19 Sep 2011

Kuia says knowledge key to saving cemetery

6:31 am on 19 September 2011

A kuia who lives at Whakarewarewa Village in Rotorua says ancestral knowledge of geothermal activity has saved the local urupa (burial site) from damage.

Rotorua District Council has been working to reduce geothermal sink holes or ngawha in the village that have caused some families to leave.

Resident Christina Gardiner says the people of Tuhourangi and Ngati Wahiao have lived at Whakarewarewa for more than two centuries.

Despite the geothermal activity, she says the graves at the village remain intact because the ancestors had a great understanding of their surroundings

She says tipuna or ancestors also used the power of karakia or prayer, which she thinks still protects the urupa today.