Surrounded by friends at Orakei Marae, Joseph Hawke stood to speak, while his sibling Patu and cousin Bobby and distant cousins from Helensville marae, Awa Hudson and my mom, watched on.
We had gathered at Orakei to celebrate Alice Ringa-Poto Rakena Pihama‘s colorful life, as an artist who wove tukutuku panels, that sold out at this year’s Atamira: Maori in The City festival in West Auckland.
Hundreds gathered for Pihama’s funeral. It was a very special time. In celebrating Alice’s beautiful and gracious family and her life of love and serving her marae and people with fifty years living at Orakei and contributing to the arts and tribal cultural life, Papa Joseph Hawke stood to speak and remind the younger generations of how Ngati Whatua o Orakei has always been a bastion in overcoming greed, racism and State corruption. At times, this tribe has been greatly used to speak out against State brutality, when the State has forgotten that it should serve all New Zealand’s healthy interests, not just a mere fews, by being over-forceful and unjust, using the arm of State Services as if a small milieu’s own assets.
I shed a few tears when Joseph talked about how, one day a visiting princess was visiting New Zealand. She was to drive past Orakei. Police took flamethrowers and razed the houses of Ngati Whatua o Orakei people. They burned them to the ground, as they were embarrassed for this future queen to see Maori people and how we lived. We were an embarrassment, we’d spoil the view of our own tribal lands. So we had to be disposed of, displaced, hidden away, like naughty children – or afterthoughts of The State.
These were dark days for the tribe. Watching the “oldies” recall these awful times they had survived and endured, would make any younger Kiwi cry. Throughout the day, celebrations occurred with the music and sounds of tribal Kapa haka. A beautiful cultural occassion. My favorite, was the old folks, “Sunday School Medly of hit songs.” Namely, “Down by the River Side” etc. Too cute.
This is a true story, blog post. Thanks Joe Hawke.
[All photos of - A Day in The life of A Wharenui - Orakei Marae, taken on this hori's phone. Image of Robert Muldoon, a racist pig PM, from history's dark past, via Wikipedia. Triumph of the Will, Tukutuku panel blog post - going up as contemporary cyberspace tribute, to the tukutuku weaving prowess of Aunty Alice's lifeswork.
Peace! Let’s go New Zealand in remaining a strongly democratic society that remains proud of Maori peoples rich legacy of love in this fine nation in overcoming greedy dictator piggies – who resemble communist dictators with each passing day. :)
~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 12.10.11~