Student profile: Ngawaiata Turnbull

 


Maungapōhatu – A history of resilience, Rua Kēnana and Iharaira

 

 

Photo – Ngawaiata Turnbull, First Class Honours & Te Reo Maori Thesis Scholarship Award. Master of Indigenous Studies, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi Special Awards Ceremony, Mātaatua Marae, Te Mānuka Tūtahi. Whakatane, 2015.

Ka moe, ka moe a Te Maunga rāua ko Hinepūkohurangi ka puta ko Ngā Tamariki o te Kohu. Ko Ngawaiata Turnbull taku īngoa he uri whakaheke nō roto i ngā tātai, tāheke kōrero ō Iharaira-Tamakaimoana, ō Ngāti Tāwhaki ki Te Urewera, o Te Whānau Pani ki Ruātoki. Ko Maungapōhatu te maunga ko Tamakaimoana, ko Ngāi Tūhoe te iwi. I tipu ake ahau he mokopuna whāngai. He mea poipoi, murimuri aroha ma ōku kuia, koroua o Tamakaimoana i te take o Maungapōhatu. I roto i tēnei whakapakeketanga ōku ka tipu ake ahau ki roto te reo me ngā tikanga o Iharaira o te poropiti a Rua Kēnana. Ē mau ngākau, wairua, hinengaro tonu nei ki ngā hapū, marae kāinga, kuia, koroua o Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu.

 

My project

 

My name is Ngawaiata Turnbull. I am a mother of 3. I have been teaching for over 20 years; across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. I hold a double degree in Education and Māori Studies as well as a Masters with First Class Honours in Indigenous Studies from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.  In 2019 I was awarded a Teach NZ scholarship to allow foundational, concentrated research and writing on my doctoral studies focused on resilience. I am grateful to Te Wharekura o Huiarau Board of Trustees for their support of me and this kaupapa. I acknowledge Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and the valuable guidance of Professor Taiarahia Black. I’m very proud to be the recipient of the Ē au ai te reo, 3 year doctorate scholarship and acknowledge the Whanake Te Kura ki Tawhiti Nui programme of the Resilience National Science Challenge.

From the age of nine months I was raised in Ruatāhuna and Maungapōhatu by my kuia and koroua who ensured an environment infused in the philosophy, cosmology, language and practices of Iharaira-Tamakaimoana. Some years ago a quote attributed to my grandfather was brought to my attention. This is the quote:

“Kua kitea e te ao kāore he hara o Rua, o ngā tāngata o Maungapōhatu. I whiua ai te ringa kaha o te ture ki a rātau. Kotahi noa te hara, ko tērā o te kāwanatanga nāna nei i whakarere i te toto ki Maungapōhatu. Ahakoa rā, kāre anō te kāwanatanga i haramai ki te horoi i tōna hara ki a Maungapōhatu. Kai reira tonu te riko o te toto. Ka hoatu au i tēnei kawenga mā koutou, mā ngā tamariki e whakatutuki kia pai ai taku moe.”[1]

 

Ngawaiata overlooking the sacred mountain from near the location of one of Rua Kēnana’s earliest homes, Tukutoromiro. In the middle distance can be seen Hiruharama Hou, one of Rua’s later homes. Maungapōhatu 2019.

Essentially this statement awoke a sadness inside me for the seen and unseen impacts suffered by my Koro and successive generations of Iharaira-Maungapōhatu as a result of the unjust invasion of Maungapōhatu which took place in April 1916. My doctorate research aspires to contribute in a meaningful way, to the continued resilience of Iharaira for future generations. Written in te reo, my doctorate thesis will aim to strengthen, restore, and reinstate the essence, identity, cohesiveness, cadence of heritage reo narratives of Iharaira-Tamakaimoana of Maungapōhatu. The key kaikōrero and holders of this knowledge are generally aged in their 60s to 80s therefore there is a sense of urgency to compile these oral and written literatures.

 

Te kaupapa ake

A strong sense of connection and history is the source and inspiration of my research around the teachings of the 20th century Tūhoe visionary leader Rua Kēnana Hepetipa and the Iharaia faith established by him at Maungapōhatu. As part of the momentum of the Royal Assent of the Rua Kēnana Pardon Act achieved on 21st December 2019, my doctoral thesis seeks to recover and expand upon the knowledge, wisdom and examples of resilience located with the Iharaira experience over time. The lived and living narratives of Iharaira are essential to establish and grow the canons of reo academic knowledge; wealth-creation to build resilient and sustainable reo communities for Iharaira-Tamakaimoana present and future generations.  Inculcated in this thesis will be theological scriptural verse, sung and spoken chants and an anthology of poetic verse to support marae wānanga, whaikōrero (oratory) and karanga (ceremonial calls) of Maungapōhatu and Ruatāhuna.

 

Ki hea ake

“Kāore te whakamā i ahau” resource publication in honour of the exodus of Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me Nga Uri o Maungapōhatu, who travelled to Parliament over 3 days to witness the second and third readings of the Rua Kēnana Statutory Pardon Bill, 18th December 2019.

Alongside kuia, koroua of Iharaira I compiled a trilogy of waiata mōteatea in 2019 titled “Kāore te whakamā i ahau.” This research publication was initiated to commemorate the final reading of the Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill achieved 18th December 2019. This literature resource contributes to the resilience of today’s diverse Iharaira whānau, especially so over the course of 3 days, where Iharaira traversed to Parliament as witness to the final reading of the Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill. The title, “Kāore te whakamā i ahau” is taken from one of the two compositions by Rua Kēnana which are included in the publication. Significantly, this particular mōteatea has been written into the legislation of the Bill. Acknowledgements to Te Puni Kōkiri, Ngā Toenga o Nga Tamariki a Iharaira me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu Trust and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi for support to publish this resource.

On Saturday the 3rd of April 2021 (Easter weekend), Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki o Iharaira me Nga Uri o Maungapōhatu, together with Tamakaimoana hapū and Tuapou Marae Committee will host a foundational Rua Kēnana Symposium reflecting on the life and legacy of this tīpuna. This date coincides with the 105 year anniversary of the unjust invasion and occupation of Maungapohatu 2nd-5th April 1916.

The symposium will celebrate three millennium epoch: (1) The signing of the Rua Kenana Pardon Act, 12 September, 18 December 2019. (2) The Royal Assent of the Rua Kēnana Pardon Act signed at Maungapōhatu by the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy, witnessed by Kīngi Tūheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, 21 December 2019 (3) Present a landmark retrospective exhibition of Rua Kēnana Taonga in Te Ao Hou whare tīpuna, Tuapou marae in collaboration with Whakatāne museum Mark Sykes, Tapara Reid-Hiakita and Dr Arapata Hakiwai of Te Papa Tongarewa.

 

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and the Whakatane District Museum meet with Tuapou Marae in preparations for the inaugural Rua Kēnana Symposium. January 2021, Matahī. (Ngawaiata and her daughter, Owhakaori, seated far right).

I wish to highlight the efforts of Toni Boynton, Secretary of Tuapou Marae Committee and direct descendant of Rua Kēnana Hepetipa and Pinepine Te Rika. Toni and her team presented a petition to Parliament in 2020 to abolish the discriminatory legislation around the establishment of Māori Wards. Currently in the Māori Select Committee phase of the legislature process, this Bill echoes strongly the legacy, vision and resilience of Rua Kēnana, Iharaira – “Kotahi te ture mo nga iwi e rua, Maungapōhatu”.   

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Whārangi tuarua o te pukapuka a NgāToenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira Charitable Trust, “A Statutory Pardon for the 1916 Invasion of Maungapohatu” contained in the Official Statutory Pardon Publication June 2017 Mataatua Marae, Rotorua