Matiti Pa visit an eye-opener

Weekend tour explores history and culture of important site.

Weekend tour explores history and culture of important site.

SHARED HISTORY: At the second pa site, former landowner Rodney Faulkner talks about the shared history of the site with the more than 50 people on the Historic Places Tairawhiti Inc trip on Sunday. Picture by Sheridan Gundry
LEARNING ABOUT MATITI: Former Wairakaia landowner Rodney Faulkner (left) and Jody Toroa, of Tamanuhiri. Pictures by Sheridan Gundry
HISTORICAL TRIP: Robin (Nuna) Wyllie talks about the people, places and customs of Ngai Tamanuhiri with Murphy’s Beach behind.

MORE than 50 people climbed the steep slopes to Matiti Pa, Muriwai to hear some of the history of Ngai Tamanuhiri people and enjoy the panoramic views.

On their descent to the Wairakaia woolshed, they heard stories of the first Europeans to farm the Maraetaha block, starting with James Woodbine Johnson in 1869.

The shared history trip was organised by Historic Places Tairawhiti Inc, the voice of heritage in this district.

From the first of two pa sites once occupied by Tamanuhiri himself, Robin (Nuna) Wyllie talked about the names of the many bays and fishing grounds between Kopututea, south of Midway Beach, through to Whareongaonga and beyond.

He explained the importance of knowing the correct names of these places, which enabled people to know exactly where someone was located if a search was ever required.

He did not, however, disclose the co-ordinates for Tamanuhiri’s prized fishing spots.

Mr Wyllie talked about some of the delicacies of Maori cuisine, including shark’s liver, dried shark “jerky” and rotten or fermented crayfish.

He and former Wairakaia landowner Rodney Faulkner pointed out the numerous large kumara pits, the traditional gardens on the lower slopes, the places of habitation at the first and second pa levels, and remaining karaka trees — usually planted near a pa site.

The amount of kumara able to be stored in the pits would have supported a population of many hundreds of people.

In addition, seafood and kereru (pigeons) would have featured on the menu in this time “before Kentucky”, Mr Faulkner said.

He talked about the European settlement and farming from the time of James Woodbine Johnson through to today’s shared ownership and management of Wairakaia by Robert and Sandra Faulkner, and Jo and Bruce Graham.

MORE than 50 people climbed the steep slopes to Matiti Pa, Muriwai to hear some of the history of Ngai Tamanuhiri people and enjoy the panoramic views.

On their descent to the Wairakaia woolshed, they heard stories of the first Europeans to farm the Maraetaha block, starting with James Woodbine Johnson in 1869.

The shared history trip was organised by Historic Places Tairawhiti Inc, the voice of heritage in this district.

From the first of two pa sites once occupied by Tamanuhiri himself, Robin (Nuna) Wyllie talked about the names of the many bays and fishing grounds between Kopututea, south of Midway Beach, through to Whareongaonga and beyond.

He explained the importance of knowing the correct names of these places, which enabled people to know exactly where someone was located if a search was ever required.

He did not, however, disclose the co-ordinates for Tamanuhiri’s prized fishing spots.

Mr Wyllie talked about some of the delicacies of Maori cuisine, including shark’s liver, dried shark “jerky” and rotten or fermented crayfish.

He and former Wairakaia landowner Rodney Faulkner pointed out the numerous large kumara pits, the traditional gardens on the lower slopes, the places of habitation at the first and second pa levels, and remaining karaka trees — usually planted near a pa site.

The amount of kumara able to be stored in the pits would have supported a population of many hundreds of people.

In addition, seafood and kereru (pigeons) would have featured on the menu in this time “before Kentucky”, Mr Faulkner said.

He talked about the European settlement and farming from the time of James Woodbine Johnson through to today’s shared ownership and management of Wairakaia by Robert and Sandra Faulkner, and Jo and Bruce Graham.

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