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Archive for the ‘Mauri Ora’ Category

Have you seen our new $1.20 stamps?  They have lovely designs showing the story of Te Ika-a-Maui (Maui and the Fish).   The top one in my photo depicts an impending storm.  Maui stowed away on his brother’s waka, aware that a storm was looming and it would bring him greatness.

The second picture shows the launch of the waka when the weather was calm and the winds looked favourable for a quick trip to their favourite fishing grounds.  There are a further four stamps which give the rest of the story of how Maui fished up the North Island, but these were not available when I bought my stamps this morning.  The stamps were designed by David Hakaria of Te Whanganui-a-tara (Wellington).

It’s sad that the recent increase in postage for a standard letter will probably mean people send even fewer of these.  The post I send these days is limited mainly to cards for special occasions.  Now there’s no more fast post you can’t even pay to have something arrive quickly.  The fact that post is delivered only on three days a week means that I post cards a week early to ensure they arrive in time for a birthday.

Email and Facebook are wonderful, but they have smothered our older forms of communication.

“These pretty stamps will only be
used for special delivery.”

 

 

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The walking tour along the Otakaro was a feature of this year’s WORD festival.  Offered on three days, it quickly sold out, and I was glad to have secured a place.  Joseph Hullen (Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu) led us first to the riverbank in Victoria Square, opposite the law courts, where there is a significant group of Ti Kouka/Cabbage trees.

Ti Kouka (Small)

Ti Kouka trees, of the same family as leeks and onions, provided food, shelter, clothing, and footwear for early Maori.  This area was the largest mahinga kai/food gathering area in Otautahi, and from here food was transported to the settlement at Kaiapoi.  There were a number of Pa nearby, which served as way stations for travellers, and where people could keep an eye on their food source.  From the 1780s local Maori interacted and traded with sealers and whalers, but in 1850 the Pa sites disappeared with the Kemp Purchase.  The first organised commerce between Kai Tahu and Pakeha settlers happened at the Market Square (now Victoria Square).  Maori built houses on the corner where the Oxford Tavern later stood, and brought goods in from Kaiapoi to sell to the settlers.

There were urupa/graveyards all through the city, because Maori like to bury their dead where they can keep an eye on them.  When the St Luke’s Vicarage was built a skeleton was found which is considered to be that of Tautahi for whom Otautahi was named.  Since the earthquakes, wherever there are excavations they will be overseen by an archaeologist, and by a member of the runanga if it’s an area where there may have been an urupa.

Because of the food gathering tradition of the Otakaro/Avon River, Kai Tahu are keen to have their cultural values commemorated.  Patterns laid out in stone, such as this one at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, help to tell the stories.

Maori Design MMP (Small)

The patterns are set in a metal frame so that if the area needs to be dug up in future the pattern can ramain intact.

Some of Joseph’s story was heard in an interview with Kim Hill on Saturday morning.  His part comes after the bit with Sam Crofskey of C1 Espresso.

After the walk I went to a session on Ngai Tahu Story Telling with Ta Tipene O’Regan.  He talked about an oral map, and how when cultures move they take the memories with them and plant them in a new place.  Place names are the memory posts, the signposts of the land.  He told the story of Poutini, and how Port Levy got its Maori name Koukourarata.   Ta Tipene said that myth is the only reality.

“An afternoon of Maori lore
has left me wanting to hear more.”

 

 

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Cabbage Trees (Small)A significant ti kouka (cabbage tree) on the banks of the Ōtākaro/Avon within the Englefield Lodge estate was used as a fishing marker by local Māori in the 19th century.  The tree was removed in 1922 then formally replaced in 1994. The replacement can be seen on Avonside Drive, just east of Fitzgerald Avenue.  The adjoining plaque reads “He tohu whakamaumahara o matau tipuna”, which can be translated as “Remember the ancestors”.

This memorial commemorates the Kāi Tahu allocation of fishing sites in the area. The swamplands that were so highly prized by Māori were not regarded favourably by European colonists who diverted waters from the traditional māhinga kai to make way for cultivation and urban development.

“The Pakeha moved swamp to drains
and very little now remains.”

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The Otakaro/Avon River was once an abundant source of food.  This artwork by Rewi Couch is situated beside North Hagley Park.

Hinaki (Eel trap)

Hinaki (Eel trap)

It shows a Hinaki (eel trap) and is a conceptual representation of traditional gathering of fresh water foods.  Eel/tuna would once have been caught at this spot.  These days fishing is forbidden in the Botanic Gardnes, but presumably allowed here.  I wonder if anyone goes eeling beside the Park?

“Restoring river’s under way.
Will there be fishing here some day?”

 

 

 

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The 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi gives me cause to ponder the personal meaning of the Treaty for me.

On a national level this is the document that gives me, as a Pakeha, the legal right to live in and be a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand.  I am Takata Tiriti.

On a local level I have been privileged and my life has been enriched by my relationship with Te Runaka ki Otautahi o Kai Tahu.   Members of Te Runaka are open, generous, and loving.  Time spent with them is educational, spiritual, and fun.  I have learned so much, and there is so much more to learn.

I’m intrigued that over the nine years I’ve been writing this blog the most searched-for topic is Mihimihi.  I’ve published mine three times, and it’s had over 6,000 views.  Obviously many people would like to be able to introduce themselves in a Maori way.

My connection with Te Runaka is enhanced by the fact that my home is situated in an area which was also home to Tautahi, for whom Otautahi (Christchurch) is named.  My cottage is close to Te Wai Pure, a stream which feeds the Avon/Otakaro River and which is sacred water used by Maori for ritual ablutions.

Posting this blog is my commemoration of Te Tiriti.  How will you mark this significant day?

“A waiata could end this post.
Today Te Reo’s uppermost.”

 

 

 

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On Waitangi Day it’s good to consider what actions each of us takes towards honouring Te Tiriti.  Learning to pronounce Maori words correctly, and being able to introduce oneself in Maori is a small step we can take.  For several years the most visited posts on this blog have been when I’ve talked about my Mihimihi, in 2006 (2,963 views) and 2008 (955 views).

So, for Waitangi day I’m posting it again, in the hope that others may like to use it as a template for their own mihi.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

Te whare e tu nei          the house that stands here

Papatuanuku e takoto nei Mother earth lying here

Tena korua, tena korua Greetings to you both

E nga mate, haere, haere, haere the dead, thrice farewelled

Ratou te hunga mate ki a ratou

Tatou te hunga ora ki a tatou  to us the living

Tena koutou

E nga mana whenua, tena koutou  greetings to the local people

E Taua ma, e Poua ma, to the female elders, and the male elders

Rau rangitira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

Tena koe X greeting anyone special

Ko Maungakiekie te maunga Maungakiekie is my mountain

Ko Manukau te moana  Manukau Harbour is my tidal water

Ko Ngati Pakeha te iwi

Ko Gardner ratou ko Rout, ko Leslie, ko Nicholls nga whanau

I wehe oku tupuna I Ingarangi  My ancestors came from England

Ko Phyllis Leslie toku whaea, Ko George Gardner toku matua
Phyllis is my mother, George is my father.

Ko Stephen Symons toku hoa rangatira  Stephen  is my husband

Ko Cathryn raua ko Louise aku Tamahine Cathryn and Louise are my daughters.

Ko Ruth ahau  My name is Ruth

No Volunteering Canterbury ahau I work for Volunteering Canterbury

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

“I introduce myself to you
and want to learn about you, too.”

 

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Mihimihi

The item that brings the most searchers to my blog is the mihimihi which I published in June 2006 and again in March 2008.  In case that’s what you’re looking for, here’s my latest version.  You’re welcome to copy and adapt.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa greetings to all
Te whare e tu nei          the house that stands here
Papatuanuku e takoto nei Mother earth lying here
Tena korua, tena korua Greetings to you both
E nga mate, haere, haere, haere the dead, thrice farewelled
Ratou te hunga mate ki a ratou  the deceased
Tatou te hunga ora ki a tatou  to us the living
Tena koutou greetings

E nga mana whenua, tena koutou  greetings to the local people
E Taua ma, e Poua ma, to the female elders, and the male elders
Rau rangitira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa greetings to seniors
Tena koe X greeting anyone special

Ko Maungakiekie te maunga Maungakiekie is my mountain
Ko Manukau te moana  Manukau Harbour is my tidal water
Ko Ngati Pakeha te iwi my tribe is Pakeha
Ko Gardner ratou ko Rout, ko Leslie, ko Nicholls nga whanau my families are Gardner, Rout, Leslie & Nicholls
I wehe oku tupuna I Ingarangi  My ancestors came from England
Ko Phyllis Leslie toku whaea, Ko George Gardner toku matua Phyllis is my mother, George is my father.
Ko Stephen toku hoa rangatira  Stephen  is my husband
Ko Cathryn raua ko Louise aku Tamahine  Cathryn and Louise are my daughters.
Ko Ruth ahau  My name is Ruth
No Volunteering Canterbury ahau. I work for Volunteering Canterbury
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.  Greetings to all

I’ve been pleased to be able to use this on suitable occasions.  I keep a copy in my diary just in case my memory fails.  Do you have occasions where you would like to be able to introduce yourself in Te Reo?

“If you need to formally speak
this mihi may be what you seek.”

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Is it possible to set boundaries between work and personal life?  That’s a question that’s interested me for some time.

During the recent earthquake VolCan, the charity I manage, was operated from my home, by telephone and Facebook.  This was entirely my choice, and it was for one week in a civil emergency.  What if unforeseen circumstances meant it had to continue indefinitely?

In fact I run a small celebrancy business from my home, but again this is my choice and I can set limits.  For ten years I was a Justice of the Peace with people phoning and knocking on the door at all hours of the day and night.  Because I’m centrally located I got an average of four or five calls every day.  The constant interruptions meant I had to physically leave home to get a break, and after ten years I chose to ‘retire’.  (I was also disillusioned by the lack of support from the J.P.s’ association for any discussion of setting limits, self care, or the needs of volunteers.)

I’m aware that new technology means that many workers are obliged to be on call 24 hours a day as this story from SocialMediaNZ shows:

My place: Businesses and the relationships we form are increasingly global now and the report notes that the workplace will become more virtual with “meetings occurring across time zones and organizations and with participants who barely know each other, working on swarms attacking rapidly emerging problems.” My place is an interesting concept where many employees won’t have a company provided desk or physical office and work will happen 24/7 and the “lines between personal, professional, social and family matters, along with organization subjects, will disappear.”

So far I’ve managed to restrict my cellphone use to emergency only, but lately other calls/texts are creeping in.  Currently I use my camera more often than my cellphone.  How long will that last, I wonder?

When I meet with Maori, even though I’m representing VolCan, my whakapapa and whanau are seen to be there with me.  Te ao Maori does not distinguish between personal and professional.

I’m lucky to have paid work I’m passionate about.  As with others who work in the voluntary/charity sector part of my reward is the love factor, and I’m more than willing to promote my organisation in social situations, and do odd tasks in my ‘own’ time.  The difficulty of setting limits between personal and professional is a subject that often sparks discussion among not-for-profit managers.  I write the monthly VolCan newsletter,  am planning an article along these lines, and would love to have more discussion about it.  What do you think?

“Can we keep bounds ‘twixt work and play?
Is this impossible today?”

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When Papatuanuku (The Earth Mother) was turned over to hide her face from Ranginui (The Sky Father) the youngest brother was still at her breast.  As Papatuanuku lay facing the underworld Ruaumoko (The God of Earthquakes and Volcanoes) cried out in a rage as he was cold beneath her.

The brothers gave him fire to stay warm beneath the earth.  Ruaumoko was still angry and he wriggled and thrashed about underground causing the Earth Mother to shake and so began the Earthquakes.  He sent up flames of fire to pierce the earth and so began the eruptions, geysers, and the like.

Ruaumoko remains beneath his mother Papatuanuku and still wriggles about causing the earth to tremble and the mountains to spit forth their fire.

So Harken the Rumble of the EarthQuake God.

(this has been forwarded to me and I am unable to acknowledge the original source)

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Merimeri and my Mihi

I was born near to the Manukau Harbour, and our family lived within sight of that harbour while our daughters were growing up, so when I give my mihi I use that as the body of water I most closely relate to, saying ‘Ko Manukau te Moana’.  This morning I was reading a story about Merimeri Penfold, who is regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest translators.  In her mihi she says “Ko Parengarenga te moana” and translates that as “Parengarenga is my tidal water”.  I love this translation of moana, which seems to me to have so much more richness than lake or sea, the translations given in my Reed Dictionary of Modern Maori.  From now on I shall think of the Manukau as my tidal water, linking me with spiritual cycles as well as the physical place.

“I love the deep meanings I learn
new ways, te reo, to discern.”

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