First meetings korero

Commemorations for the 250th anniversary of first onshore contact between Maori and Europeans will be very different from the Anglocentric bicentenary almost half a century ago of Lieutenant James Cook’s “discovery” of New Zealand.
A first meetings korero last Sunday showed just how varied perceptions of the sestercentennial are. Mark Peters reports.

Commemorations for the 250th anniversary of first onshore contact between Maori and Europeans will be very different from the Anglocentric bicentenary almost half a century ago of Lieutenant James Cook’s “discovery” of New Zealand.
A first meetings korero last Sunday showed just how varied perceptions of the sestercentennial are. Mark Peters reports.

Artwork by Charlie Faulks of Gisborne Intermediate, 2015.
TITIRANGI TRANSFORMATION: The “crook Cook” statue on Kaiti Hill would be replaced by a sculptural feature by October 2019, Nick Tupara told an audience of about 120 at the Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club last Sunday. “This sculptural feature speaks to the diary entries of the Endeavour crew who heard in the night voices coming from the shore and from Kaiti Hill.”
Norman Maclean
Pene Walsh
Paraone Luiten-Apirana
Nona Aston
Jeremy Muir.
Teina Moetara
Rachel Scott
Robyn Rauna
Caren Fox

IT WAS emotional, it was lucid, it was sometimes confrontational, and sometimes off-topic, but the “First Meetings Korero” presentations at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club last Sunday were nothing if not engaging.

As part of the lead-up to the 2019 commemorations of the 1769 contact between tangata whenua, European explorers, scientists and artists, and the Tahitian navigator/mediator Tupaia, the Historic Places Tairawhiti Inc event took as its topic, “What October 2019 means to me”.

Artist and gallery owner Nick Tupara opened the talks with a poetic evocation of the fecundity of the earth and Papatuanuku’s bounty, and of whale migration in mythopoeic terms.

He acknowledged the fatal shooting of eight men including Te Maro, who he played in the documentary Tupaia’s Endeavour, and Te Rakau — both of them his ancestors.

Addressing 2019, he said kowhai seeds collected by the Endeavour crew in 1769 produced plants in England, and seeds from them will be sent to Turanganui next year to be planted on Kaiti Hill “in time for a 2019 October flowering”.

By October 2019, the “crook Cook” statue on Kaiti Hill would be replaced by a sculptural feature, he said.

“This sculptural feature speaks to the diary entries of the Endeavour crew who heard in the night voices coming from the shore and from Kaiti Hill.”

Ngati Oneone ancestors who gathered to fathom what had happened, and what might happen, with Endeavour’s arrival would form the centre of the work.

“Atop this, a manutukutuku, a traditional kite form, hovers against the skyline to symbolise the sharing of each other’s heritage.”

To redress the imbalance in the number of public library reference listings between James Cook and people such as Rakai-a-Tane and Hine Whakaangiangi, a Ngati Oneone-Turanganui-Cook period heritage publication would be launched in 2019.

In the same year, Poverty Bay would officially be called Turanganui, he said.

Gisborne artist and classics teacher Norman Maclean said despite sharing the same air, the same breath two-and-a-half centuries ago, as now, both Maori and European prejudged each other.

With communication, this had gradually been overcome over the past 247 years. Literacy and education played a big part in overcoming pre-judgement, he said.

While he lamented the ugly aspects of colonisation, it was more about superior technology and had little to do with ethnicity.

“Advanced technology has always meant colonisation will occur. This is why there is not a single place on this planet that has not been colonised, often many times over.”

Our chief concern should be cultural colonisation, he said, in reference to contemporary “gangsta” culture that pervades music, fashion and argot.

“Why should we want to resemble the trash culture of Harlem and Los Angeles?”

This cultural colonisation was so dominant that every sports team in the country felt obliged to acknowledge the US in photos by assuming stances and hand signs that emulated American rap stars, he said.

“I want to look ahead with optimism, desiring communication above anything else — so breathing the same air does not necessarily require the hongi but it is what makes us, as a nation, harmoniously connected.”

HB Williams Memorial Library head librarian Pene Walsh said the sculpture Hawaiki Turanga, planned for the site of the former Heinz-Wattie works, would provide representational balance on the Rongowhakaata side of the river.

Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp’s vision for a “floating classroom”, a waka hourua (twin-hulled voyaging waka) planned for this region, also had to come to fruition by 2019, she said.

Year 13 Gisborne Boys’ High School student Paraone Luiten-Apirana said what happens in 2019 was not significant.

“The significance lies with what happened 250 years earlier. That relationship emulates the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in the years that came.”

Although New Zealand was not a bilingual Utopia, cultural acceptance now was higher than ever before, he said. In the past 50 years Maori culture had not only resurrected itself but continued to grow stronger. October 2019 signified a relationship that started badly, continued horribly but was getting better, he said.

Former deputy mayor Nona Aston said by 2019 people would know each other.

“Of course there will be differences but if we learn about each other we can go ahead without ignorance. We must tell the world who we are, where we are. Let’s grow up to be colour blind and let’s love each other to death.”

Can we ensure a big deal is made nationally of the 250th anniversary of the conception of modern New Zealand? asked Gisborne Herald editor Jeremy Muir.

October 2019 could also be a marker for major progress in relationship-building between iwi and the district’s other powers-that-be.

There were significant execution risks, though.

“Principally, the need for active and collaborative iwi involvement in Te Ha is yet to be fulfilled and this jeopardises the potential for race-relation gains and the whole notion of ‘Dual heritage, shared future’.”

Long delays to the Navigations Project were a major stumbling block for Te Ha “and the fostering of greater community understanding about our amazing heritage”.

“The council and Eastland Group have let us down,” said Mr Muir.

Te Ha Trust needed to be funded properly to allow it to ramp up its activities, such as reintroducing the Te Unga Mai schools programme, and its ability to engage meaningfully and effectively with stakeholders and the wider community.

Another risk was around language, said Mr Muir. The Te Ha Trust was obsessive in its phrasing of the first encounters here, with good reason, but they could not control the language of others.

The tragic killings of 1769 needed to be commemorated but many people also wanted to celebrate what the first formal meetings mean for the nation, as well as celebrating the voyaging traditions that brought two peoples to this land, he said.

“That might be challenging in the context of ongoing hurt, continuing grievances and fragile iwi relations, but it would help bring the whole community on board and ramp up enthusiasm for Te Ha and October 2019.”

In an emotional presentation, Manutuke tutor Teina Moetara said there was an elephant in the room and it was a white one.

“This room is full of delicate threads. The elephant is blind and making a hua of a mess. This is about starting to weave relationships around that space.

“I’m concerned about the notion of the nation beginning 250 years ago. My whakapapa goes back further than that. If we keep meeting in these ways we are going to keep missing each other.

“I’m learning about Pakeha. I learned that Pakeha like to be neutral and not have too many edges. Let’s keep working out that space.”

We are Poverty Bay and we are poor in our thinking and in our actions, Mr Moetara said.

“Please stop talking about my poverty. I’m so rich. The white elephant needs to consider his poverty. It might understand we might be useful and then I’ll really have something to talk about.”

Year 13 Gisborne Girls’ High School student Rachel Scott has taken on the Endeavour crew’s 1769 encounter with tangata whenua as her study topic. The 2019 sestercentennial did not hold much meaning for her peers and youth, she said.

“Youth are focused on their futures, but history is not forgotten.”

If Cook’s first encounter was a topic prescribed by teachers, the potential number of students could drop, she said.

Addressing what 2019 meant to her, she drew on a term from biology: mutualism, in which two organisms of different species benefit from each other.

To win people over, an attempt had been made to gloss over the finer details of Cook’s arrival, said Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust chief executive Robyn Rauna.

A marketing campaign was being designed to collect putea (money) and revenue rather than taking the opportunity to acknowledge the truth about what happened, letting the truth set us free and make real steps towards reconciliation, peace and healing, she said.

“The second reason I believe this is critical is because of some of the most significant events that followed after Cook for Turanga iwi.”

She cited the 1865 siege of Waerenga-a-Hika pa; the imprisonment of about 300 Maori — 25 percent of Turanga’s male population — on the Chatham Islands; the 1867 confiscation of Te Hau ki Turanga, a carved whare, from Orakaiapu at Manutuke; the confiscation of 1.195 million acres of Turanga land following Te Kooti’s revenge attacks at Oweta, Matawhero and Patutahi; and the 1869 execution by Crown troops of up to 128 people for the deaths at Ngatapa.

“The Waitangi Tribunal calculated that 43 percent of the Turanga Maori population was lost over this period from 1865 to 1869.

“Fast forward to today in 2016 where a party, a commemoration of sorts, is being planned, a little like a homecoming for Cook and his descendants.”

The irony was people who had “statutory acknowledgements” for the injustices and atrocities she outlined have had little to do with it, she said.

“Which makes many of us view with scepticism the underlying purpose of the 2019 commemoration, especially when in 2015 we independently started our own commemorations programme with Waerenga-a-Hika, which will end with commemorating the executions at Ngatapa in 2019.

“We reclaim our place and position in Turanga, as is our right to do so.”

This was part of the healing process.

Despite the tremendous adversity and loss suffered by her people’s tipuna (ancestors), people want their mokopuna (grandchildren) to know in 2019 that they are truly descendants of greatness, she said.

Maori Land Court Deputy Chief Judge Caren Fox began her talk with an outline of the Maori world view; acknowledgement of their Hawaiki origins and the waka hourua that brought the first settlers here.

“It means reclaiming our notion of voyaging,” she said.

The technology of voyaging waka that brought the first inhabitants here was as sophisticated as any other oceangoing technology, she said.

The challenging nature of the relationship between tangata whenua and Europeans was exemplified by the shooting of Te Maro, she said.

“I want to remember the Endeavour because that voyaging tradition is where we come together. The relationship between us continued over half a century with Maori in control. Then there was a reversal.”

Atrocities that happened on both sides should be acknowledged and that acknowledgment needed to be part of the 2019 commemorations, she said.

She would also like to see acknowledged the contribution Maori land, which constituted 25 percent of land in this district, made to this region.

“We have to celebrate these things as well.”


IT WAS emotional, it was lucid, it was sometimes confrontational, and sometimes off-topic, but the “First Meetings Korero” presentations at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club last Sunday were nothing if not engaging.

As part of the lead-up to the 2019 commemorations of the 1769 contact between tangata whenua, European explorers, scientists and artists, and the Tahitian navigator/mediator Tupaia, the Historic Places Tairawhiti Inc event took as its topic, “What October 2019 means to me”.

Artist and gallery owner Nick Tupara opened the talks with a poetic evocation of the fecundity of the earth and Papatuanuku’s bounty, and of whale migration in mythopoeic terms.

He acknowledged the fatal shooting of eight men including Te Maro, who he played in the documentary Tupaia’s Endeavour, and Te Rakau — both of them his ancestors.

Addressing 2019, he said kowhai seeds collected by the Endeavour crew in 1769 produced plants in England, and seeds from them will be sent to Turanganui next year to be planted on Kaiti Hill “in time for a 2019 October flowering”.

By October 2019, the “crook Cook” statue on Kaiti Hill would be replaced by a sculptural feature, he said.

“This sculptural feature speaks to the diary entries of the Endeavour crew who heard in the night voices coming from the shore and from Kaiti Hill.”

Ngati Oneone ancestors who gathered to fathom what had happened, and what might happen, with Endeavour’s arrival would form the centre of the work.

“Atop this, a manutukutuku, a traditional kite form, hovers against the skyline to symbolise the sharing of each other’s heritage.”

To redress the imbalance in the number of public library reference listings between James Cook and people such as Rakai-a-Tane and Hine Whakaangiangi, a Ngati Oneone-Turanganui-Cook period heritage publication would be launched in 2019.

In the same year, Poverty Bay would officially be called Turanganui, he said.

Gisborne artist and classics teacher Norman Maclean said despite sharing the same air, the same breath two-and-a-half centuries ago, as now, both Maori and European prejudged each other.

With communication, this had gradually been overcome over the past 247 years. Literacy and education played a big part in overcoming pre-judgement, he said.

While he lamented the ugly aspects of colonisation, it was more about superior technology and had little to do with ethnicity.

“Advanced technology has always meant colonisation will occur. This is why there is not a single place on this planet that has not been colonised, often many times over.”

Our chief concern should be cultural colonisation, he said, in reference to contemporary “gangsta” culture that pervades music, fashion and argot.

“Why should we want to resemble the trash culture of Harlem and Los Angeles?”

This cultural colonisation was so dominant that every sports team in the country felt obliged to acknowledge the US in photos by assuming stances and hand signs that emulated American rap stars, he said.

“I want to look ahead with optimism, desiring communication above anything else — so breathing the same air does not necessarily require the hongi but it is what makes us, as a nation, harmoniously connected.”

HB Williams Memorial Library head librarian Pene Walsh said the sculpture Hawaiki Turanga, planned for the site of the former Heinz-Wattie works, would provide representational balance on the Rongowhakaata side of the river.

Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp’s vision for a “floating classroom”, a waka hourua (twin-hulled voyaging waka) planned for this region, also had to come to fruition by 2019, she said.

Year 13 Gisborne Boys’ High School student Paraone Luiten-Apirana said what happens in 2019 was not significant.

“The significance lies with what happened 250 years earlier. That relationship emulates the relationship between Maori and Pakeha in the years that came.”

Although New Zealand was not a bilingual Utopia, cultural acceptance now was higher than ever before, he said. In the past 50 years Maori culture had not only resurrected itself but continued to grow stronger. October 2019 signified a relationship that started badly, continued horribly but was getting better, he said.

Former deputy mayor Nona Aston said by 2019 people would know each other.

“Of course there will be differences but if we learn about each other we can go ahead without ignorance. We must tell the world who we are, where we are. Let’s grow up to be colour blind and let’s love each other to death.”

Can we ensure a big deal is made nationally of the 250th anniversary of the conception of modern New Zealand? asked Gisborne Herald editor Jeremy Muir.

October 2019 could also be a marker for major progress in relationship-building between iwi and the district’s other powers-that-be.

There were significant execution risks, though.

“Principally, the need for active and collaborative iwi involvement in Te Ha is yet to be fulfilled and this jeopardises the potential for race-relation gains and the whole notion of ‘Dual heritage, shared future’.”

Long delays to the Navigations Project were a major stumbling block for Te Ha “and the fostering of greater community understanding about our amazing heritage”.

“The council and Eastland Group have let us down,” said Mr Muir.

Te Ha Trust needed to be funded properly to allow it to ramp up its activities, such as reintroducing the Te Unga Mai schools programme, and its ability to engage meaningfully and effectively with stakeholders and the wider community.

Another risk was around language, said Mr Muir. The Te Ha Trust was obsessive in its phrasing of the first encounters here, with good reason, but they could not control the language of others.

The tragic killings of 1769 needed to be commemorated but many people also wanted to celebrate what the first formal meetings mean for the nation, as well as celebrating the voyaging traditions that brought two peoples to this land, he said.

“That might be challenging in the context of ongoing hurt, continuing grievances and fragile iwi relations, but it would help bring the whole community on board and ramp up enthusiasm for Te Ha and October 2019.”

In an emotional presentation, Manutuke tutor Teina Moetara said there was an elephant in the room and it was a white one.

“This room is full of delicate threads. The elephant is blind and making a hua of a mess. This is about starting to weave relationships around that space.

“I’m concerned about the notion of the nation beginning 250 years ago. My whakapapa goes back further than that. If we keep meeting in these ways we are going to keep missing each other.

“I’m learning about Pakeha. I learned that Pakeha like to be neutral and not have too many edges. Let’s keep working out that space.”

We are Poverty Bay and we are poor in our thinking and in our actions, Mr Moetara said.

“Please stop talking about my poverty. I’m so rich. The white elephant needs to consider his poverty. It might understand we might be useful and then I’ll really have something to talk about.”

Year 13 Gisborne Girls’ High School student Rachel Scott has taken on the Endeavour crew’s 1769 encounter with tangata whenua as her study topic. The 2019 sestercentennial did not hold much meaning for her peers and youth, she said.

“Youth are focused on their futures, but history is not forgotten.”

If Cook’s first encounter was a topic prescribed by teachers, the potential number of students could drop, she said.

Addressing what 2019 meant to her, she drew on a term from biology: mutualism, in which two organisms of different species benefit from each other.

To win people over, an attempt had been made to gloss over the finer details of Cook’s arrival, said Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust chief executive Robyn Rauna.

A marketing campaign was being designed to collect putea (money) and revenue rather than taking the opportunity to acknowledge the truth about what happened, letting the truth set us free and make real steps towards reconciliation, peace and healing, she said.

“The second reason I believe this is critical is because of some of the most significant events that followed after Cook for Turanga iwi.”

She cited the 1865 siege of Waerenga-a-Hika pa; the imprisonment of about 300 Maori — 25 percent of Turanga’s male population — on the Chatham Islands; the 1867 confiscation of Te Hau ki Turanga, a carved whare, from Orakaiapu at Manutuke; the confiscation of 1.195 million acres of Turanga land following Te Kooti’s revenge attacks at Oweta, Matawhero and Patutahi; and the 1869 execution by Crown troops of up to 128 people for the deaths at Ngatapa.

“The Waitangi Tribunal calculated that 43 percent of the Turanga Maori population was lost over this period from 1865 to 1869.

“Fast forward to today in 2016 where a party, a commemoration of sorts, is being planned, a little like a homecoming for Cook and his descendants.”

The irony was people who had “statutory acknowledgements” for the injustices and atrocities she outlined have had little to do with it, she said.

“Which makes many of us view with scepticism the underlying purpose of the 2019 commemoration, especially when in 2015 we independently started our own commemorations programme with Waerenga-a-Hika, which will end with commemorating the executions at Ngatapa in 2019.

“We reclaim our place and position in Turanga, as is our right to do so.”

This was part of the healing process.

Despite the tremendous adversity and loss suffered by her people’s tipuna (ancestors), people want their mokopuna (grandchildren) to know in 2019 that they are truly descendants of greatness, she said.

Maori Land Court Deputy Chief Judge Caren Fox began her talk with an outline of the Maori world view; acknowledgement of their Hawaiki origins and the waka hourua that brought the first settlers here.

“It means reclaiming our notion of voyaging,” she said.

The technology of voyaging waka that brought the first inhabitants here was as sophisticated as any other oceangoing technology, she said.

The challenging nature of the relationship between tangata whenua and Europeans was exemplified by the shooting of Te Maro, she said.

“I want to remember the Endeavour because that voyaging tradition is where we come together. The relationship between us continued over half a century with Maori in control. Then there was a reversal.”

Atrocities that happened on both sides should be acknowledged and that acknowledgment needed to be part of the 2019 commemorations, she said.

She would also like to see acknowledged the contribution Maori land, which constituted 25 percent of land in this district, made to this region.

“We have to celebrate these things as well.”


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