Te Hono ki Raukawa
By Alan Tristram
Writing a report that spans 200 years of Ngāti Raukawa history was an emotional journey for iwi historian Piripi Walker, of Ngāti Kikopiri.
He says at first it was an honour, then a challenge, then a privilege — and finally writing the report proved enjoyable.
Piripi has just completed a Waitangi Tribunal report titled The Social and Political Institutions of Ngāti Raukawa 1820-2010.
Waitangi claims research
The report is part of the Waitangi Tribunal claims research currently being carried out by Te Hono ki Raukawa — representing Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kauwhata and Te Reureu from Manawatū, Horowhenua and Kāpiti regions.
Piripi felt it was an honour to be asked by his kaumātua to do the job and has always felt “one should say yes to requests from one’s own iwi, to undertake tasks they might require.”
A report spanning 200 years, with a requirement to research, plan and write a draft in the same calendar year, was a challenge. However, when Piripi saw the areas of exploration it opened up for him he realised the task was a privilege. Added to this he got to spend time exploring Ngāti Raukawa history alongside iwi experts.”
Finishing the report was a rewarding experience and when he presented the draft at the Te Hono ki Raukawa Kaumātua Christmas function, at Ngātokowaru Marae, he says it was a very memorable, enjoyable occasion and deeply satisfying.
Ngāti Raukawa progress
The report describes how Ngāti Raukawa developed organisations, activities and in the case of religion made adjustments to try and maintain their tino rangatiratanga.
These institutions include the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club, the Ōtaki & Porirua Trusts Board and Te Wānanga o Raukawa.
Chapter 7 is on the Raukawa District Maori Council and the Māori Council system and was written by Sir Taihakurei Edward Durie who is the current national chairperson.
‘Accommodation’ was one-sided
During the 200 years Piripi says the accommodation Māori made was one-sided.
“In terms of Ngāti Raukawa, who initially trusted the missionaries and early governors, there was a massive shock when their land was ripped suddenly and brutally from their grip after 1859. Those decades lie at the crux of the claims. Raukawa suffered in the 19th century, but still maintained its resolve to survive as hapū and as distinctively Māori people.”
Carrying out the research, gathering the information and oral history was a highlight for Piripi.
“I have appreciated the gifts from many quarters – over the years of our sound recordings of kaumātua, and in the recent oral history report, which gave us extensive memories, in people’s own voices, of our own history.
“This proved invaluable in writing this report, and for me personally it was very satisfying to find work we have done recording decades ago turning up wonderful material for a report like this, and for the process of historical hearings the iwi is entering.
‘Love and aroha’
Piripi felt love and aroha doing this work because of the many people who have passed on, for his friends no longer here and for times past.
“I also feel, as I am sure all working on the claims do, that they are helping to repair the damage of the past and build the basis for a solid future for our mokopuna.”
In this respect he thinks despite the disaster of colonisation and loss of the birthright of the iwi, Raukawa managed to organise and modernise these modern institutions and maintain their marae, throughout the changing worlds of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Piripi was a natural choice for this report and has an extensive knowledge on many of the activities he writes about at both a local and national level.
He held the position of Director of Language Studies at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and was both the secretary and treasurer of Ngā Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo (the Wellington Maori Language Board). He is currently the vice-chair beside the present chair, Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru.
The report makes a crucial contribution, as the third chapter of Te Hono’s Oral and Traditional History Report.
This comprises a report on the origins and establishment of Ngāti Raukawa te Au ki te Tonga written by Dr Arini Loader and Rewa Morgan; 25 reports written by hapū recording their experience in the last 200 years and a closing statement by Professor Whatarangi Winiata and Ani Mikaere on the exercise of tino rangatiratanga by Ngāti Raukawa. The final report will be available later in the year.
Ngāti Raukawa Institutions and Ecosystem
Themes identified for inclusion in the report are:
- The adoption of Christianity by Māori ahead of the arrival of missionaries to the area;
- The role of the Christian Missionary Society and missionaries, their influence and involvement within Manawatū, Horowhenua and Kāpiti;
- The presence of Te Rauparaha, Te Whatanui and other rangatira on the land. The relocation of Ngāti Rangatahi. The building of Rangiātea Church.
- The establishment of the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club, the Ōtaki & Porirua Trusts Board, the Ōtaki Māori Boys’ College and the Ōtaki Hospital.
- Rebuilding of marae, the establishment of the Raukawa Marae Trustees, the establishment of Raukawa Marae in 1936 as a marae for all the hapū and iwi of the Confederation of Te Ātiawa, Raukawa and Toarangatira.
- The Ngāti Raukawa contribution to the First and Second World Wars, retention of land during these wars, the establishment of the Māori Battalion Memorial Hall in Palmerston North, the contribution to sustaining whānau during times of conflict and peace.
- Urbanisation, the loss of papakainga, the diaspora, housing schemes, housing loans and pepper-potting
- The establishment and history of Te Rūnanga o Raukawa Inc.
- The establishment of the Raukawa mandated iwi organisation, the Ngāti Raukawa ki Te Tonga Trust.
- Te Reo o Raukawa. The language, acquisition, maintenance and revival strategy, mātauranga Māori, radio spectrum, Te Reo Irirangi o Te Ūpoko o te Ika radio, Reo FM/Raukawa Radio.
- Whakatupuranga Rua Mano and the establishment of Te Wānanga o Raukawa.