Ko te kupu te mauri o te reo Māori

Te kōhanga reo o Waiwhetū i te tau 1985 (click for image credit)

Te kōhanga reo o Waiwhetū i te tau 1985 – Waiwhetū kōhanga reo, 1985 (click for image credit)

Tērā te kōrero a Tā Timi Henare,
Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
Ko te kupu te mauri o te reo Māori.
E rua ēnei wehenga kōrero e hāngai tonu ana ki runga i te reo Māori.
Ko te reo, nō te Atua mai.

Ko Te Wiki o te Reo Māori tēnei, ā, ko te kupu o te wiki te kaupapa. Āpōpō – koinei te kupu tuatahi hei whakahua ake mō te reo o te wiki.

Ahakoa, ko te kupu mō te wiki nei, ko ‘āpōpō’, i te tuatahi ka titiro ki tainahi. I te tau 1972 ka tukuna te petihana mō te reo Māori ki te Pirimia i Whare Miere. I te tau 1975 i whakaritea Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. Nāwai rā, ka puta mai tētahi o ngā hua o te petihana, ko te ture mō te reo Māori 1987.

Kei te pae tukutuku nei o Te Ara ngā tuhinga kua whakamāoritia. Mō te kaupapa nei, arā, mō Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, kua whakaputangia ngā tuhinga Māori mō te hapori. Arā anō te Tangihanga, Te mana o te wāhine me Ngā poropiti.

Nā, ko Tautoko ngā rangatira mō āpōpō ki te kōrero i te reo ināianei.

Tērā te kōrero a Tā Timi Henare,
Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
Ko te kupu te mauri o te reo Māori.
E rua ēnei wehenga kōrero e hāngai tonu ana ki runga i te reo Māori.
Ko te reo, nō te Atua mai.

The language is the life force of the mana Māori.
The word (te kupu) is the life force of the language.
These two ideas are absolutely crucial to the Māori language.
A language, which is a gift to us from God.

This is Māori Language Week, and the framework is a kupu (word) of the week. ‘Āpōpō’ (tomorrow) is the first kupu to be focused on this week.

Although the word for the week is tomorrow, it is useful to first look to what has happened in the past. In 1972 the petition for te reo Māori was delivered to the prime minister at Parliament. In 1975 Māori Language Week was established. A little over a decade later, one of the outcomes of the petition for te reo Māori would be the Māori Language Act 1987.

On Te Ara there is a large quantity of Māori content that has been translated. As part of Māori Language Week all the Māori entries written for the Social Connections theme – including Tangihanga, Te mana o te wāhine and Ngā poropiti – have been published in Māori. Furthermore, all of the biographies of Māori from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography have been translated.

Nā, ko Tautokongia ngā rangatira mō āpōpō ki te kōrero i te reo ināianei.

All these resources can be used, so ‘tautokohia ngā rangatira o āpōpō ki te kōrero i te reo ināianei’ – support the leaders of tomorrow to speak te reo today.

The trip of a lifetime – 28th Māori Battalion pilgrimage

Kaitaki Abraham Karaka (Ngāti Maui, Ngāti Pūtaanga, Te Whānau a Hinerupe, Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora), seen here at Souda Bay cemetery on Crete, navigated the group onto many a sacred place

Kaitaki Abraham Karaka (Ngāti Maui, Ngāti Pūtaanga, Te Whānau a Hinerupe, Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora), seen here at Souda Bay cemetery on Crete, navigated the group onto many a sacred place. Pic: Pila Lolohea

I have a great job looking after the 28th Māori Battalion website. My work is an incredible privilege. I spend my days with the men of the Māori Battalion, at the time when they were in the prime of their lives and fighting a war in distant lands ‘for God, for King and for country’.  Many of them didn’t make it home, and many returned irrevocably changed.

In May 2014 I was part of a once-in-a-lifetime tour that travelled to Tunisia, Italy, Greece and Crete.  The tour was organised and led by historian Monty Soutar. The majority of our tour group were descendants of soldiers that had fought with the Māori Battalion, most affiliated to C Company – Ngā Kaupoi from the East Coast. We visited many of the places where our Papa fought and died and where some of them now lie.

Whakamaharatanga – Commemoration

We held a service at every cemetery we visited; it was integral to our journey. We honoured our fallen soldiers with prayer, song, tears and maumahara – we remembered them, their families who suffered through their loss and their ultimate sacrifice.

Visiting these cemeteries I gained a real appreciation for the care that our soldiers are given by the home people. For Māori, custom for honouring our dead requires that the tūpāpaku (deceased person) be returned for burial to their ūkaipō (home). The care shown goes some way to allaying this separation.

Cassino cemetery. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Cassino cemetery. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Kei wareware tātou – Lest we forget

These places of such sacredness and tranquillity are an important part of the story of war. It is heart-wrenching standing in a cemetery full of young men who died in the prime of their lives and far from home. The impacts of war are very real and apparent.

Haka, Forli cemetery. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Haka, Forli cemetery. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Māori Battalion veteran Nolan Raihania accompanied us during the Italy leg of our journey. It was a privilege to have him travel with us and share his experiences and recollections of the war and his comrades. In Italy we were joined by students and teachers from East Coast secondary schools. Along with members of our group they performed songs and haka before Nolan and his fallen comrades at Forli cemetery. This was an important part of our commemoration. Many of the songs are old and were once performed by some of these men. Some of the songs have been composed for them; the men would have never heard them before.

Pt 209. Pic: Pila Lolohea

Haka at Pt 209. Pic: Pila Lolohea

Battle sites

Tebaga Gap, Tunisia

Battle site visits were another integral part of the trip. We stood on the same ground where our forefathers of the Māori Battalion had fought and in some circumstances died.

Pt 209 and Hikurangi at Tebaga Gap in Tunisia was the first site we visited. Hugely significant, this site is synonymous with the deeds of Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu, gaining him the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross. We had descendants of the Ngārimu family and of the other men who had died there with us. We were also the first Māori group who had been there since Bully Jackson and other soldiers returned to bury the bodies of their comrades who had died there in 1943.

We held a service and paid tribute with songs and haka.

I learnt so much from visiting the battle sites; it brings a whole new perspective to my work. I also gained a huge respect for the German soldiers. The privates on the other side were in much the same position as ours.

Being there and trampling those grounds also instigated a lot more questions. Being at Tebaga Gap brought to the fore the futility of war. And I wondered, what were they doing there – all of them, the Germans included. What kept them there? And was it all worth it? Perhaps the latter question is something we as descendants need to respond to by making their sacrifices worth it.

Takrouna, Tunisia

Not long after the battle at Tebaga Gap, the Māori Battalion were again at the spearhead of another attack. Takrouna is renowned for the deeds of Haane Manahi and Sergeant John Rogers. Sadly, Rogers died here. Manahi was recommended for a Victoria Cross, but was instead awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Ngā tamariki o te kohu – Leanne Tamaki and Karina Ngaropo in front of Takrouna

Ngā tamariki o te kohu – Leanne Tamaki and Karina Ngaropo in front of Takrouna. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Because I’m Tūhoe and a descendant of B Company soldiers, Takrouna has personal significance for me. A number of our Tūhoe men fought and died in this battle, including Timi Pokai (who was reinforcing C Company at the time), Tu Pioioi Rangiaho and Te Naawe Tupe. They are all buried nearby at Enfidaville cemetery, along with John Rogers. Tahae Trainor received a military medal for his deeds here. He survived this battle only to die at Cassino in Italy.

Haka, 42nd Street. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

Haka, 42nd Street, Crete. Pic: Leanne Tamaki

42nd Street, Crete

The whole journey was an exercise in ‘following in the footsteps of our ancestors’. A very poignant example of this was at 42nd Street, an olive grove in a little village on Crete. This is one of the sites where the Māori Battalion forged their fierce reputation. Roused to action and inspired by Hemara Aupouri, who started the tūtū-ngārahu (haka performed in the moment of battle) on the embankment, they killed 80 Germans, a third of the attacking force.

As a tribute to this event our group did the haka ‘Ka panapana’ and ‘Ka mate’, led respectively by Hemara’s great-granddaughter Rhia and his close relative Tawhai Aupouri.

Our group. Pic: Mike Jonathan

Our group. Pic: Mike Jonathan

We were all part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip and the bonds we have made will be treasured.

E kore e mutu aku mihi ki a koutou e toku Whānau Rima Tekau. He nui aku whakaaro me taku aroha hoki ki a koutou, ka mau tonu a au te rama o te pūmahara. Aroha tino nui!

A Dutch play

The youngest children at Waiuta School dressed as flowers, under the command of Gwen Jones (right) as a fairy

The youngest children at Waiuta School dressed as flowers, under the command of Gwen Jones (right) as a fairy

When I was researching the work of mining-town photographer Joseph Divis a few years ago, I came across a small group of images of children from Waiuta School, apparently dressed in costumes for a play or plays. There were no labels, and no one could tell me anything about the play. Waiuta is now a deserted mining village, and the school was closed in 1951.

In 2009 I took the photographs to a meeting of the Friends of Waiuta in Christchurch, and passed them round to see if anyone had any ideas. To my delight, Gwen Poole (nee Jones), then in her 80s, had vivid memories. She was the fairy in the photograph above, and remembered that the play, performed at Waiuta in 1933 or 1934, was called Jan of Windmill Land. It was a musical written by Clementine Ward, and widely performed through the British Empire – on Papers Past you can see reviews of when it was performed locally by Southbridge District High School in 1931 and Miramar South School in 1938. This musical was particularly suitable for schools as it had parts for children of all ages. The youngest children were flowers under the control of their guardian fairy.

The older children dressed as Dutch men and women, with some ‘men' pretending to smoke pipes

The older children dressed as Dutch men and women, with some ‘men' pretending to smoke pipes

The older children played Dutch men and women, dressed in traditional dress. It was a wholesome picture of Holland seen through British eyes – possibly rather different to the memories of the large number of Dutch settlers who came to New Zealand.

The play contained a segment about the Dutch festival of Sinterklaas, when St Nicholas (known in English-speaking countries as Santa Claus) arrives in Holland accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) and his black assistants wearing golliwog masks.

Jan and his friend together with Sinterklaas, Zwarte Piet and his black assistants

Jan and his friend together with Sinterklaas, Zwarte Piet and his black assistants

Gwen Poole remembered that the costumes, which were circulated around different schools by the Education Board, arrived at school in boxes. There was great competition among the children for different costumes as everyone wanted a golliwog costume.

Present-day readers may be horrified at the images of boys smoking pipes (or at least pretending to) and children dressed in golliwog costumes – a reminder of how ideas about what is appropriate or offensive changes over time. I wonder what parents in 80 years’ time will tut-tut about when they look at pictures taken in 2014.

Source: Simon Nathan, Through the eyes of a miner: the photography of Joseph Divis. Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2010.

In praise of academic creativity

Scholar and anthropologist Mākereti (Maggie) Papakura, around 1910  (click for image credit)

Scholar and anthropologist Mākereti (Maggie) Papakura, around 1910 (click for image credit)

Today we launch four stories about creativity in academic disciplines in this country – Anthropology and archaeologyMāori studies – ngā tari MāoriLinguistics and Philosophy. The idea that academic work is ‘creative’ may at first sight surprise those who associate the university with boring lectures and examinations – indeed one of my esteemed colleagues suggested that ‘academic creativity’ is a contradiction in terms, like ‘military intelligence’. Creativity, you might say, surely belongs to the arts – such as dance and poetry and painting. Funding agency Creative New Zealand does not support academic work.

These stories firmly undermine such prejudices – the idea of the ‘open society‘ developed by the great philosopher Karl Popper, who taught at the University of Canterbury from 1937 to 1945, or Lisa Matisoo-Smith’s ingenious use of the DNA of rat and chicken bones to trace Polynesian migration across the Pacific are but two examples of the creativity to be found in these stories.

Of the four disciplines represented, philosophy is the oldest, its origins lying with the ancient Greeks. It is a highly international pursuit, but our story shows a remarkable level of contribution by New Zealanders or people based here. They included Arthur Prior and Max Cresswell, internationally recognised logicians, and Jeremy Waldron, a philosopher of law, who is represented by a fascinating conversation in which he traces his life from Invercargill to New York. The philosophers are a brilliant, sometimes eccentric and often colourful breed – Otago University lecturer Dennis Grey caused a bit of a shock to post-Second World War Dunedinites by wearing lipstick to his classes.

Logician Max Cresswell, with train (click for image credit)

Logician Max Cresswell, with train (click for image credit)

Anthropology first began to claim existence as a discipline about the time that Europeans reached New Zealand, but the early practitioners were not academics. As our story shows, early anthropology here came about from Europeans’ desire to understand, and attempt to control, Māori. This included explorers such as James Cook and governors such as George Grey, who was quite explicit that he studied Māori language and culture in order to govern them. Later there were surveyors, interpreters and Native Land Court judges. At the end of the 19th century the Polynesian Society was founded, partly impelled by the desire to record what was widely believed to be a ‘dying race’.

Along with European enthusiasts, the Polynesian Society also attracted some very significant Māori scholars – Āpirana Ngata, Māui Pōmare and Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hīroa) – and it is fascinating to look at this story alongside Ranginui Walker’s one on Māori studies– ngā tari Māori. As the 20th century unfolded Māori studies began to emerge as a separate discipline out of anthropology. As early as 1926 Ngata had tried to get Māori language accepted as a BA subject. This did not happen until 1951, when Bruce Biggs was allowed to teach it at the University of Auckland, and it was not until 1978, at Victoria University of Wellington, that Māori studies first became a separate department. Meanwhile, anthropology and archaeology developed their own professionalism and began to explore the archaeology of non-Māori topics such as Chinese gold-mining communities and West Coast coal mines.

Linguist and Māori studies scholar Bruce Biggs undertaking field work in Papua New Guinea, 1959 (click for image credit)

Linguist and Māori studies scholar Bruce Biggs undertaking field work in Papua New Guinea, 1959 (click for image credit)

Linguistics was another late 20th century off-shoot, with its origins in both English and anthropology. Bruce Biggs again played a founding role in the recognition of linguistics. The first separate department was at Victoria in 1988, and once more there was an expansion into exciting new areas of study, many with a New Zealand focus, including the history of New Zealand English and of the New Zealand accent, and sociolinguistics, which explored, for example, speech in work places and how speech is affected by gender. For a young subject, linguistics in New Zealand has been extraordinarily impressive in its researches, and the country has given the world some outstanding lexicographers and sociolinguists. I particularly point you to the eloquent interview with the New Zealand-born and Israel-based scholar Bernard Spolsky, who makes the case for New Zealand becoming a multilingual society.

These four entries are packed with fascinating stories of inventive individuals and intellectual pioneers who have helped to reshape our view of the world. I dare you to possibly claim that they are not highly creative people.

Writers, adieu

Te Ara writers (from left) Peter, Ben, Megan and Mark

Te Ara writers (from left) Peter, Ben, Megan and Mark

Yesterday Te Ara bid a very fond farewell to four of our writers, who leave us after completing all their stories for the Creative and Intellectual Life theme, which will be launched in October.

Ben Schrader joined us when he worked on the Wairarapa regional story in 2006; Mark Derby and Megan Cook began working here in May 2008, after we had finished all the natural science content and were focusing on historical and social subjects; and Peter Clayworth arrived three years ago.

It’s not easy writing stories for Te Ara, and the four have done the job magnificently. The challenge is to present up-to-date, accurate stories aimed at a general audience and in a web-friendly manner. You first have to read everything that has been written on a subject to take your understanding to the very frontiers of knowledge. On occasion, when other researchers have not travelled the territory before you and written helpful secondary texts, you have to start from scratch and search newspapers and original documents to piece together a story. So, some Te Ara stories become original contributions to knowledge – for example Ben’s one on Street life, Megan’s on Strip clubs, Peter’s on Weekends and Mark’s on Camping (amazing that there are no researched books on the history of camping and the weekend, true Kiwi institutions!!). Sometimes there is so much material already published that you have to read and read and read, and then try to boil it all down.

Once you have collected the evidence, you have to make it work on the web – distill the essence of the story in clear, simple, direct prose, all neatly organised into pages of around 500 words, signposted with headings and enriched with natty topic boxes that amuse and illuminate. Creating a good topic box is a real art – look, for example, at Ben’s great box on Elbe’s Milk Bar in Lower Hutt, or Megan’s one about the addition of the smell of rotten cabbage to LPG.

Once you’ve written your story, then you have to turn it over to the scrutiny of fellow-historians, such as myself. Questions are asked, red pencils come out, and we all try to ensure that everything that you, the reader, would want to know about a subject is appropriately answered.

So now we have a clear, neatly ordered text. Then images and media (or, as we call them, ‘resources’) are chosen to illustrate the story, and the writer is faced with a new task – to write captions that both illuminate the wider story and explain the resources themselves. You also have to choose biographies of appropriate people to link to each page, and select further sources that might be useful to readers.

Finally, there is the task of dealing with the queries that come in from editors and the growls that come down from the senior editor’s desk (ie, from me), and the story is ready to go up on the web.

But that was only half the writer’s job. Their other role was to check, restructure and, at times, even rewrite stories that have come in from outside authors (experts in their field but not always familiar with the requirements of a Te Ara story). Often this was a comparatively easy task; but on other occasions it required the sleuthing skills of a detective and great tact and sensitivity. As checker, the writer had to ‘own’ the story from then on – writing the captions and overseeing it through to publication.

We, and you, have been wonderfully served by the four departing writers, for each has brought to the task their own interests and background knowledge. Ben brought a fascination with the city and a passion for architecture and design; Mark brought a fluency in te reo Māori and a wide knowledge of labour and Māori history; Megan brought an interest in gender and ethnicity and developed a real interest in subjects as varied as rugby league and modern dance; and Peter brought a broad knowledge of labour and social history and an extraordinary ability to sleuth the truth out via Papers Past. He was also our morning Dompost quiz king. Together these four people were responsible for about 350 of our 1,000 stories.

So we are sad to see these four fine historians leave; but it is a mark of how close Te Ara is to finishing the first run-through of all the initially planned subjects about New Zealand and its people. In the future the task will be to keep Te Ara refreshed and up-to-date, and to add new content as the country changes. We are confident that a smaller team of writers will be up to the task. But they have a great tradition, firmly established by our departing friends, to live up to.

Farewell, Ben, Megan, Mark and Peter – thanks for the huge contribution you have made – and thanks from all our users.