He pukapuka karakia kua whakarewangia
A 14 year project to translate important Baha´ '´ı Faith writings into te reo Ma¯ ori was celebrated at Pu¯ rekireki Marae on Sunday with the launch of E¯ tahi Karakia
Baha´ ’´ı — the book of Baha´ ’´ı Prayers.
The translations have been undertaken by Dr Tom Roa of Nga¯ ti maniapoto and Waikato.
With a PhD in translation and role as Manukura (Associate Professor) in Waikato University's Ma¯ ori and Indigenous Studies faculty, Tom has been at the forefront of bringing Ma¯ ori language to the mainstream over many years.
In a recent interview he said: “I believe I have a responsibility to be a cultural mediator between the Ma¯ ori and Pa¯keha¯ worlds.
“I come back to the idea of mana with regard to these two very different worlds.
“The mana of each world is maintained and the integrity of each mana is acknowledged.”
Working on the writings of Baha´ '´ı Faith has meant also acting as cultural mediator between Ma¯ ori language and Persian and Arabic.
It meant working closely with members of the New Zealand Baha´ '´ı community — in particular Farzbod Taefi who is of Persian origin.
He says it was an illuminating experience for him and gave him a greater respect for the depth of te reo Ma¯ ori.
Baha´ '´ı Prayers are taken from the writings of central Baha´ '´ı figures Baha´ 'u'lla´ h, The Ba´ b and `Abdu'l-Baha´ .
They have been translated into hundreds of languages as part of Baha´ '´ı belief in the inevitability of the unification or `oneness' of the human race.
Farzbod says Tom took great care to ensure the absolute correct Ma¯ ori word was chosen to convoy the intended meanings from Baha´ 'u'lla´ h, The Ba´ b and `Abdu'l-Baha´.
Often this meant deep conversations between the two men as Farzbod would look at the original writings in Persian or Arabic, rather than relying on the English translation, for Tom to find the right word.
He believes the natural affinity of Ma¯ ori to the teachings and beliefs of Baha´ '´ı makes the new translations more profound.
Farzbod also believes te reo Ma¯ ori has a depth of spirit, and even though it wasn't originally a written language, it provides enlightenment for Ma¯ ori and the people of the Pacific that is foretold and part of the unification.
The launch of Etahi ¯
Karakia Baha´ ’´ı brought Baha´ '´ı supporters to Pirongia — to share cultures and spiritualism.
A powhiri at Pu¯ rekireki Marae was followed by hakari, then time for readings and discussion — before a lunch based on Persian cooking style.
Translation collaborator Farzbod Taefi (right) meets a friend during the hongi.
Baha´ ’ı´ Faith supporters are welcomed onto Pirongia’s Pu¯ rekireki Marae.
Making the opening mihi at Pu¯ rekireki Marae was Gilbert Paki, whose ancestors come from Kawhia.
Etahi ¯ Karakia Baha´ ’ı´ translator Dr Tom Roa speaking on the marae.
Waiata during Sunday’s powhiri and celebrations.