To­hora¯ and Kauri

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

There is a paki­wait­ara (le­gend) that tells of a time when To­hora¯ (the whale) lived on land and was very close to his brother, Kauri (Agathis Aus­tralis). How­ever, un­like the young Kauri, the gi­ant To­hora¯ yearned to be free from iwi (na­tions) who con­stantly hunted him for wealth and mana.

Know­ing that his teina (younger brother) would face the same fate when he grew tall and strong, To­hora¯ sug­gested they take refuge within the depths of the whare be­long­ing to their un­cle Tan­garoa (Atua of the sea) where they would be far from the reach of those who hunted them.

But Kauri loved the em­brace of Pa­p­atu¯a¯nuku (Earth Mother) and was rooted so deep into the whare of his fa­ther Ta¯ne (Atua of the for­est), that To­hora¯ could not take him to the sea. So, be­fore he left, To­hora¯ be­stowed upon Kauri a cloak made of his skin to give him pro­tec­tion from those who would hunt him for his golden blood.

As time went by, To­hora¯ reg­u­larly rose from the depths and sent bursts of wai (wa­ter) to­wards Rang­inui (the Sky Fa­ther) in the hopes his love would be car­ried on the winds of Ta¯whir­ima¯tea (Atua of the winds) to touch his teina.

At the same time, Kauri soaked up mana from Pa­p­atu¯a¯nuku to grow taller and stronger in the hopes that he would one day be able to look out to sea and gaze upon his beloved tu­akana (older brother) once more.

Although iwi re­main kai­hakamahi (users) of the re­sources pro­vided by To­hora¯ and Kauri, we have al­ways been their whanaunga (re­la­tions) and are also their kaiti­aki (pro­tec­tors).

So, when­ever they re­turn to the land, we sup­port their pas­sage from one plain of ex­is­tence to the next and thank them for pro­vid­ing us with the mana of their ko¯hiwi (bones). They also re­mind us that we are kaiti­aki of kauri.

At the same time, kauri con­tinue to pu­rify our air and their kiri (bark) re­minds us of our re­spon­si­bil­ity to look after the chil­dren of To­hora¯ who come ashore in our rohe.

That is why Te Wha¯nau Moana me Roro­huri, sup­ported by neigh­bour­ing hapu¯, DoC, Nga¯ti Kahu Ru¯nanga and Te To­hunga To­hora¯, are pre­par­ing the para¯oa (sperm whale) that died on Tok­erau Beach last week.

It’s also why other iwi are work­ing to save the to­hora¯ that grounded on Te Oneroa-a¯-Tohe (Ninety Mile Beach) over the week­end. Fi­nally, it’s why, at 2pm to­day, there is a hui at 21A Park­dale Cres in Kaita¯ia with the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries to ad­dress the dieback dis­ease killing kauri.

The paki­wait­ara above tells us it is no co­in­ci­dence that to­hora¯ and kauri are both in dis­tress at this time. How­ever, it also tells us that their heal­ing may be found in their re­la­tion­ship. So too do these two hakatauki (proverbs): Ana¯ ta¯ te para¯oa (here is the strength of the sperm whale). Kia toitu¯ he kauri (keep kauri stand­ing). Koina¯ te ko¯rero.

"Although iwi re­main kai­hakamahi (users) of the re­sources pro­vided by To­hora¯ and Kauri, we have al­ways been their whanaunga (re­la­tions) and are also their kaiti­aki (pro­tec­tors)."

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