Te Kūraetanga o Te Ihu o Tamatekapua or commonly known as Ōkūrei holds a special place in the beating-hearts of Te Arawa.
Together with the rise of Matariki, descendants walked Ōkūrei and warm the land with Ahikā, Karakia, Karanga and Kai.
Wharehuia Manley of Ngāti Whakaue says, “Koinei pea te wā tuatahi kua whakatūria tētahi Umu Kohukohu Whetū Hautapu ki koneki nei nā, ko te mea whakamutunga pea i te wā i a Tamatekapua. Nō reira me hurō tātou i tērā āhuatanga.”
This maybe a first for hosting an Umu Kohukohu Whetū Hautapu ceremony at this specific site and perhaps hasn’t been done since the arrival of Tamatekapua. Therefore, we all should be celebrating this moment.
Opening the Māori new-year with ceremonial practices were Tohunga Mataia Keepa and Ranginui Rikirangi-Thomas who is an expert in mātauranga Māori and Māori language advocacy.
Ranginui Rikirangi-Thomas of Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Whakaue says, “We understand the trials and tribulations that Mātauranga Māori face and luckily as part of the resurgence of te reo Māori through the stalwarts and those who fought for the reclamation of those kaupapa.
“The responsibility now lies with us to uphold the dreams and aspirations that our forefathers and those who are actually trailblazers for this kaupapa.”
Te Arawa Lakes Trust’s Taparoto Nicholas says the work led by these individuals has opened up the doorway for more to learn more about their whakapapa and connection to the environment.
Pou Whakawhirinaki Taparoto Nicholas says, “The significance is, that it’s a body of knowledge that was known to us and now it’s being offered up again to a generation that are ready now to accept it.
“I can remember back in the day we were never this involved with Matariki but I really like the way that this group is making this understandable, making this digestible and making it relevant for those who attended.”
For more please watch MATARIKI AND WARMING THE LAND OF ŌKŪREI
Content Credit to Whenu McKinnon
He mihi nui tēnei ki te hunga i uiuitia, arā ki a Stephen Te Moni, Marewa Jasmine Wairea, Te Amorangi Rikirangi-Thomas, Rangitiaria Tibble, Rawiri Manley and Mataia Keepa.