieces of land (generally) (Newton, 1988; White, 1994; L. Tamati, pers.

comm., 2005). The Mourea and Okawa Bay areas were allotted to Ngati Te Takinga who was residing there at the time. Subsequently, these areas were divided into papakainga (or settlements) for different Ngati Te Takinga families. Mourea Papakainga 3D was

‘reserved as an area to be held in common for all the families’ (Newton, S. 1988, p. 15).

The descendants of Te Takinga (being the whare tūpuna or meeting house) and Hineora (being the whare kai or dining room) are the established mana whenua of Mourea. The Mourea lands, the waterways and the marae are representative of the physical entities and the symbolic ‘spaces’ (McIntosh, 2004) that comprise identity markers and a

tūrangawaewae for Ngati Te Takinga peoples. Walker’s (1990) description of marae generally as being the ‘beachheads from which Māori launched their cultural revival in the twentieth’ century, is true of Te Takinga.

The establishment of Te Takinga marae and meeting house was accomplished through the collaborative efforts of all the hapū. Ngati Te Takinga women, my grandmother Wahanga included, were central to this development. By way of the Hineora Women’s committee, the women of the hapū were actively involved in decision making around the operations of the marae. In collaboration with the men, the women assisted to establish, build, manage and run the everyday business of the pā. Remembering how the women’s efforts contributed towards the growth of the marae as the lifeblood (the hub) of the Mourea community, research participant Ngāhuia Walker (2005) said “the ladies, there was Kara and Wahanga, Hera Rodgers, Tepora Pokiha – the four of them [they] were running the Heath League at the marae in the old dining room and they helped us with everything” (N. Walker, pers. comm., 2005).

Other participants who grew up in Mourea also spoke about the integral role that the women had in maintaining the pā as the centre for all social, cultural and political hapū interactions. For a myriad of reasons, the types of hapū collaborations and relationships that once sustained the marae in the times of my grandmother, have diminished. The Hineora women’s committee no longer operates and today, the marae is managed by a group of marae trustees who are predominantly men. As well, opportunities to participate in the life of the marae outside of tangihanga and birthdays, or through

attendance at a meeting, are few. The work of the marae committee focuses primarily on the practical aspects of maintaining the marae as a physical entity. Individual whānau who use the marae are responsible for its day-to-day operations (during hui). It is at such

hui that apprenticeships can be served. Whakapapa presupposes engagement in a person’s apprenticeship.

Nō wai te marae, mō wai te marae?

Belonging, inclusion, membership and the traditional apprenticeship

Genealogy (whakapapa) is a permanent connection that a person has to their hapū–Iwi and marae. On its own however, whakapapa does not necessarily afford a person rights of membership to a hapū-Iwi-marae to which they may whakapapa (Emery, 2001;

Temara, 2005). Membership rights are acquired through the fulfillment of certain obligations. As stipulated earlier, for the purposes of my dissertation, I termed the fulfillment of these obligations as the hapū-Iwi-marae ‘inclusion process’. The process is premised on five key concepts being: participation, apprenticeship, responsibility, obligation and reciprocity (Emery, 2001). Inherent in these five concepts is the notion of

‘Iwi service’ or, acts of service to one’s Iwi which are entered into in a spirit of goodwill.

In effect the forms of engagement required, constitute a traditional model of

apprenticeship towards full Iwi membership. Engagement in this process, however, can be problematic given the non-outwardly discernible nature of its existence. There are no pamphlets, no ‘quick guide to belonging to your marae’ handed out at the marae gate!

Similarly, nobody tells you that you are ‘doing your apprenticeship’ you just come to know.

An intangible convention, the traditional apprenticeship model has a number of key components. The components are:

™ Whakapapa or genealogical connections to the hapū-Iwi

™ The strength of the relationships one fosters with one’s kinfolk

™ The level of knowledge, skills and areas of expertise displayed by an individual which, if significant, can preclude the requirement to serve, for example, in the marae kitchen

™ The contributions that are made to the collective hapū-Iwi and the spirit in which these contributions are made.

Finally, a person’s attitudes and their behaviour are an integral element of the traditional Iwi inclusion - apprenticeship and membership process. One must work their way diligently, and with humility, through the marae ranks. From toilet cleaning and kitchen duties to cultural roles in the marae meeting house and/or leadership in matters

concerning hapū-Iwi management and governance.

In traditional times a person worked their way from the kitchen to the wharenui

(Rangihau, 1992). Today, given the loss of Māori language amoungst second and third generation Māori, the transition from the wharekai to the wharenui is problematic. The absence of proficiency in language and cultural knowledge effectively annuls a person’s prospects of ascending to a role in the wharenui in their later years. This situation will (and does) impact on the function of the marae as the current centre for Ngati Te Takinga-Māori cultural continuance.

The traditional Iwi membership-apprenticeship process is in an inevitable period of flux.

Three factors impact this change. Firstly, ongoing urbanisation and the continued depletion of people who provide the voluntary services required to operate the marae.

Temara (2005) refers to these people as ‘the hands, the heart and the feet’ of the marae.

Secondly, the ever-dwindling numbers of culturally proficient elders and the resultant bereft paepae kōrero (orator’s bench) and thirdly, the negative impacts of adhering to tradition namely, primogeniture based systems. In Te Arawa speaking rights are passed from father to oldest son. The loss of Māori language amoungst many of the men

however, has detrimentally impacted this protocol. Denying speaking rights to those who are proficient in te reo Māori because their father or older brother (who may not be proficient in te reo) is still living, does little to address the issues of cultural continuity currently being faced by Māori. The problem is not new. In the 1970’s the same sorts of concerns, while relating specifically to knowledge transfer as opposed to the loss of Māori language, were expressed by John Rangihau:

To pass on knowledge the main thing we have had to overcome is the conservative nature of Māori elders [….] with my own tribe, Tūhoe […..] for a long time now our elders tended to hold back from telling all they knew about our history [but] you have to look at the old people’s reasons for not passing things on to young people too soon, and the reasons for not allowing them to speak on the marae in front of their fathers [….] we believe that every time you give of yourself you are starting to lose some of the aura, some of the life force, which you have for yourself. In the case of my son, if he starts to get up then he’s drawing something from me and eventually I will be left an empty hull. This is the real reason behind not allowing the young men to speak before the father dies. Because it is possible that he will take some of the mauri which rightly belongs to the father (Rangihau, J., cited in King, M. 1992, p. 11).

The subsequent ‘void’ created when all the ultra ‘conservative’ elders died within three years of each other, required Te Rangihau’s people to rethink their practices around succession and the passing down of traditional knowledge:

Within a period of something like three years, the elders who would have been the most difficult ones all passed away. It was obvious to the elders left behind that not one of them could say he was an expert on Tūhoe things. So they quickly realised they had to come together and pool their expertise so they could cover all aspects of Māoriness. Once they realised that, it was a short step to get them to understand that if they didn’t do anything about passing all the material on, then the children could be left in the same position they had been, by people dying off quickly. When they accepted that, they were very receptive to the idea of setting up schools of learning for Tūhoe children (Rangihau, J., cited in King, M. 1992, p. 12).

Although told some thirty years ago, Te Rangihau’s story is an illustration of the compromise and adaptations to tikanga that were made by one Iwi in order to ensure cultural continuity. Other incidences where contravention of tikanga has occurred exist.

Within my own whānau (family) my father, who is the teina or younger sibling to a brother, has had the speaking rights of his (older) brother passed to him on the basis of his competency as an orator. Over-riding the primogeniture system of succession, the precedent for such action is set within Māori mythology by the cultural hero

Māui-tikitiki-ā-taranga. Being the last born of five brothers Māui, who was aborted at birth and cast away to the oceans in his mother Taranga’s top knot, was of lowly status. Against all the odds, Māui survives to become a cultural icon responsible for many great feats beneficial to the survival of people. Summing up Māui Potiki’s accomplishment Walker (1992) states:

Māui is the epitome of the idealised character in Māori society. He is the model for all men [sic]

and more particularly for teina, junior children. Provided they had the traits so admired by