Ngāi Tahu celebrates milestones

By Leah Te Whata
  • South Island

Ngāi Tahu descendants gathered at Tuahiwi Marae to celebrate 20 years since the signing of their Deed of Settlement and 30 years since their first Waitangi Tribunal hearing which was also held at Tuahiwi Marae.

The Rātana Brass band leads thousands of Ngai Tahu descendents on to Tuahiwi Marae for their annual festival, remembering the beginning of their journey to treaty settlement.

Ngai Tahu CEO Lisa Tumahai says, "Very significant for the whanau from here and an acknowledgement of Rakihia Tau Senior who lodged the claim on behalf of the Ngai Tahu Māori Trust Board and he was the ūpoko of this marae as well."

Members of the Ngai Tahu tribal community are called together, all generations and hapū partake in rua year post-settlement festivities.

Ngai Tahu kaumātua Sir Tipene O'Reagan, "It gives us an opportunity for the wider tribal community in a relaxed way to be part of the process of the reinvention and redevelopment of their undertaking."

Justin Tipa (Ngai Tahu) says, “To see all of your relatives and share conversation and share food, you just can't beat it.”

Olly Cranefield traveled from a long way to attend the hui.  He says there aren't many Ngāi Tahu where he lives so it's nice to be around familiar faces.

Olly Cranefield (Ngai Tahu) says, "I've just enjoyed being around other Ngāi Tahu because being in Gisborne there's not really many, most of them are Ngāti Porou.

Festivities included kapa haka, with hapū merging to create larger groups. This was a highlight for Lucy Tonihi who performed on stage at Te Ata Kura.

Lucy Tonihi (Ngai Tahu) says, "I've enjoyed the whakawhanaungatanga, performing at the Ata Kura and seeing Ardijah live, that was cool."

Tumahai says, “It was just wonderful to see how much effort had been put in by each of our hapū to celebrate our culture on stage yesterday with Ata Kura."

The Rūnanga also released a new cultural mapping website and book called Tāngata Ngāi Tahu.