30 students from Kings and Queens High School in Otago gathered to celebrate Anzac Day, a first for the marae for many years.
Paulette Tāmati Eliffe of Ngāi Tahu says, “Allowing a space for our rangatahi to get a feel of the impact those tūpuna heading away from their hau kainga and how that impacted on the whānau left at home. “
More than 20 Māori soldiers from the hapū left their lives at home to fight overseas. According to local elder Edward Ellison, a lot of a knowledge was lost in their absence.
He says, “When they left they had elders who were highly respected about kaupapa Māori in Ōtākou. When dad came back one of the regrets he had was that those elders had passed on and so that link to te ao Māori was lost.”
At the end of this year, the students will be carrying the stories and messages of their forefathers to the National Kapa Haka Competition.
Komene Cassidy says, “As the saying goes, lest we forget. If we don't pass on the stories of our forefathers to the next generation coming through then we will forget. We must carry them on so they will never forget who they are and where they are from, and for them to hear how brave and strong their ancestors were.”
Tūmai Cassidy says, “I think it's important because the stories give us an insight into the lives of our grandfathers and their lives.”
These stories will no doubt live on through these young people.
There is truth in the saying, lest we forget.