As Te Rā the sun rose toward Kāpiti Island, a group of 50 Parihaka leaders and those with connections to Taranaki gathered at the weekend to bless Kāpiti’s new Performing Arts Centre with a name steeped in history — Te Raukura ki Kāpiti.
At 5:15am, on Saturday a crowd of 300 gathered and Karakia Tomo Whare was carried out at the new $12 million dollar venue off Raumati Road, which was built by Kāpiti College in a project with significant community funding.
Meaning feather, Te Raukura is an important symbol of peaceful coexistence to the tribes who affiliate to the Taranaki rohe, including Waikanae’s Te Ati Awa whose whakapapa sought refuge there among many other iwi who had been oppressed and marginalised by the Crown.
As a plume of white feathers, Te Raukura represents spiritual, physical, and communal harmony and unity despite hardship, said Kāpiti College teacher in charge of Te Reo Māori, Paora Trim.
“It is a symbol of faith, hope, and compassion for all of mankind – a sentiment fitting of what the kura sees as a community asset,
“Parihaka holds a heavy place in our history books but the values and lessons that arose from the time of Te Raukura are a source of great inspiration,” he said.
“The opening and gift of such a taonga is a great honour to the kura and an acknowledgement of our long association with Parihaka and Taranaki.”
So struck by the kōrero of Parihaka, the kura recently put in place a Parihaka-based curriculum and set of values within the school, he said.
“That sense of community and peace that was fostered at Parihaka all those years ago feels very at home in our school,” said Principal Tony Kane, “and it rings true for the centre.
“We strongly believe in the harmony of this place, the community built it together and it belongs to us all.”
The building will be opened to the public by Arts Minister Grant Robertson in an open Day on Saturday, 22 February.
Parihaka Takes the Stage
As part of Te Raukura ki Kāpiti opening season, Parihaka, a moving Kāpiti College production written by Trim and colleague Nicola Easthope will be staged in the centre’s Coastlands Theatre on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th of March.
The emotionally charged, historical drama will be a box office event with tickets available at: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2020/parihaka/paraparaumu Images from this morning’s Karakia can be Downloaded here.
Photo Credit Karl Webber.
Origins of Te Raukura
There are various accounts of how Te Raukura became such a significant symbol to the people of Taranaki.
One such account refers to a gathering of people at Parihaka who witnessed an Albatross landing on one of its courtyards, dropping a single feather before departing.
This feather became the Raukura, and was honoured by Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti-o-Rongomai, two of the prophetic leaders of Parihaka, and its community.
Connection to Parihaka
Under the early leadership of Rāwiri Gibson, a teacher with an understanding of the legacy of Parihaka, the historical association between Kāpiti College and Parihaka has been made clear, including the connection famous Kāpiti Islander and early Minister of the Crown Wi Parata had to Parihaka and the prominence of Taranaki rangatira such as Ake Taiaki and Tom Aperi.
Te Ati Awa ki Waikanae has an ongoing presence in the college activities especially with Whakarongotai and the college marae, Kia Āio te Noho, which was opened by a large Taranaki rōpū including Te Rū Wharehoka, Whero Bailey, Tohepakanga Ngātai, and Huirangi Waikerepuru.