Whaea Haneta’s Kirihimete memories

My memories of a Māori Christmas are seen through the eyes of a nana. Whanau gather from far and wide – usually  at my whare (house). A call goes out for spare mattresses and bedding and there’s a quick check to make sure we have a enough of everything else. My mokopuna all squabble about who is going to sleep in nan’s bed and poua (granddad) declares he is sleeping in another room. Lists  of  who is bringing what or who is making what are  decided on via  numerous email messages.

All the Aunties (my sisters) suddenly  remember a favourite dish of kai they must make for the big day and send husbands, nieces, nephews (and anyone else they can boss around), out to find a  special ingredient. There is always loads of  delicious kai moana to be shared gathered and  prepared by our tane.

I can still  remember the delicious smells of dad’s smoke house  burning away full of  eel, and patiki (flounder) and mum growling because the smoke is  going all over her washing line. Uncle George on the Chatham’s always sent us  a couple of crates of koura (crayfish) and tins of  titi (mutton birds) would arrive form the deep south. Swan eggs would make the most sumptuous sponges and mum’s raspberry jam would  be piled on the top with great dollops of thick clotted  cream that dad would bring home from the shearing shed.

One of my favourite dishes was  Uncle Mick’s creamed paua with chunks of koura … tino reka. Of course there was always the pot on the stove full of  pork bones water cress or puha and dad’s new spuds. this was constantly topped up ready for  unexpected visitors.

One of my other  favourite memories is the whanau singalongs. The guitars would  come out and  all the tamariki would be  lined up to sing the waiata they had learned at  kapahaka. Lots of toe tapping and swaying of  the Aunties well-rounded hips would  accompany the waiata with giggles from the moko about nana’s fat bum or poua’s pot belly.

Christmas  this year won’t be as  busy  as lots of our whanau are now spread all over the world but where ever you are  Ngā mihi mo te  wā me te Tau hou mo 2010.

Whaea Haneta Pierce, Kaiwhakahaere Ratonga Māori

There are lots of  kai books available  in the library  to show you how to lay down a hangi or make some Māori bread. Try a few of them:

One thought on “Whaea Haneta’s Kirihimete memories

  1. Mo-mo 24 December 2009 / 10:58 am

    I’ve just had a Christmas morning tea but you’re making me hungry again Whaea. Meri kirihimete me nga mihi o te tau hou ki a koe.

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