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5 Paenga-whāwhā (April) 2009

" He kura tangata e kore e rokohanga He kura whenua ka rokohanga"
People will pass by but the whenua will remain forever
Explanation by Mauria Ngatoko no Ngāti Ranginui

The above whakatāuki is pertinent to the theme running through this week's Te Ahi Kaa programme; that of permanence and the interconnectedness of people with their surrounding environment.

It is difficult to date the stylised drawings of figures and animals that are in limestone caves and along cliff faces scattered throughout Aotearoa, as no written or oral records exist prior to the mid-1850s. Since then, theories have abounded as to the origins of the rock art artists, but they have been inconclusive. One of the more well-known sites, popularised by the 20 cent stamp in the 1970s, is located at Ōpihi, South Canterbury, and features drawings of taniwha. Administered by the Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust, Amanda Symon, curator of the trust, and Alan Talbot, chairman of the Board of the South Canterbury Historic Places Trust take Maraea Rakuraku on a tour of the cave.

In conversation with Justine Murray, Ngāi Tahu singer-songwriter Ariana Tikao acknowledges the influence on her musical career of musicians Ngahiwi Apanui and the late Mahingarangi Tocker (1955-2008). It was on the basis of her 2008 album Tuia, that Apanui invited Tikao to perform at the Māori Music Summit Paopaopao in October. While many components of Tuia are in te Reo Māori, Tikao talks about the equal importance her taha Pākeha ancestry of English and Italian plays in her creativity.

It was the 2000 Fiji coup that saw Fijian Indian Suria Parak uproot his whānau and move to Ngaruawāhia eight years ago. His rapport with the Māori community has enabled him to operate three successful shops in the township that, during peak times such as the annual Koroneihana, the annual coronation of the Māori king, has tourist numbers, and therefore sales, up. Suria takes Justine Murray on a tour of the shops during the weekly Saturday morning market.

Ngaruawahia businessman Suria Parak

Ngaruawāhia businessman Suria Parak who owns three stores in the small township on the outskirts of Hamilton.

While Cherokee were being marched forcibly from their traditional Mississippi homelands across to present day Oklahoma (covering a distance of 19,000 kilometres) in 1838 and 1839, in what is remembered as the Trail of Tears, New Zealand was just a few years away from signing what is known as its founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi. Though Māori would not face the hardship encountered by their indigenous counterparts in the United States of America, they would nevertheless be subjected to the similarly toned imperial agenda, as Sue Eddington can attest too. Eddington is the descendent of people removed from their traditional hill-based homelands to the flats of Waimate three generations ago. She relays to Maraea Rakuraku the story her taua (grandmather) told her, of the reasonings behind the relocation forced upon her people, that turned out to be based on a lie.

Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ's) provide the right to fish in perpetuity as Matiu Rata (1934-1997) explains to the Māori arm of the Council of Trade Unions in a recording from the 1990s, when fishing rights were at the forefront of the Māori political scene.

The New Zealand Geographic Board recommended on the 31st March that the letter 'H' is returned to the spelling of Wanganui and the decision has had its detractors. In an interview from late 2008, Ken Mair reflects on the significance reinstating the rightful spelling holds for his Whanganui iwi.

Waiata featured include:

Whanganui from the album Meet the Māori Tour Company album (1992) performed by Kahurangi.

Tuia from the album Tuia (2007) performed by Ariana Tikao.