Your history, my history, our history

The Penguin History of New ZealandWhen you emigrate, it takes time to get your histories all in a row.

First up all you are aware of is loss, the huge gaping and unfillable loss of who you were. It takes all your energy just to keep your head above water. At least that was how it was for me.

But then I rallied and joined the library where one of the first books ever issued to me was Michael King’s The Penguin History of New Zealand. Feeling very virtuous I carried it back on the bus to Brooklands. There I took it on little jaunts from room to room and finally bussed it back (unread) a month later. It was too much too soon. I pulled in my horns.

Time passed and I started to look out for books that related to my interests: art, architecture and the stories of women. Beautiful books drew me in and fed my soul. Books like: Māori Architecture by Dierdre Brown; books about New Zealand Art, and A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes. I am unapologetic about the fact that sometimes I just looked at the pictures. I had a lot of catching up to do.

Cover of Maori Architecture Cover of a A history of New Zealand women Cover of Mauri Ora

Then, just recently, I came upon my best New Zealand book thus far – Mauri Ora: Wisdom From the Māori World by Peter Alsop. This is a lovely book to look at, a satisfying book to hold and a profound book to read.

Fiona and chalkboard at Central Library ManchesterAt much the same time as I was reading this book, I arrived at Central Library Manchester one day to work. On the sandwich board outside the library (see the photo at right with Fiona – its creator) was a te reo quotation with its English translation. I could almost understand the reo and I was enchanted by its translation – so appropriate for the library in question.

A small group of us stood outside the library looking at the quotes on the board. We had an engaging conversation about language and place and thought. Like planets, I felt all my histories line up and I was finally (albeit briefly) at peace. A quote from the Mauri Ora book says it all:

Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata;

ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tīna

(Seek out distant horizons and cherish those you attain.)

Podcast – Indigenous women in leadership

Speak Up Kōrerotia logoChristchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.

In a break from the usual format of panel discussion, this episode is a recording of Sacha McMeeking and Hana Skerrett White of University of Canterbury and Arihia Bennett, CE of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu who presented on the topic “Indigenous women in leadership” for a New Zealand Human Rights Commission event to promote the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and #IWD (International Women’s Day).

The three talks discuss themes such as:

  • Hero-leadership vs Service-leadership (Western leadership vs indigenous leadership)
  • Māori woman leaders in history
  • Examples of leadership amongst women in your own whakapapa
  • Women and whānau, and changing roles

Transcript of audio file

Find out more in our collection

Cover of Māori and Aboriginal Women in the Public Eye Cover of Crossing the Floor The Story of Tariana Turia Cover of The spirit of Māori leadership Cover of Te Puea: A life Cover of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Cover of Te Ara: Māori Pathways of Leadership

More about Speak up – Kōrerotia

The show is also available on the following platforms:

Te Matatini: Excellence in Māori Performing Arts

Te Matatini.  The many faces.

Wednesday marked the opening of what is one of the biggest events on the National Māori calendar.  Eagerly awaited by thousands, this biennial event is the paramount event for Māori performing arts. An extravaganza of live performance and a bringing together of some of the best exponents and practitioners of the art form from across iwi and the motu.

Places at the Nationals are hotly contested within individual rohe. Top qualifying groups from each district make the National competition. The amount of work that goes into the stand of each group is immense. Original composition, choreography, vocal excellence, beauty and excellence in the language as well as physical fitness are all required.

Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival
Crowd watches performers on a big screen, Hagley Park, Te Matatini 2015, Flickr File Reference: 2015-03-05- IMG_5900

Participation at this level also requires a mastery of a variety of art forms – from mōteatea to poi to haka and traditional weaponry.  Hundreds of hours of relentless practice and commitment are required from members of groups that take months if not years in the preparation of what they will share with the mutitudes when they take the stage. The result is a feast for the senses and the soul, each group bringing the best they have.  The best groups embody all the aspects of ihi, wana and wehi.

Various components of each set are judged and scored.  Each set consists of waiata tira, mōteatea, whakaeke, waiata ā ringa, poi, haka and whakawātea.  Individual items as well as other components such as  excellence in the Reo, original composition, kākahu,  kaitātaki tane and kaitāki wahine are all judged and scored to help decide the overall winner of each judged item and to decide the eventual overall winner.

Everyone has their own favourite kapa and star performers, the choreography that causes “ohhs ” and “aahhhs”, the brilliance of new original compositions. Te Matatini inspires excellence in all the performers, and has been known to spark many a conversation, ignite hapū, iwi  and rohe pride.  Occasionally results have been known to cause debate or some controversy, but one thing is for sure – Te Matatini never disappoints.

If you’d like to find out more, Te Matatini have their own website where you can find more in-depth information.  Māori Television is live streaming and on offering on demand services to New Zealand, Australia and America. The Facebook pages of Te Kaea and Māori Television are offering up to the minute social media updates. Every group gets their moment in the spotlight with the top scorers in each pool qualifying for finals on Sunday (you can find a full programme here.)

If you would like to learn about Māori performing arts in more depth, we have some great resources available in our libraries. As a starting point, you might like to look at our Matatini – Māori Performing Arts resource list.

Find out more

Aurelia Arona,
Ngā Ratonga Māori / Māori Services

Living by the moon: Wiremu Tāwhai’s legacy

Cover of Living by the moonLiving by the Moon – Te Maramataka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui

In 2014 this amazing little book was released. Beginning it’s life as a MA thesis at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Sadly Pāpā Wiremu passed away before the book was published however with the kind permission of the Tāwhai whānau it was published by Huia publishers. It is a wealth of information for old and young, Māori and non-Māori.

The following is a review I wrote for Te Karaka edition #61 Kahuru 2014 (and reproduced by permission here)

Ko te Kuti, ko te Wera, ko te Haua, e ko Apanui…!

Every now and then you get the opportunity to read a book that not only leaves you feeling privileged to have read it, but more importantly, wiser for having done so. Living by the Moon – Te Maramataka o Te Whānau-a-Apanui is one such book.

Written by the late Wiremu “Bill” Tāwhai, a well-respected kaumātua of Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Whakatōhea and Ngāti Awa, it is a collation of Te Whānau-a-Ruataia inter-generational knowledge pertaining to Te Whānau-a-Apanui lunar calendar. Long before shopping malls, smart phones, “Uncle Google”, and social media, our tipuna planned their lives by the lunar calendar. Every iwi had one. Knowing the lunar cycle, understanding how it affects your environment, and your competence to analyse and interpret correctly those effects, determined your ability to hunt, grow, and gather food. Thanks to Wiremu’s natural skill as an orator, this knowledge is conveyed in a way that is not only easily understood but leaves the reader feeling as though they are sitting with him. It took me back to a time when I was young and would sit with my own father listening to tribal kōrero.

Sadly, Wiremu Tāwhai died on 2 December 2010, before his book, which began as his MA thesis for Te Whare Wānanga o Te Awanuiārangi, was published. However, he left various legacies for future readers within his text. These included the consideration of what is to become traditional wisdom and knowledge such as the maramataka, reminding us of their importance “to sustain a healthy environment for the enjoyment of generations to come.” Encouraging words for all Māori to research their tribal knowledge, build tribal repositories, and openly share this knowledge among tribes and internationally with other indigenous nations.

His final words are for his people of Te Whānau-a-Apanui, encouraging them to continue the exploration of their traditional knowledge basis, record their findings and therefore ensure the distinctiveness and character of the tribe will endure.

Living by the Moon is beautifully written in both Māori and English. As Joan Metge notes in her forward:

Wiremu Tāwhai demonstrates his own gifts as a word-weaver… the rewards [of this book] are greats when the texts are read side by side, paragraph by paragraph.Taken together, they complement and illuminate each other.

Doing this makes the book an easy read, with an insight into a world that once was and that many are now returning to.  It is certainly one book I will return to again and again, even just for the pleasure of reading it.

E Tā, ka rere āmiomio atu te whakamiha ki a koe e te huia kaimanawa mō tēnei taonga i tākoha mai nei.  Māringanui katoa mātou i tōu tiro whakamua i tō whare kōrero kua whakakaohia e koe, hei taonga whakamahi mō ngā uri whakaheke e manakotia mai ana ki ēnei mea.  Nā reira e Tā, ahakoa kua riro koe ki te manaakitanga o rātou mā, ā, e ora tonu ana tōu owha, te owha nā ngā tipuna.  Āpōpō ko te Rakaunui te tīmatatanga o te maramataka hou hei arahi i tō rahi.

Further reading

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 2016

The dates for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) this year are 4 – 11 Hōngongoi (4-11 July) and this year the theme is –

Te reo tautoko – behind you all the way

The phrase “Ākina te reo – using the Māori to show support” is also being used as part of the campaign which includes celebrity ambassadors like Canterbury’s own Andrew Mehrtens making more of an effort to improve their te reo skills.

Te Reo Māori i Te Whare pukapuka – Māori Language at The Library

Cover of Kanohi: My faceChristchurch City Libraries – Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi will be celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori with special bilingual storytimes throughout the week. See our events calendar for one near you.

The Wā Kōrero (Storytime) session at New Brighton will have a special guest performer in Kitty Brown, co-author of a series of te reo Māori board books for children.

The kids from Merrin School will be raising the roof at Upper Riccarton Library on Wednesday, 6 July with a rousing kapa haka performance. Not to be missed!

We’re also hosting a special event on The History of Te Reo Māori in Children’s Publishing on Thursday, 7 July at Fendalton Library.

But there’s no need to attend a special event to add te reo Māori to your library experience -why not simply try out the reo Māori option on our self checkout machines?

Te Reo Māori self checkout
Te Reo Māori self checkout, Flickr File Reference: 2014-07-10-IMG_0669

Read our Te Kupu o Te Wiki (Word of the week) blog posts.

Or learn a new kupu (word) by reading our bilingual library signs or even just learn to say the Māori name of your local library.

Ngā Rauemi Te Reo Māori – Māori Language Resources

Whaowhia te kete mātauranga – Fill the basket of knowledge

There are many, many resources available for anyone wanting to improve their te reo Māori knowledge. Here are some suggestions for filling your basket.

Hākinakina – Sports

Ākina te reo - support the language

Ngā Rauemi mō Ngā Tamariki – Children’s Resources

Download one of our colouring in pages [39KB PNG, 354KB PDF]

Matariki

Cover of Ko wai tōku ingoa?Search our catalogue

We’ve also made lists of modern classic picture books in Te Reo Māori and Māori stories for older children.

Te Reo Māori, ake, ake, ake

As Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori draws to a close we can all stop using our newly learned kupu and vastly improved pronunciation until next year, right?

KAO. (That’s a big NO, just in case you were wondering)

You can use te reo Māori and embrace the arts and culture of indigenous New Zealanders any time. And in Christchurch we’ve got some great opportunities coming up to do just that so let’s keep the poro rolling with –

Te Kupu o Te Wiki

Every Monday on this blog there’ll be a kupu hou (new word) to add to your vocabulary, complete with a link where you can listen online so no worries about not getting your pronunciation tino tika.

E Hoa

Māori art vector prints by Dallas Matoe and Lino cuts by George Aranui, until 15 August at Linwood Community Arts Centre/Eastside Gallery.

New Zealand International Film Festival logoEver the land

NZIFF documentary about the planning and building of New Zealand’s first “living building”, Te Wharehou o Tūhoe. This is no Grand Designs, it’s much more than that. Session on 15 & 16 August.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2015

This year’s expression of ‘Ngā Whanaunga’ – which means relatedness and connectedness between peoples – is realised with films from Aotearoa, Hawaii, Samoa and Tuvalu. Session on 19 & 23 August.

The Price of Peace

Investigative journalist Kim Webby’s documentary about Tūhoe activist Tame Iti and the Urewera Four. A portrait of a man and his “rightly embittered philosophy”. Session on 10 & 11 August.

Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses

Documentary about the tragic death of Janet Moses in 2007 as the result of a mākutu lifting by her family. Session on 17 & 18 August.

Modern Māori Quartet

These guys are the business. Don’t believe me? Check out their te reo version of Lorde’s Royals and then tell me one of their shows wouldn’t be a great night out.

Tickets for their 10 & 11 September gigs are selling fast so kia tere!

Christchurch Arts Festival logoNgā Tai o Kurawaka: He Kura e Huna Ana

He Kure e Huna Ana is a Pounamu creation story of Poutini and Waitaki but one which develops with the help of the audience. At the Court Theatre 8-10 September.

Rama Tuna

Priscilla Cowie (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahu, Nga Puhi, Ngati Pakeha) presents a new sculptural installation honouring the tuna or long finned eel. View it between 28 August and 13 September at The Arts Centre Market Square.

Matariki

Matariki hunga nui 

This whakataukī can be translated as

Matariki has many admirers.

Matariki brochure
Download our Matariki brochure 2.7MB PDF

Māori New Year is here. We have come to the time of the year again when the constellation of stars known as Matariki reappears in our pre-dawn winter sky.  The rising of Matariki this year is on Piripi/June 28th.

Matariki refers to the small yet distinctive constellation of stars and the name itself is often translated as meaning “tiny eyes”, or “the eyes of God”.

This constellation of stars is celebrated and admired throughout the world and is called many different things: Subaru (Japan), Pleiades (Greece), Seven Sisters (Indigenous Peoples of the Americas), Mataliki (Tongan) and Mataali’i (Samoan) to name a few.

Matariki is celebrated and recognised in Christchurch City Libraries in many ways: special Matariki Wā Kōrero (Storytimes) are held, and community art activities, educational seminars and displays highlighting libraries’ resources are featured in all libraries.

This year , Christchurch City Libraries are focusing on Te Taiao ( the environment) and Rongoā Māori (traditional medicines). Visit your local library to learn about native plants and trees, their Te Reo Māori name and some traditional and contemporary uses of these plants.

The tukutuku panels which feature on our Matariki brochures this year demonstrate traditional and contemporary use of plant material for art, whakapapa and wānanga.  Find more information on this tukutuku project.
Matariki at the library

Matariki is all about:

  Whakapapa, Whānau,

Kai and Hākari,

Wānanga, Te Reo Māori

and Whakawhanaungatanga.