Ko ng¯a kai kei Orariki

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

Nga¯ti Moki Marae in Tau­mutu sits at the con­flu­ence of the south­ern shores of Te Wai­hora (Lake Ellesmere) and the Pa­cific Ocean, a place where each inch of land is rich in the his­tory of the Nga¯i Tahu peo­ple.

Tau­mutu has been oc­cu­pied for more than 600 years, and links to whenua (land) are still strong with the cur­rent gen­er­a­tions of those an­ces­tral fam­i­lies.

Rich nat­u­ral re­sources at­tracted many to the area, in­clud­ing the ances­tor Te Ruahik­i­hiki. His son, Moki, es­tab­lished Te Pa¯ o Moki, also known as Nga¯ ti Moki Marae.

Te Ruahik­i­hiki’s de­scen­dants, Nga¯ i Te Ruahik­i­hiki, still live in Tau­mutu and have in­flu­ence down the coast to Dunedin.

Mar­garet Jones, known af­fec­tion­ately as Aunty Marg, grew up at the pa¯ and had seen many changes in the area. From the size and health of the lake to the changes at the pa¯ it­self.

‘‘I was born by the lake, in a lit­tle shack. When I was three and a half, we moved to my nanna’s old house near the marae,’’ Jones said.

Her fa­ther was a com­mer­cial pa¯ tiki (floun­der) fish­er­man. Her mother helped him fil­let his catch for trans­port by train to Christchurch. Jones and the other chil­dren would help their par­ents, milk the cows and carry the fam­ily’s wa­ter sup­ply to the house.

‘‘But it didn’t kill us. You ask kids to carry jugs now and it’s too heavy,’’ she said.

Her favourite mem­o­ries were play­ing at the marae or walk­ing to the creek by the Hone Wetere church for a pic­nic dur­ing the ı¯naka (white­bait) sea­son, fish­ing out a bucket of the small fish to com­plete the meal.

‘‘We had a lot of fun grow­ing up, even though we made most of it our­selves.’’

Al­though Jones left when she mar­ried, she al­ways main­tained her re­la­tion­ship with her land and her peo­ple.

‘‘To me, this will al­ways be home.’’

She and other kau­matua reg­u­larly vol­un­teered their time to teach the hapu¯ ’s younger gen­er­a­tions about their his­tory, host events at the marae and help with other ru¯ nanga needs. Events were held at the marae ev­ery week.

The cur­rent marae meet­ing hall opened on May 7, 1891. Over the years a wharekai (kitchen or eat­ing room) and a ru¯ nanga of­fice had been added.

Through bear­ing the brunt of the in­ter-tribal con­flict of the Kai Huaka feud, suf­fer­ing un­der Te Rau­paraha’s in­va­sion from the North and the ar­rival of colo­nial set­tlers, Tau­mutu and Te Pa¯ o Moki have re­mained a home to Nga¯ i Te Ruahik­i­hiki.

Te Tau­mutu Ru¯ nanga port­fo­lio leader Puamiria Parata-Goodall said the site’s promi­nence meant the area was rich in arche­o­log­i­cal ta¯onga (trea­sures), in­clud­ing ex­am­ples of Nga¯ i Tahu weav­ing and carv­ing styles from more than 500 years ago.

‘‘They are real ta¯ onga, be­cause they are some of the few ex­am­ples,’’ she said.

Parata-Goodall said the arche­o­log­i­cal sites and en­dan­gered species in the area had come un­der the col­lec­tive pro­tec­tion of a num­ber of ru¯ nanga and other or­gan­i­sa­tions.

‘‘It’s our col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to look af­ter our place,’’ she said.

SUPPLIED/TE RU¯ NANGA O TAU­MUTU

Pura Parata looks back dur­ing a whaiko¯rero on Nga¯ti Moki Marae.

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