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Various --- "He Tikanga e Pa ana ki a Tainui - Tikanga some Tainui experiences" [2007] NZYbkNZJur 3; (2007) 10 Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence 1

Last Updated: 24 April 2015

He Tikanga e Paˉ ana ki a Tainui – Tikanga some Tainui Experiences

This first article draws together excerpts from a transcript taken from a recording of a panel session during which highly esteemed kaumātua (elders) from Waikato-Tainui talked about tikanga and responded to questions from the audience. The panel was chaired by Matiu Dickson, Senior Lecturer, Waikato University Law School. On the panel were the late Ngahinaturae Te Uira, rūruhi,1 translator extraordinaire, expert in te reo Māori, and recipient of Te Tohu Amorangi, an award given to people who have made an academic contribution to the University of Waikato; Iti Rawiri, rūruhi; the late Bob Rawiri (then Chair of Ngā Marae Toopu);2 and Koroneihana Cooper, respected kaumatua and advisor to the Police. We were also fortunate to have participating in the symposium, respected kuia, Hinekahukura (Tuti) Aranui, who once held the position of kuia of our law school, and Elizabeth (Noki) Haggie who currently holds that position.

Some of the key themes raised during the interactive panel discussion included a challenge to the University of Waikato to collaborate more meaningfully with the tangata whenua in whose tribal area the University is situated. During the panel session, the kaumātua were consistent in emphasising that although each one of them hailed from Waikato-Tainui, each iwi and hapū that affiliate to the Tainui Waka confederation, such as Waikato, Maniapoto, Raukawa, and Hauraki, has their own tikanga. The panel also discussed the significance of the Waikato River as an ancestral river and roles of women in Waikato-Tainui, and in particular tikanga relating to karanga.

Set out below is some background information and commentary intended to contextualise the discussions that took place during this session. First there is an explanation about the make-up of the Waikato-Tainui tribal confederation.

Prior to the colonisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand by the British, the indigenous people, now commonly referred to as Māori, were identified by tribal and sub-tribal affiliations, and traditions. Each tribe maintained its own traditions concerning such things as the beginning of the world, the origins of humankind, and the genealogy of the stars. Many of our songs, our prayers, our chants and so forth reflect these aspects of our tribal histories.

1 Rūruhi is a word peculiar to Waikato-Tainui peoples, meaning tino kuia, or most especial

female elder.

2 A collaborative group of marae that affiliate to the Tainui waka. Both Ngahinaturae Te Uira and Bob Rawiri passed away in 2007 and this special edition pays special tribute to these pillars of Tainui in ‘Poroporoaki – Farewells and Acknowledgements’, above.

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Tribal members continue to identify themselves by reference to geographical features of sacred significance and announce their allegiance to and citizenship of these collectives. Tainui is the name of the waka (canoe) that travelled to Aotearoa from Hawaiki. Tribal confederations that affiliate to the Tainui waka include Waikato, Maniapoto, Raukawa, and Hauraki. In the panel session, the kaumātua refer to Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu who passed away on 1 August 2006. During her reign as Māori Queen,3 Te Arikinui headed the Kīngitanga, the King Movement, which began in the 18 0s, some years after the arrival of Europeans, and largely as a unified response by a number of tribes to the upsurge of unauthorised land sales.4 It was also designed to bring an end to intertribal warfare, and to achieve mana motuhake, or separate authority.5 While the movement enjoyed the support of many tribes, it became centred in the Waikato region in the central North Island. Tribes from all over the country, including the South Island, had debated who should be offered the kingship, and those debates resulted in the reluctant agreement of Waikato chief, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, who was raised up as king in 18 8. Pōtatau was soon succeeded by his son, Tāwhiao and it was during Tāwhiao’s term as King that the settler Government, seeing the Kīngitanga as a threat to its stability, sent its forces across the Mangatawhiri River in July 1863, labeling the Waikato people as rebels and subsequently confiscating Waikato lands and driving people away from their villages alongside their ancestral river.6 One of the first major Treaty of Waitangi settlements in this country focused on providing redress for raupatu, the massive confiscations that occurred in and around the Waikato region, affecting all of these tribal groups that affiliate to Tainui. While the governance structure that facilitated the raupatu settlement, the Tainui Trust Board, contained representatives mainly from Waikato, it was also representative of certain hapū from Raukawa and Maniapoto in particular who are named beneficiaries of Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust – hence the references to ‘Waikato-Tainui’. One of the elders in the panel discussion also speaks of Ngāti Hauā leader, Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi Te Waharoa, who in the nineteenth century played an active role in installing King Pōtatau. Wiremu’s vision, it is said, was one of Māori control of Māori affairs within traditional leadership structures, strengthened by the confederation of tribes in support of the Kīngitanga. He believed in a system of Māori law, influenced by Christian precepts, maintained by Māori.7

3 The term ‘Te Arikinui’ means The Great Chief, though the term bestowed upon Dame Te

Atairangikaahu at her coronation was ‘Kuini’ or Queen.

4 See Michael King The Penguin History of New Zealand (2003) chapter 15, and see <www.> for historical accounts of the King Movement.

5 David McCan Whatiwhatihoe The Waikato Raupatu Claim (2000) 32.

6 By Orders in council under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1893, the Crown unjustly

confiscated approximately 1.2 million acres of land from Tainui iwi.

7 Evelyn Stokes Wiremu Tamihana Rangatira (2002).

2007 He Tikanga e Pä ana ki a Tainui 3

The kaumātua make special reference to the ancestral river during the discussion. The nature of the special relationship between the Waikato people and their ancestral river is epitomized in this well-known proverbial saying which pays tribute to the strong leadership in the many communities that live along the banks of the Waikato River, and also alludes to the metaphysical nature of the River.8

Waikato taniwharau! He piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha

Waikato, of a hundred chiefs! At every bend, a chief

Another key feature of the panel discussion concerns karanga, very important expressions used to connect the spirit world with the physical world. Karanga have been described as cries of welcome. They are usually high pitched calls performed during pōwhiri, traditional welcome ceremonies. Karanga were traditionally carried out by elder women of a tribe with tuakana status within their family (such as elder siblings), who had the necessary skills and experience to enable them to undertake the task appropriately.

There were also some questions and comments about the role of women generally. By way of background, before 1840 Māori women were significant leaders, organisers and nurturers at both whānau and hapū level. They were explorers, poets, composers, chiefs and warriors, heads of families, and founding ancestors.9 Much has come to be written about the complementary nature of the roles of men and women prior to colonization,10 that neither gender was necessarily superior to the other. Māori women certainly had rangatiratanga, and at times it was superior to the authority of men. Māori women had rights over land and resources. Unlike her Pākehā counterpart, these rights would not become her husband’s property if she married. Thus, the traditional role of Māori women was inconsistent with the colonial culture

8 The relationship is also recognised in a Deed of Settlement between Waikato-Tainui and the Crown which focuses upon restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the ancestral river and proposes a new era of co-management over the Waikato River: ‘Deed of Settlement in relation to the Waikato River’, 22 August 2008, Office of Treaty Settlements,

<> at 26 November 2008.

9 Linda Smith ‘Māori Women Discourses, Projects and Mana Wahine’ in S Middleton and A James (eds) Women and Education in Aotearoa (1992) 35; Annette Sykes ‘How are Māori Women doing 100 Years Later?’ 1993 Women’s Law Conference 161-162; and Huia Jahnke ‘Māori Women in Education’ in P Te Whaiti, M McCarthy and A Durie (eds) Mai i Rangiatea: Māori Wellbeing and Development (1997).

10 See for example, Ani Mikaere, ‘The Balance Destroyed: The Consequences for Māori Women of the Colonisation of Tikanga Māori’ Degree of Master of Jurisprudence Thesis, University of Waikato 1995, now reprinted as Volume One, Mana Wahine Thesis Series (International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education, Auckland, 2003). See also Cleve Barlow Tikanga Whakaaro: Key Concepts in Māori Culture (1991) 148-9.

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in which power and authority was the domain of males.11 There are many examples of how Māori adopted or ‘internalised’ colonial values, or how these values were imposed, and how various tikanga and kawa and ways of doing things changed as a consequence. Examples can be found in Māori Land Court records. Pat Hohepa quotes an example from 1891 of men challenging, on the basis of gender, the right of women to be trustees on a Māori land block.12

As a result of this form of assimilation, Māori women became unnaturally subordinate in Māori society.13 In terms of women’s speaking rights on the marae,14 it has been argued that it is a misunderstood and abused issue of our culture because the role of orator is seen by many as having the most mana. And, because of this misconception, women are sometimes regarded as secondary to men. Finally, it is important to note that this editorial commentary is intended to provide context to the issues discussed during the panel session. The words of the kaumātua themselves are paramount.

Panel Discussion

Ngahinaturae (Ina) Te Uira

Ina began by posing the question:

Is this a beginning for a closer consultation between the faculty and the iwi of the catchment area of the University of Waikato?

Ina also noted the irony that while the symposium was about ngā tikanga o Tainui, they, the kaumātua of Tainui and therefore the tangata whenua (first people of the land) were welcomed as manuwhiri (visitors), and a teina (younger sibling) delivered the karanga to her own tuakana (elder sibling). Ina went on to suggest that perhaps a more appropriate venue would have been to hold symposia such as this on the marae.

Every marae is hapū based and the iwi is a collection of hapū. We (in Tainui) are responsible for the Kīngitanga. We are te ‘porotaka namatahi’, the ‘first circle’. Each iwi and collection of iwi has their own tikanga. Waikato have their own tikanga, Hauraki have their own tikanga and so on. The University catchment area is a big area. The first tumuaki, Wiremu Tamihana, had his

11 Pat Hohepa and David Williams ‘The Taking into Account of Te Ao Māori in Relation to

Reform of the Law of Succession’ (Law Commission Working Paper, 1996) 29-30.

12 Ibid.

13 Law Commission Justice: The Experiences of Māori Women (Report 3, 1999) Chapter


14 Kathie Irwin ‘Towards Theories of Māori Feminisms’ in R Du Plessis (ed) Feminist Voices

(1992) 18.

2007 He Tikanga e Pä ana ki a Tainui 5

vision; that of a Māori society in control of their own destiny working in partnership with Pākehā and participating in Pākehā law to determine what is best for themselves.

Koroneihana Cooper

Following a short mihi, Koroneihana confirmed that each one of us has our

own tikanga although we are from the same waka of Tainui.

I think it’s important to understand where we come from. We relate to kaitiaki, we relate to the Kīngitanga. I think that it is worth remembering that when Waikato were made kaitiaki of the Kīngitanga, we were bestowed with the great honour of looking after the Kīngitanga. Today we have Te Arikinui and our role is to look after her. When this honour was bestowed upon us we do not whakapapa. If you were to ask us about our whakapapa, it starts with Pōtatau. That becomes our whakapapa. It is the most important part of us.

Matiu Dickson (Chair)

Matiu responded to Ina’s question about the University:

That is the reason why we began this symposium with this session. We need to have a connection to Tainui and the other iwi in the catchment area. We draw our students from all over the motu. It is important to know where our students are coming from.

Question from the audience

The following question from the audience was posed by a Māori woman who was studying towards her Master of Laws degree. The question referred implicitly to the ongoing debate about the role of women during formal welcome ceremonies.

How much is our tikanga an imitation of tauiwi? Especially when we hear debates about women speaking on the marae? How much is adapted from tauiwi? At the moment I see our kaumātua making concessions. I don’t like that, either you follow our tikanga or you don’t, otherwise you lose your identity. One of our tikanga, that I learned is that when you have a big hui, you have one speaker follow after another, in other words a person from the tangata whenua is normally the last speaker, somehow in Tainui we have made these concessions, everyone should have the right to reply, we should not be making these concessions, some do not know the rules, but you can guarantee if you follow the tikanga, they will know the rules when they leave and when they return again.

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I believe in the sacredness of women. So when women speak out there, the tapu is lifted. For us [not allowing women to speak on the marae] is not demeaning our women. Women are sacred because they are the wharetangata. We envelop ourselves in karakia, we look at it like this in Waikato, we honour our women but we also come back to what I mentioned earlier, the sacredness of women and until we decide otherwise and Te Arikinui says so, those are the ways of our tūpuna and those are the values that we should hold on to. Te Arikinui maintains the tikanga of our people, in the meantime Te Arikinui chooses to speak under the mahau of the whare.15

Ina Te Uira

This is a question that affects many of our young people but it is also an issue for our generation. Even this environment, this kōrero should be taking place on a marae. In Tainui women do not speak on the marae ātea. But women may speak after the kai, such as at a poukai. Poukai were first established by King Tāwhiao in 1863, for ngā pouaru, te pani me te rawakore, the widows, the orphans and the destitute. There are 28 poukai. After the raupatu millions of land was confiscated. Tāwhiao worried about how he could keep the tribes together. That was why he set up the poukai, ka riro nā te kapua pōuri rātau... ka riro mā te tokotoko ki te kapu ‘led through the pillar of fire’... This was the environment in which Tāwhiao set up the poukai, that’s where we learned to practice, that’s where we hope the young will come to listen, to watch and to learn. It is after the luncheon at a poukai when women may get up to talk. I remember way back when there were only three women who stood up to do that. Iti is the only one left alive from that time.

Iti Rawiri

I just want to speak on women. Our young women don’t think of themselves as being important and precious because you are the whare tangata. I cry in my heart when I see our young women wanting to have the same rights as a man. I would debate anything with a man, but I know my proper place is to bring up my family. I am proud to have had my family when I was young, they know how I feel. Women you are precious. Maybe the world has changed. In my time we didn’t have to worry about what was going on, there wasn’t much going on, but today you have everything going on. A woman has to do what she has to, but you are precious and you bring the babies into the world and teach them. We are giving over to the Pākehā world a mix of these things.

15 The mahau is the verandah or porch of an ancestral meeting house. Current Waikato-Tainui

Tikanga requires that women do not speak on the marae ātea, or open courtyard.

2007 He Tikanga e Pä ana ki a Tainui 7

Matiu Dickson

I have seen a situation where a man will get up and talk, and I have seen him shut down by the women on the paepae. If they are going on and on, or a speaker is going all over the place and is out of control, how would you control that speaker?

Response: I have seen this happen in the Far North, interposing by women from wherever they are. Personally I have never seen that in Tainui.

Question from the audience:

There are a number of new things happening these days, more and more there seems to be Pākehā karakia (prayers) coming in to things, and we are losing our own. Our world is changing. [Translation]

Koroneihana Cooper

We have recently been asked how do we feel about the Waikato awa? Waikato is living to us, we talk to the river, and we greet the river, we talk to the river. People probably don’t understand this part of us, we go there we have a karakia, and still to this day we ask that those taniwha look after us. Those who are not familiar with our language would not really appreciate our relationship with our ancestral river. [Translation]

Bob Rawiri

There are traditional differences between tapu and the noa. I want to acknowledge Ngāti Kahungungu. I took a group to Waitaia Lodge, and that is where I first heard about the concept of airwaves. A woman from Ngāti Kahungungu, Rose Pere, came to talk. My wife had arranged for women to come to this wānanga on karanga from as far as Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungungu.16 Rose Pere spoke about the airwaves, she told the women to go up in the bush and do a karanga in a normal voice. That’s where the word irirangi came from,17 it relates to the pitch of your voice.

Hinekahukura (Tuti) Aranui

Going back to the question asked by one of the students today. It’s not so much that we are making concessions. Tikanga has been set by the people of that marae in order to protect the mana of the people. When you go to that marae, you don’t question it, you don’t impose it. If you watch long enough you will

16 Te Arawa is a tribal confederation that encompasses the Rotorua area. The Ngāti Kahungunu tribal regions include the east coast of the North Island from the Wairoa area to just north of Wellington.

17 Irirangi literally means to hang in the air. In modern times, the term irirangi has come to

mean airwaves. Reo irirangi has come to mean radio.

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see why that is so. He manaaki i te manuwhiri. It is about taking care of visitors. When you talk about mehemea kia whakautu (whether or not to respond after the laying of a gift), the tikanga we at Maniapoto have is, if you stand up and reply to that person, you are actually asking for another koha. When that koha has been put down that is the end of your kōrero. There have been changes, but that is not up to us to ask ‘he aha tēnā?’ what is the reason for that?

This is a reply to the question about why do women not stand up to talk on the marae, they do. They are the first speakers on the marae, they are the first and the last voices on the marae. They have cleared the way for the men to verbalise the concerns of the kaupapa of that marae. They do have that permission, if you haven’t got the reo, then get with it, learn it. There are no excuses. I asked my mother to teach me how to karanga, she turned around and asked me ‘where have you been?’ That was a slap in the face for me - but was also the best thing that she could have done for me. Because I had to ask myself where had I been? Why had I not listened to her and watched her...

Koroneihana Cooper

We (the orators) listen carefully to the karanga. They have prepared the way for us. We know who is coming and why, as our women have told us in the karanga. As these women do the karanga the visitors are listening to what the women are saying and then prepare themselves for their part.

Ina Te Uira

I have a comment about the reference to the airwaves. I brought a group of people onto the marae at Porirua, Ngāti Toa. My voice was the only voice that went out. I must have hit the right note, because I felt the wairua of 300 women with me. On a second occasion I attended a hui in Taumarunui and was asked to do the karanga for the Minister of Māori Affairs. I did a karanga and must have reached the right note again as some of the Pākehā told me they got chills up their spines.

Question from the audience

This question was asked by a staff member of the Māori Land Court:

Thank you to the Law School for sending an invitation to the staff of the Māori Land Court, the topic is really interesting to me. I am really curious about the tikanga incorporated in the Māori Land Court. I am a mobile officer for the Māori Land Court and we come across some tricky situations. We travel around the motu and we have a big catchment area. I work in Waikato and Maniapoto. What I would like to know in the context of our systems and the Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, is how to address conflicts between marae trustees and kaumātua? [Paraphrased]

2007 He Tikanga e Pä ana ki a Tainui 9

Bob Rawiri

This is one of those questions where there is no right or wrong answer. Here in Waikato we have Ngā Marae Toopu. A lot of the raruraru or troubles amongst my people on the marae are about people wanting to have a say in the way things are run, and often we are governed by the laws of an incorporated society, or the law of trusts. This is the dilemma we face as a people. [Paraphrased]

Elizabeth (Noki) Haggie

Ko au te whaea o Te Wāhanga Ture. I am the whaea of the Waikato Law School. You heard me karanga today. I know that before I do anything I always go to my tuakana, my older sister Iti, for guidance. To participate in the formal welcome ceremonies on behalf of the Waikato Law School is part of my job and it is expected of me. Last week we had a pōwhiri for the New Dean. I know what should happen, I had already asked my sister if this was the right way of doing things. We have already had hui about the tikanga o Tainui. I spoke from my own experiences on Tūrangawaewae, as the kaikaranga welcoming the visitors coming in, the kaikaranga is telling you who is who. I know in other areas say Te Arawa they all speak first, but in Waikato, it is speaker for speaker, I think Waikato has got it right.

Matiu Dickson

I was at my grandfather’s house on Matakana Island, when the door slammed, and he said ‘ko wai tērā’ at that very moment his older sister died. I have never forgotten that. I wanted to thank our speakers again and to reiterate the question posed by Ngahinaturae to begin our discussion today: are we going to do this once every five years or are we going to have an ongoing debate? I thank all of our guest speakers today.

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