Ngā Whatukura, Ngā Māreikura
Our Tattooed Angels
Me Te Whakatōhea Hīkoi Ōpōtiki Ki Poneke
The Tattooed Angels are our Tipuna
Day one: Thursday 17 August 2017, 5am
Rā tuatahi: Rāpare 17 o Hereturikōkā, 5 i te ata
We are gathered at the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board for Mihi, roll call, and karakia
Kua whakaminea mai mātou ki te Poari o Te Whakatōhea ki te mihi, ki te karanga ingoa me te karakia
6 i te ata
The engine room mechanics have completed all the programme checks for the day
Kua oti i ngā kai aka mīhini ngā pūnaha te hihira i tēnei rā
Baggage stowed, paper bag lunches and water in hand, we board the buses including eight who are 80 years old and rising.
Kua takoto ngā pāhi, tina pēke pepa me te wai kei aku ringa, i ekea ngā pahi e mātou ko ngā pākeke kei te takiwā o te 80 tau neke atu
They drifted up those buses in style
Ka konene rātou i ngā pahi me te rearea hoki
Everyone is on a singular mission, for the morrow we had an assignation with the Crown
Kotahi noa iho te aronga, kei tua o te pō he hui tā mātou ko te Karauna
Aboard with us are our tattooed angels
Kua ekea hoki e ngā māreikura me ngā whatukura
The day it flies, interspersed with waiata, humour, comfort stops, and whānau to pick up along the way
Ka rere ko te rā, he paku waiata, katakata, tūnga, me ngā whanaunga i tiki i te taha rohi
Crossing the Waiouru Desert we are regaled with the legends of the battles between the giants ‘Nga Maunga, Mountains’
Ka whakawhiti atu ngā onepū o Waiouru, ka rongo i ngā kōrero pakanga o ngā toa nui ‘ngā maunga’
Battles between them over a Maiden Maunga
Pakanga i waenga i a rātou, ko te maunga wahine te tak.
The legend echoes around our ears
Ka oro noa mai te kōrero mō te toa i ngā taringa
They stand today, where the battle stopped
E tū noa rātou, i te otinga o te pakanga
Sentinels of the Desert
Toa o te koraha
The wind brushes the desert grasses
Ka pūhia ngā otaota e ngā hau
They shimmer and wave in their vibrant colours atop the terrain
Ka korito ka pōhiri i o rātou tai kaha i runga i te whenua
A fitting Korowai for Papatūānuku
Kātika he korowai mō Papatūānuku
It is time for bed making
Kua tae te wā ki te whakatika moenga
With showers to refresh us in readiness for dinner
Me ngā uhiuhi wai hei whakatika i te tinana mō te kai ā te pō
The beds they stretched from north to south
Ngā moe ga i toro i te Raki ki te Tonga
From east to west, including the stage space with barely a pathway left to negotiate to the ablution facilities
I te rāwhiti ki te uru, me te wāhi ātāmira he pakupaku noa iho te ara ki ngā whare horoi
The evening’s hākari over, lovely it was
Kua pai ngā kai o te hākari, reka katoa.
Time for settling down to rest
Kia tau te wairua me te hinengaro
It’s been a massive day
Kua roa hoki tēnei rā
For young and old alike
Mō ngā rangatahi me ngā pākeke
That is, except for the planning group
Atu i te tōpu whakarautaki
Checking, checking, and checking again
Ka hihira, hihira, hihira an.
For the next day’s proceedings must run smoothly
Nā te mea me rere pai ngā whakahaere āpōpō
The big day
He rā nui
The day of our assignation with the Crown
Te rā hui tahi me te karauna
Whanaungatanga rolls around the room
Ka huri ngā mahi whakawhanaungatanga
Some quiet Waiata
He paku waiata
A softly thrumming guitar
He paku rakuraku
Snatches of the day’s events
Kapohia i ngā whakaritenga o te rā
Mixed with laughter, chuckles, snorts
Me ngā kata, pukukata, whengu
And a little cry from our baby
He paku tangi i tō mātou pēpē
Te ata hāpara
Ahhhh!! It is quiet
Ā, kua ngū
Just a symphony of sounds rippling around
He kapa oro noa e huri ana
Nothing too distracting or disturbing
Kāre he mea e kaha kaha ana
You know, the usual
Mōhio koe, he rite tonu
Whoa, night’s entertainment is over
Hika, kua mutu ngā whakakitenga o te pō
It is quiet
Sleep might steal upon me now, No!!
Tēnā pea ka whai mai taku moe
Knock, knock, knock upon the wall
Patōtō, pātōtō i te pātū
Dudu signals for the pre-dawn karakia to begin
Ka tohua e Dudu kia timata ngā karakia moata
Welcome the dawn
Nau mai te ata
Welcome the day
Nau mai te rā
Api joins in unison
Ka hāpai ake a Api
A duo chanting the chant
He tokorua e karakia ana
Rongopai, he pai
And so, to breakfast
Nā, ki te parakuihi
Humour an additional dish
He kata hei kīnaki i te kai
Te Reo lessons too
He whakaako re anō hoki
The day’s timetable is announced
Ka pānuihia ngā whakahaere o te rā
To balance the day
Kia tau te rā
Following breakfast and before departure
Ka whai te parakuihi i mua i te wehenga
There are kaumātua photographs
Ka tango pikitia ngā kaumātua
Pre-Settlement Trust photographs
Ka tango pikitia te komiti
Hitori Komiti Whiriwhiri photographs
Ngā whakaahua o te komiti hītōria
Hapu Katoa photographs
Whakaahua o ngā hapū katoa
Cameras are upon us
Whakamau mai ngā kāmera
Flashing, manoeuvring, recording, archiving
Hikohiko, whakatikatika, hopu rīpene, penapena
Handbags, coats, and jackets
Pāhi, koti me ngā kaka
Are checking in by ushers,
Ka tirohia e ngā kaitiaki
To be uplifted on exit.
Kia whakahokia atu i te wehenga
The atmosphere is electric
Ka hiko nei te rā
The people move to their positions
Ka neke te tangata ki tōna wāhi tika
We have several kaikaranga to represent us. We wait.
He huhua tonu ngā kaikaranga ki te whakakanohi i a mātou
The doors open
Ka tūwhera ngā kūaha
Kaikaranga call to us to enter
Ka karanga noa mai ngā kaikaranga
Our kaikaranga respond.
Ka whakahoki atu ō mātou kaikaranga
The atmosphere lifts, higher, higher,
Ka hiki te wairua, ki taumata anō
And as is their custom in that part of the Māori world.
Kātika hoki ki ngā tikanga o tērā pito o te ao Māori
As at Pipitea
Pēnā i Pipita
The men preceded the women
Ka haere ngā tāne i mua i ngā wāhine
Our contingent of 220 plus fill the banquet room.
Tō mātou ope 220 neke atu ka whakakī i te whare
Echoes and flashes of past banquets in celebration of successful Raupatu of our people by the Crown
Play upon my mind
Mahara noa ngā hākari o muri ki te whakanui i ngā whakataunga o ngā raupatui te karauna ka mahara noa te hinengaro
I am not thinking clearly.
Kei te rehurehu aku whakaaro
Sequences of the formal processes
Ngā whakahaere ōkawa nei te tikanga
Become out of time to me
Ka taupatupatu ki a ahau
The strong presence of the ancestors
Kua tata mai gā tīpuna
Are strong inside the room.
He kaha o rātou wairua i te whare
Their presence has a purpose also
Ka whai take rātou ki konei
In tune with ours of times long ago
E haere ngātahi me ō mātou o tuawhakarere
I cry in my mind.
Ka tangi noa te hinengaro
I dislike the term banquet room.
Kāre e pai ki ahau te kupu whare hākari
Graeme Riesterer now stands for us as Chairperson of the Pre-Settlement Claims Trust looking stately.
Ka tū mai a Graeme Riesterer koia hei hiamana o te komiti me te rearea hoki.
Upon his shoulders, a Korowai Muka
He korowai muka kei ōnā pakihiwi
Woven by Ruka Hudson.
nā Ruka Hudson i whatu
Our ex Vietnam Veteran.
He hoia nō ngā pakanga o Witināma
A well thought through and considered korero that echoed the plight of our people
He whakaaro hōhonu he whakaaro whāroaroa e kōrero nei e oro nei i te tangata
The people wept
Ka tangi te tangata
The Crown stood in respectful silence
Ka tū ngū noa te karauna
Our tattooed angels a tangible presence
Ngā whatukura me ngā māreikura, anō nei he kikokiko
A korowai of strength and comfort
He korowai kaha, manaaki
There was not a doubt in the minds of our people that signing the Agreement in Principle
Kāre he paku amu kei te tihi o te hinengaro ka haina te whakaaetanga mātāpono
With good faith and will
Me te ngākau pono
Would carry us through
Māna ka kawea mātou
Into the future with confidence.
Ki tua o te ata
Minister Finlayson’s team has prepared per request three books for the signatures,
Kua whakaritea e ngā kaimahi o Minita Finlayson i ngā puka e toru hei hainatanga
To allow all to present to enter their names and the names of their hapū
E taea ai te katoa ki te haina i tō ratou ingoa mō o rātou hapū
And sign they did, children included.
Ka haina marika, me ngā tamariki hoki.
Our kai waiata never broke off their singing
Kāre i whati ngā kaiwaiata
Even as few by few they would take their place in the queue for signing.
Ahakoa he iti i te iti ka tāpiri mai hoki rātou i te rārangi haina.
I don’t know how long the process took.
Kāre au i te mōhio i pēhea te roa.
They had become of no consequence
Kāre he whakahokinga mai
So, the people they had signed
Nā, kua haina te iwi
And the people they had wept
Nā, kua tangi te iwi
And the people they had prayed
Nā, kua karakia te iwi
And the people they had sung
Nā, kua waiata te iwi
As our tattooed angels stood to witness and support the kaupapa
Ko ngā whatukura me ngā māreikura hei kaitautoko i te kaupapa
Day Two – Evening
Rā tuarua – Te ahiahi
Minister Chris Finlayson and his team are in attendance
Haere mai a Minita Chris Finlayson me ana kaimahi
Also, our Deputy Mayor Lyn Riesterer and her team.
Taea noatia ki te Mea tuarua i a Lyn Riesterer me ana kaimahi
The evening’s facilitator Bruce Pukepuke assisted by Danny Paruru
Ko te kai whakahaere o te pō ko Bruce Pukepuke nā Danny Paruru i tautoko
Karakia o nga kai
Ngā kōrero ōkawa
Selected speakers are invited to stand
Ngā kaikōrero e tika ana i pōhiritia mai
There is no open forum
Kāre e wātea ai te papa
Later that same evening
Nō muri rawa mai
The youngsters explored
I tipi haere ngā rangatahi
They tippled at the Backbencher’s bar
Te tippled me te Backbencher’s Pāpara kāuta
They checked out the trends
Ka haere ki te nohi
Ki te whakahoahoa, ki te whakawhanaungatanga
Returning to Pipitea
Ka hoki mai ki Pipitea
Before the coach turned into a proverbial pumpkin
Ki mua i te huringa o te koneke ki te paukena
Bless their hearts
Whakawhetaitia o rātou ngākau
Most of us were happy to stay home
Te nui ō mātou i koa ki te noho mai
Yak! Yak! Yak!
Ketekete ana, ketekete ana
Much wiser the second time around
Kua mau he mātauranga i te huringa tuarua
Marcia and I commandeered two fat sofas, leather too.
Ka nōhia ngā hōpā e rua nei e māua ko Marcia, he kiri kau anō hoki.
Others in the kaumātua room with us has double decker mattresses
wērā atu i te rūma kaumātua e rua ngā mātarihi
Outside our bedroom door, a sentry in the guise of Louis
I waho noa i tō mātou tatau, he hēteri i te tinana o Louis
A blissful night
He pō āiō
Slept like Baby Moses in his reed cradle.
Te moe a te pēpē Mohi i tana moenga raupō
North of Poneke
Te raki o Poneke
The seas are calm and beautiful
He marino ngā wai o te moana
A sense of joy and achievement comes over us
He wairua koa, wairua whakatutuki i tau mai
All the way home.
Tae noa ki te kāinga
Tohe would appear in different forms
He huhua tonu ngā tinatina o Tohe
Like a nod of,
Pēnā i te moe,
‘Hey! You did okay’
‘ē! Ka pai kē koe’
Between stops we break for a Tātou picnic
I weanga i ngā whakatūtanga ka tū ki te kai
Back aboard stories are shared on the buses
Hoki atu ki te pahi kei te hurihuri ngā kōrero
The children too, encapsulate their thoughts on the previous days.
Ngā tamariki anō hoki, ka whakatōpu whakaaro i te rā o muri
As the mic wandered up and down the aisle,
I a te pika e rere ana i te muri ki mua o te pahi
Going from one to another
E rere ana i tēnā ki te tēnā o mātou
Thoughts revealed in easy comfort
Noho pai ai ngā whakaaro
As they share their spiritual experience
I a rātou e kōrero ana mō te rongo o te wiarua
At long last we have reached the Whakatōhea Rohe.
Ka roa hoki engari kua kitea te rohe o Te Whakatōhea
Danny points out a couple of reserves
Ka tohua e Danny ētahi rāhui
Including and adjacent to Matekorepu
Tae noa ki te whenua kei tua o Matekerepu
That will be returned to us.
Ka whakahokia mai ki a mātou
No karakia on the buses as time is growing late
Kāre he karakia i runga i ngā paki kua tō te rā
Our drivers will need to return to Tauranga
Me hoki ngā taraiwa ki tauranga rā anō
The karakia covering their last leg of the journey also,
Ka toro te karakia ki a rāua e hoki ana
As they would not have us to keep them awake and amused.
I te mea kāre he tangata hei whakangahau i a rāua
Yay, we are home.
Īē, kua hoki mai ki te kāinga
Ka heke mātou
Scramble in the dark for our luggage
Haere kāpō noa atu ki te tiki i ngā tūeke
Bid the drivers farewell and wish them well
Ka poroporoākī i ngā taraiwa
Climb into our waiting vehicles
Ka eke i o mātou waka
We are off to our homes
Kua hoki ki ō mātou kāinga
Thank you, our tattooed angels, for a faultless Hīkoi.
E mihi ana, kei ngā māreikura, kei ngā whatukura, kua hoki pai mai i te hīkoi.
The past three days have been all about
My tribute to the journey.
My thoughts with those who wanted to go but couldn’t,
My thoughts with those who effused to want to.
Amene, Amene, Amene.
Muriel Ngahiwi Smith Kelly
Thanks to Kate Adams for the photography and Paora Brosnan for the translation