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Nga reo o te kainga: voices from home

Te mana whenua ki Rotorua: Hilda Inia

I am Ngati Whakaue me Ngati Te Takinga. I tipu ake i Ohinemutu; but, ko aku tamariki, they were actually brought up there at Mourea. Piri pono tonu rātou ki a Ngati Te Takinga - Ngati Pikiao; he kaha kē tō rātou mōhio ki a Ngati Pikiao;

that is one thing I am very pleased of (H. Inia, pers. comm., 2005).

Te Kuri, the Inia whānau marae – wharenui, is located in the Ngati Whakaue district of Rotorua, on an area of land known as the Waikuta block. Bordered to the west by Mount Ngongotahā and to the east by Te Rotorua Nui a Kahumatamomoe; Lake Rotorua, Waikuta - Te Kuri is home to Hilda Inia; kuia – kaumātua of Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Te Takinga. For Aunty Hilda, Te Kuri is imbued with the memories of her grandmother Te Wharetoroa Graham who raised her and also, with the memories of her late husband Paki Inia. The couple had lived at Te Kuri for the ‘the best part’ of their fifty five year marriage and so, Te Kuri was Aunty Hilda’s home. Te Kuri was also the place chosen by Aunty Hilda to be interviewed for the Ngati Te Takinga stories project. The interview took place in the winter of 2005.

Aunty Hilda’s earlier life was spent between her birth place Ohinemutu, her kuia’s home at Waikuta and the whānau home at Mourea; where she lived for a time after her

marriage to Paki. Her story weaves a path across and through all of these places; linking the places to the people, connecting the past to the present and the stories to the people (L. Smith, 1999). The story is written as it was told by Aunty Hilda. Within this storying process, she becomes a conduit for the wisdom traditions of the old people; conveying their old Māori world ways, of being and knowing. Rather than linear, the story weaves backward and forward through time, which is measured by significant events more so than in years. There are two parts to the story. When read closely, part one of Aunty Hilda’s narrative illustrates how land, people, experiences and relationships influence her personal construction of home, belongingness and Māori (hapū-Iwi) identity. Part one draws attention to the complexities of having dual and multi Iwi affiliations and portrays

the tensions that can arise when exercising rights, and meeting obligations, across

multiple Iwi. Part two is a repository of cultural knowledge that represents Aunty Hilda’s contribution towards the maintenance of Māori’cultural continuity and consciousness’

(Hireme, H. pers. comm., 2005). By way of story, part two recounts some of Aunty Hilda’s teachings around tikanga Māori. The journey of Aunty Hilda’s life begins at Mourea – Ngati Te Takinga where she lived in earlier times, with her husband Paki.

Part One: A Beginning

Aunty Hilda and Paki Inia were married in 1948. The couple lived at the Mourea papakainga (family reservation land) with Moehuarahi, Paki’s mother. Seven of the couple’s nine children were born at Mourea, spending the early and formative years of their lives there. In 1957, the family shifted to the Ngati Whakaue district of Rotorua where they remain today. Along with their strong whakapapa connections to Ngati Whakaue, the Inia whānau’s long term of residence in the Whakaue district has not dampened their affiliation to Ngati Te Takinga – Ngati Pikiao. The second generation members of the whānau affiliate most strongly with Te Takinga marae and it is here that they feel most ‘at home’ (A. Inia, pers. comm., 2005).

The Inia whānau left Mourea twice in the early years, taking up residence at Aunty Hilda’s papakainga ‘Te Kuri’ on Ngongotaha Road. Explaining the connection to Ngati Whakaue and to Te Kuri Aunty Hilda said: “ko tērā te taha ki taku mama, taku koroua”

[that is the place to which I am affiliated through my mother and my grandfather]. The whānau made one return to Mourea, but moved to Te Kuri on a permanent basis when Paki’s mother Moehuarahi came back from Hamilton to live in the whānau home.

Explaining the decision to leave Mourea Aunty Hilda said:

We went back to Mourea when the old homestead became available and Paki put a toilet in and everything; ka hoki māua. But Moehuarahi was staying in Hamilton a, ka hoki mai ia ki tana whare [and she came back to her house]. I said to Paki, “oh well, that’s it, ka haere tāua”. I said,

“we come back for your sake, I went for our kids sake, kia whiwhi kainga anō tāua ana, kua karanga mai koe me hoki mai tāua ki konei, ka hoki mai ahau. Ana, kua pirangi tō mama. Kaare ahau e hoki mai anō . Kaore anō au ka hoki mai a muri atu”. [So that we could have a home.

You asked that I accompany you and return to Mourea and I came; your mama now wants the house. I will not come back to live again. This will be the last time that I leave]

We were down at Mourea for about nine years I suppose before we came here. We would have been there still, but kaore whakaae te whenua [we were unable to secure land there]. Kaore rātou i whakaae kia tapahingia; na Stan [Newton] rāua ko Te Moehuarahi, they didn’t agree to it because he uri anō tō mātou. Stan was a nephew to Moehuarahi [Moehuarahi and Stan’s father had the same father but different mothers]. Memea kei tū tō māua whare ki Mourea [if we had have been able to build our whare at Mourea], we would never have left, but this [Te Kuri] is home now and I won’t give it up.

So, ka haere ake māua and my Uncle George Makai felt sorry for us and said “kei te pai” and gave us this piece of land at Fairy Springs and that is how we came to be living here.

Although living in Ngati Whakaue, Aunty Hilda and Paki maintained a regular presence amoung Ngati Te Takinga – Ngati Pikiao. One means of maintaining their links in the early years after their departure, was through tennis. In Aunty Hilda words, “i ngā rā horoi ngā wiki, pūrei tēnehi tana mahi, ka haere māua” [on Saturdays – on the weekends, Paki would play tennis and we would go together]. Like other kuia and koroua

interviewed for this project, Aunty Hilda had fond memories of the tennis days and the strong sense of community engendered by way of the local club days and inter-tribal tennis competitions which brought people together. The demise of the tennis club and the loss of ‘the old people’ present during those times, contributed in Aunty Hilda’s view about the changed nature of the Mourea community. Her views were congruent with the views of other stories project participants. For example, Merepaea Henry (2005)

identified the passing of the old people and “te wairua tino kaha kei runga i a rātou” [the special sense of wairua that was present in all aspects of their lives] as contributing towards a weakened sense of community and community spirit. Mourea’s now

dilapidated tennis courts and the dearth of old people in attendance at the marae during present day gatherings, reflect the differences in ‘the Mourea of yesterday and the Mourea of today’ (H. Inia, pers. comm., 2005) as identified by Aunty Hilda and Merepaea, these kuia have born witness to the impacts of urbanisation.

Urbanisation and its impacts

From the rural hearth to the urban milieu

The loss of people through urbanisation has contributed towards the changed nature of the Mourea community. Also present during the interview, Aunty Hilda’s daughter Audrey suggested that the 1950’s and 60’s generation of children whose parents moved

away from Mourea were not only physically disconnected from their homelands and their kin but also, culturally disconnected through their disassociation with their marae. In the case of her own family Audrey maintained: “[we] didn’t really have contact with the marae in those days because dad very rarely took us down. On the rare occasions that we did go down, it was only to tangi of those who were very very close [whānau]”. The reasons her father’s decision not to take the children to marae were articulated by Audrey in the following way:

My father was a very practical man in everything he did. He did not feel that the marae was a place for us as we were too young. Also, the fact that there were nine of us and him and mum were both in the wharenui they wouldn’t have time to look after us. When we were old enough they took us to the marae but we were put straight into the wharekai to work.

Non contact with a marae (cultural practices), urbanisation and the subsequent cultural disconnectedness experienced by Māori people such as the Inia whānau, had wider implications for Māori cultural continuity. The ability of ‘urban Māori’ to maintain cultural obligations within the competitive and individualistic environment of the western industrial city (Metge, 1964) was seriously compromised. In contrast to what was the collectivist nature of Māori communities such as Mourea pre 1960, the new and foreign town environment not only eroded the whānau as the central tenet of the community but as well, seriously threatened the continuity in transmission of Māori family histories (Ihimaera, 1998). The ensuing breakdown in Māori social structures effectively disbanded communities like Mourea where previously, generations of elders many of whom were still actively engaged raising mokopuna (Henry, 2005; Mason, 2005; Tamati, 2005; Waiomio, 2005) were the axis upon which the community turned.

Aunty Hilda was unable to clearly define the differences between the ‘old’ Mourea she remembered and the new and changed Mourea of today. When queried she responded by saying:

I can’t name it [the difference] but we had a good life; kua matemate katoa ngā mea pakeke [the old ones are all gone]. When I went down there, there were all those old koroua [and kuia]

around. Pōtoua and them and Ted Walker and Kara and Ngakeehi and old Te Whai.

Likewise, in response to the same query my mother, a past Mourea resident who was present during Aunty Hilda’s interview said:

Mourea is not like Mourea used to be. It was rich in culture and rich in people; we had nothing, but we had everything. It’s not the same; at that time, there were so many [kuia and koroua] of that generation. Everybody’s gone. People have moved away. (W. Emery, pers. comm., 2005)

The Ngati Te Takinga-Ngati Pikiao elders of yesteryear were the cornerstones of a once vibrant, living Mourea community. Coupled with the ‘urban drift’ (Metge, 1964; Walker, 1990) of the 1950’s and 60’s, their passing has contributed towards cultural

discontinuance and the current bereft state of marae paepae. While change is inevitable and while also, those who lived at Mourea in years passed may not know the experiences of those who live there now (who may experience a Mourea life that is ‘rich in culture and rich in people’?) for Aunty Hilda the old people – the ahi kaa - were fundamental to her sense of home, community, place and belonging.

Te whakakaa i te ahi

Keeping the home fires burning

Maintenance of the Inia whānau ties with Ngati Te Takinga-Ngati Pikiao, were also kept strong through Paki’s role as a principal speaker at Te Takinga marae. A skilled and competent orator, regretfully Paki’s learning had not come from his father ‘old Inia’ who was a reluctant speaker that “always had to be pushed” (H. Inia, 2005). Qualifying her statement Aunty Hilda continued:

He [Inia] was with the Morehu’s with Tu and them. And yet the old devil, kaore ia e whaikōrero.

He would wait; kia hoki rawa mai rātou …. All those men worked at the state mill. Old Rongo Rogers and Pōtaua and Heru you know, cause it was the wartime. And they [the younger set]

went away [to World War Two]. A, ka noho ngā koroua ki te mahi nā mihini [and the old men stayed and worked the machines] and Inia would wait for Heru and them to come home; the bus would bring them back and drop them off at the tangi and they would go in the whare nui and wait for old Inia to whaikōrero huh, he wouldn’t whaikōrero. Engari whakangahau, oh! Peke peke katoa ana waewae, with Tū and them [but when it came to entertain! jumping around all over the place] Paki used to get real wild with him.

Aunty Hilda did not know the reason for ‘old Inia’s’ reluctance to whaikōrero. Her view on the practice of the passing of speaking rights from father to son, or from an older brother to a younger brother however, is explicitly portrayed in the following discussion with the Project Kaumātua Tione Emery:

Tione Emery: I am from Maniapoto-Tainui but it is just as well I came to Te Arawa, it is here that I have learnt how to whaikōrero. I have always had this thing in my head that because I have an older brother [Charlie] my standing to whaikōrero would never be. Even today if Charlie is here [in Te Arawa] I can’t stand; I don’t want to get up.

Aunty Hilda: Well, he’s got to openly give that to you; the right to stand.

Tione Emery: When I go home [Te Kopua marae, Te Awamutu] sometimes my brother is sitting on the paepae. He won’t stand to talk; as soon as I get there, he will walk out.

Aunty Hilda: Giving you the opening aye. Well, that’s good when it’s like that.

It is given to you openly.

When asked whether or not ‘old Inia’s’ reluctance to whaikōrero on the marae was a means by which to pass his mantle to Paki, Aunty Hilda responded by saying: “it was just the way he was”.

Paki’s paepae role at Te Takinga and at other Ngati Pikiao marae, was the primary means by which the (absent) Inia whānau connections to Ngati Te Takinga were affirmed and maintained. These connections remain intact today. They are kept strong by Audrey, Paki and Hilda’s eldest daughter, who is the primary ‘kanohi kitea’ for Te whānau Inia at Te Takinga marae – Ngati Pikiao. Classifying Mourea as her home, Audrey explained her strong feelings of connectedness to Ngati Te Takinga – Ngati Pikiao stating:

My strongest connection is to Ngati Pikiao. Very rarely do I go down to Ngati Whakaue and it is mostly to tangihanga. With Ngati Te Takinga, I am proud to stand and sing waiata at their side.

Walking onto Te Takinga Marae, even if you haven’t been there for ages, you walk in and you know you are home. I will never forget when my tuakana died in Christchurch. When my brother Monty and I arrived at the Rotorua Airport with our sister, I walked through the doors and all I saw was this sea of black. There were about 30 Ngati Pikiao Elders who had come to meet us.

All I could do was stand and cry as I knew our sister was home and our people had come to tautoko us. When I think about it now, I feel nothing but pride. I feel more comfortable at Ngati Pikiao – it will always be home.

The same sorts of home feelings were also expressed by other ‘away-dwelling’ research participants who were born and/or raised in Mourea. Now based in Australia, Claude Mihaka (pers. comm., 2005) referred to Mourea as his ‘heart home’ while others were hopeful that they might return there in the future (B, Waiomio, 2005; N. Walker, 2005;

T. Williams, 2005; M. Tipiwai, 2006, pers. comms.).

Although a disruption to their physical connection to Ngati Te Takinga, the Inia’s move to Waikuta (Ngati Whakaue) was not culturally alienating. Living in close proximity to

‘Te Kuri’ the whānau’s new life was culturally enriched. A place of great significance, the story of Te Kuri including the renewal of the whare (house) follows.

Te Kuri

Te Kuri is a meeting house located on Ngongotaha Road, Rotorua. In prior times Te Kuri was home to Aunty Hilda’s mother and grandmother. Recounting her vivid memories of the whare and its prior occupants Aunty Hilda said:

Koinei tō mātou kainga. My kuia, Te Wharetoroa Graham had the whare nui nei – karekau he papa, karekau he rama but, ko tana kainga, mō ngā Ringatū. Ënei wāhi, he mahi riwai, he mahi kumara. [This is our home. The house – Te Kuri - belonged to my kuia, Te Wharetoroa Graham who brought me up. It had no floor or power; but her home was always open to the Ringatū people. All of these places [referring to the land around the wharenui] were places where potatoes and kumara were planted to feed the people].

Te Kuri was a gathering place for followers of the Ringatū church/religion. Founded by Te Kooti Rikirangi in response to the negative impact of British colonisation on Māori, the stronghold of the Ringatū Church was Wainui; a large area of land located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and occupied by Te Kooti and his supporters. Following Te Kooti’s death in 1893, the land was vested in trustees and held in trust for the Ringatū Church (Greenwood, 1942). As a devout Ringatū, Te Wharetoroa had expressed a desire to be (and was) buried at Wainui upon her death; after which Te Kuri became home to Rangihuia Marsh, Aunty Hilda’s mother. The renewal of Te Kuri began soon after Rangihuia’s passing. Recalling the conversations that occurred between Te Wharetoroa, Paki and herself around all of these events, Aunty Hilda said:

She [my kuia] was a Ringatū. Karanga ia a Paki, me whakahoki ia ki Wainui and so ka meatia

“ae”, ka mahue iho tana whare, ka karangtia ahau ki a Paki, “whakatikangia te whare”. [My kuia was Ringatū. Before her death she had asked Paki to take her back to Wainui when she died, and Paki agreed. When she died my mother Rangihuia moved into her whare and it was after she [Rangihuia] died that Paki rebuilt Te Kuri].

Te whakahoutanga The renewal of Te Kuri

Planning for the renewal of Te Kuri, Paki sought the counsel of several tōhunga

(specialists) from the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Because of the special Ringatū of the house, Paki wanted to ensure that correct protocols were followed. Describing these events Aunty Hilda recounted:

Kua tikina ia ngā tōhunga of Whakatane, o Opotiki, o Ruatoki; haere mai, kua karanga mai. Well there’s three things you can do for a place that’s like this. You can either burn it, me tahu, me tanu, me neke rānei, you know, ana, kei a koutou. [You can bury it or move it; it is up to you people]. Ka haere ake a Paki ki ana hoa Pākehā, kātahi ka karingia he rua ana, ka nehungia te whare nei, ana, kei raro i tenei. [So Paki went to his Pākehā friends and they came with their machine and dug a hole and buried the whare beneath this one [referring to the house in which the interview was taking place]. Paki put up the new place, took him three months.

Recalling the busy nature of the whare in the time of her kuia, Aunty Hilda said:

Kii tonu a Te Kuri. Our place was always full, people coming to Rotorua the hospital, kua karanga atu taku kuia, haeremai ki tana whare [my kuia would always be inviting people to come and stay in her whare].

Te Kuri was always open to visitors and Te Wharetoroa’s teachings in relation to manaaki tangata (caring for guests) were well remembered by Aunty Hilda. On one occasion when a group of Ringatū people from Ruatoki arrived at Te Kuri, Aunty Hilda was asked by her kuia to bring hot water for them to drink. Remarking that there were no biscuits to go with the water, Aunty Hilda’s comments were sternly rebuked by Te Wharetoroa. The kuia’s response that the absence of food was nothing to be ashamed of, is something Aunty Hilda has always remembered:

Kaua rawa koe e noho. Ko te waiwera, koina te mea, mea koe te waiwera ka tae mai te ope ki te kainga, mehemea karekau o kai, meatia te waiwera, koina te kai. Na te mea karekau o keke, karekau o pihikete kua kore koe e homai kaputi mā rātou. Karanga mai! Kei te kōhu te tikera anei te ti, tō kaputi (H. Inia, pers. comm., 2005) [don’t just sit there. Hot water that is enough. Bring the hot water. If visitors arrive at your home and you have no food, bring hot water that is their

sustenance. Just because you have no cakes or biscuits, does not mean you don’t give your guests a cup of tea. Call them, let them know the jug has boiled, and tell them “here is your tea”].

Te Wharetoroa’s words are an insightful reminder of the fundamental values and beliefs that underpin tikanga Māori. Portrayed by this particular narrative is the essence of manaakitanga. In explanation and in accord with Aunty Hilda’s kuia’s teachings, it is the act of providing for visitors that is paramount and not necessarily the quantity, quality or variety of what is given that is important. Whakahuihui Vercoe (2000) agrees. Speaking about his own humble upbringing in Torere on the East Coast Vercoe states:

I grew up in a poor society with no money and no work. Everybody was unemployed. But people worked to sustain themselves, to grow their own food and to buy only the bare necessities of life.

People were careful with each other and cared for one another. The old people never talked about costs. They talked about hospitality and put their effort into making sure their visitors were cared for (Vercoe, W. 2000, p. 164).

A significant event in the lives of the Inia whānau, the rebuilding of Te Kuri has enabled them to continue the tradition of manaaki tangata as practiced by their kuia Te

Wharetoroa Graham. The marae is used regularly for various hui and, on the weekend prior to the interview, Te Kuri had played host to a whānau unveiling. Maintaining a family marae however, has not been easy. Aside from the ongoing maintenance of the physical environment, one area of contention for Paki during his lifetime was his non affiliation to Ngati Whakaue. Aunty Hilda explained this situation thus:

The whenua is all Ngati Whakaue. Because of Paki’s affiliation to Ngati Pikiao, at times it has caused a few problems through both hapū laying claim to the marae. It ended up with any hui or tangihanga held at Te Kuri, whichever hapū arrived first sat on the paepae with the other at the end. One thing with Ngati Pikiao was if there was a tangi, ka mōhio ana hoki a Ngati Pikiao, he tangi and they’ll come up and they all come here and they sit. So Paki makes them sit on the paepae. But oh well. You know, it’s just something that happens sometimes [through intertribal marriage].

When asked if the responsibility of maintaining Te Kuri impacted on the whānau’s ability to fulfill their hapū obligations at Te Takinga marae, Aunty Hilda said “no”. Te Takinga was Paki’s principle marae and because the Inia children were very close to their father, Aunty Hilda was adamant that Ngati Te Takinga was “in their blood”. She stipulated that should the whānau ever be needed to support the marae, “they would be there”.

When Paki died on 21 August 2001, he lay briefly with his whānau at Te Kuri marae before being taken to Te Takinga. He is buried at Pukepoto on the slopes of maunga Ngongotahā, next to his daughter Te Rauawhea. He chose this site because it is close to the whānau homestead at Waikuta, and also where Aunty Hilda will eventually lie.

Tamaiti akona ki te kainga The child who is taught at home

For the Inia whānau, the Waikuta homestead was an environment that was well suited to the teaching and learning of tikanga Māori. The intergenerational knowledge transfer that occurred as a result of the interactions between the children, their kuia and the on site marae Te Kuri, are articulated by Audrey in the following statement:

The parents moved away [from Mourea] and then when our generation came along, we didn’t really have that contact with the marae [Te Takinga]. Also, in those days, you were seen and not heard. Dad wouldn’t allow us to go to the marae until we were old enough to work in the kitchen.

Even then it was only when the tūpāpaku was very closely related to us. We were lucky as we still had it at home [tikanga Māori ] because of our kuia and her little whare [Te Kuri] so we were still taught tikanga and kawa even though we didn’t go onto the marae. This helped us when we went down to Te Takinga marae as we knew what was expected of us.

Going to local marae was also a rare occurrence for Aunty Hilda prior to her marriage to Paki. Recollecting the visits she did make she said:

I rarely went to the pā. I never had kai at the marae until I met Paki and we were down at Mourea.

My kuia didn’t believe in that. She was blind and I would take her to the tangi, to the pā at Ohinemutu; she would have five shillings for her kohi and we’d go in …. She couldn’t care less if the king was doing his whaikōrero, she would just go in. But we would not go for a kai. That was the only time I went, not often.

When asked as to the reasons why Te Wharetoroa wouldn’t eat at the marae Aunty Hilda said:

She believed you didn’t go to the marae to eat, you went to pay respect to whoever had died and that was it. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to have kai on the marae, but she felt the kai was for nga ope (groups of visitors) who had come from afar. In those days, people traveled a long way for tangihanga. She would say her kettle would be boiling when she got home and she could have a kai then.

In addition, it is likely that food was scarce during the times of Te Wharetoroa. Her actions, therefore, were in keeping with her beliefs around manaaki manuhiri (caring for