Matua Hare Paniora From: Waimamaku, Hokianga. Northland Current: Owairaka - Maungawhau. Tamaki Makaurau Korero: 2023 Born: 1939 Ko Pīwakawaka te maunga Ko Hawaiki te papa kainga Ko Te Whakamāharatanga te marae Ko Ahuriri te wāhi tapu Ko Te Roroa, Ngāti Pou ngā hapu Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi Ko Hare Paniora tōku ingoa I was brought into this world in 1939, in the Waimamaku Valley, Hokianga, to Reuben Taurau Paniora and Te Ani Hoka. Most families didn’t speak Māori – my mum and dad included, despite being fluent in te reo. – but our elders did. Our grandfather would tell us amazing stories in Māori. Although I never understood at the time, it all came back to me later on. The Anglican Gospel came to our area in the early 1800s. My great - grandfather and his era took on-board the European influence very quickly. They ran with it and didn’t really protest. They really took on everything from the colonizer. I remember being frightened of one particular elder of that era. He wore glasses that hung down with his eyes peering out, a watch and chain, the monocle, the waistcoat, and the walking stick. He, like many of our people, dressed impeccably like the European. They used it to their advantage, announcing or portraying their mana. There were five siblings in our family. Two of my brothers died in infancy, so there were three of us growing up, my sister Betty, my brother Sam, and myself. We had very little in terms of material things but had lots of warmth and love. When you compare it to today, it would be hard: no carpet on the floor; NZ weekly as wallpaper to keep the draft out; water from a tank; no hot water. In our bedroom there were windows, but no glass, just a sack hung over the frame. I often tell my grandchildren that we had instant air conditioning. ‘You had air conditioning?’ they’d say. ‘Absolutely!’ Today, if I talk to my son, he’s like, ‘Oh, terrible!’ But we never thought like that. We just accepted what little we had at the time. We’d be on the dusty road, playing for hours with old chicory coffee bottles. We’d go down to the creek, take off our clothes, and jump straight into the river, then lie on the large stones to dry. The river, the beach and the sea played a big role in our growing up. We didn’t celebrate or know about Matariki, but we knew when to fish, and we followed the elders. We knew where not to go. We knew the signs; the old people told us that if three waves come crashing over, it’s time to go. It’s a warning, because you won’t see the fourth one. I enjoyed school immensely. There was no mātauranga Māori at all – we had that from our community, our marae, our parents and elders. I went through Waiotemarama Primary, then later to Waimamaku Primary and then to the adjacent Waimamaku District High, where we were all encouraged to participate in sports -rugby, netball, cricket, tennis and swimming. The local river became our swimming pool, with the willow lined banks our changing sheds. Rugby was likened to religion. When we played other schools, the whole community would be involved. The pinnacle of our 1st XV would be recapturing the noted Ling Cup and victory over Northland College 2nd XV. Church played a huge part in our lives during my younger years When the bells chimed, you’d see the kids, dressed up, running across the paddocks to get to church. We’d have Sunday School, then the elders would come in and the main service would start. Going to the marae, or church was part of the life of the whole community; the church, the school, and the marae were all central to the over-all well-being of the community. We had European families in our community who secured land much earlier on from the crown. I do not know why, but our people put them on a pedestal. There was a lot of respect in the valley, and it was two-way with the Europeans. They were so lovely to our people. Some of them even spoke Māori. My family owned our land, which finally went to my dad. After mum died, he remarried. It is still there, but there are many owners from our extended whanau now. What I have instilled into our children and our grandchildren their whakapapa, whakatauāki, maunga, marae, papa-kainga, awa, moana and whenua. In wartime, like all young men, Dad went off to war. They were keen to go, not knowing what they were getting into. Dad took the photo of the three of us with him – Sam, Betty, and me in our Sunday best. We always refer to it as ‘the three stooges. Dad and Graham Smythe were the two from our valley who joined the 28th Maori Battalion. Graham had also three children, but unfortunately forgot to take the photo of his three children. Prior to their final farewell from the community, they were both invited to one of the elders home and was asked to bring a large bottle of whisky. Upon their arrival, the elder took the whisky and placed it in the cupboard and locked the door. He turned to the two standing in complete silence, and proceeded to recite a blessing of protection, and following its completion, then informed them both that one will return, and one will not. During the campaign Dad and Graham always had their karakia- prayer before our family photo, then they would attend the batallions karakia-prayers led by Canon Wi Huata. During one particular prayer before our family photo Dad was concerned that Graham did not show up but was relieved when he appeared at the main service led by Major Huata. Later that evening Graham was listed as killed in action. Dad always had the photo of us with him. It was his way of connecting to home. Photos are important to all Māori, as they become the vehicle of connecting with those who have passed away. Dad served six years in the 28th Māori Battalion as second lieutenant. He was awarded several service medals. I was very young when he left, so I didn’t really know who he was when he came back. When Dad was away, Mum had the three of us to take care of, as well as our four cousins after their mum died. My mother would keep the house very clean. The floors were scrubbed just about every day with sand soap. It must have been quite tough on her with Dad not there, but it happened to everybody. It was normal, and she was always supported by her whānau. I loved my years at Waimamaku High School, and was unsuccessful with School Certificate, so I left to work in the Waipoua forest. I enjoyed working with the men. We had Europeans, Māori, all sorts. We had the riff raff of Hokianga. I ended up working with a junior woodsman who just happened to be the younger brother of All Black Patrick Walsh. We’d run around through the trees, passing the ball in our hobnail boots! Oh, gosh, we were so fit! The camaraderie was wonderful, but I was looking forward to something else. In 1957, St Stephen’s College in Auckland were doing a tour around Northland to recruit students. The teachers knew Dad from being overseas together. They asked him, ‘You got a boy?’ ‘Yeah, he’s in the forest.’ ‘Go and get him,’ they said. Dad and Mum asked me if I would go back to school to get my School Cert, which I did. My parents did everything to send me to St Stephen’s. It was so expensive. They had to kill a cow or a pig to pay for the fees, or sell bags of kumara or potatoes. But then, this is what most families did. St Stephen’s came at the right time for me. I arrived on a Friday, and on Saturday I played for the First XV and scored the first try against the old boys – not because I was brilliant, but because I was in the right place at the right time! I stayed there through 1957 and 1958 and toured the South Island, playing First XV rugby, and participating in the kapa haka group. I was fortunate to take the Senior Tennis title in my second year. I am ever so grateful to St Stephen’s for allowing me to experience many Maori and European families, and to see so many parts of Aotearoa. They were pivotal moments for me, experiencing two worlds and two different cultures. Things took a turn when my teacher, the esteemed Hoani (John) Waititi, was involved in a car accident and lost his license. As a result, I became his chauffeur. He owned a new-model Zephyr, a blue DeLuxe. Oh, it was beautiful! My friends would sit in the car and pretend to drive it. It was so cool, Oh but everybody hated me! We’d drive throughout the night, all over. He had a teaching role at Queen Victoria so I had to dine with girls; He’d be at a tennis meeting; a Māori meeting; at the university; We’d be going until two or three in the morning. I’d get a bed from someone until he’d wake me up. ‘Come on, we’re off!’ Hoani would only speak to me in Māori. I understood what he was saying, although I couldn’t speak back. Working with Hoani was a real eye opener for me. I gained a lot of experience and I met so many elders from different tribes. Hoani was just what Māoridom needed. He was the new young Māori who was really moving ahead. He accomplished extraordinary work for our people. He could never say ‘no’. When he was in his late thirties, he passed away from bone cancer. He could never say ‘no’. When he was in his late thirties, he passed away from bone cancer. I honestly believe that all this work he did for Māori is what really killed him. St. Stephen’s gave me two amazing years. It enabled me to get to where I was wanting to go, and become more visible in terms of things Māori. Although I had a very good upbringing, those two years helped shape what I wanted to be, and that’s how I began my journey into the field of education. After two years at St Stephen’s, I entered Ardmore – the only residential teachers’ college in NZ at that time. There were a lot of Māori, Pacific, and European students. The Māori Club was full of Europeans! We all lived together. I loved it there. Even now, we’re still having reunions. I was part of a singing group, called the Ardenaires. We sang professionally. It was one way to get extra money, and it was fun. I couldn’t read a note, but I enjoyed immensely being with the group.! We won a lot of talent quests. At Ruia Morrison’s farewell concert in the Town Hall, we were given the opportunity to support the star attraction which was the Howard Morrison Quartet. We sang our version of Lonely Street, and the wonderful enthusiastic crowd wouldn’t let us go off the stage. We had to sing another one, and another! Howard was ropable, as they had time for only 3 items. After Ardmore, I arrived at my first job at Papamoa Māori School, Tauranga, in 1961. Before I left, I went home. My grandfather gave me clear advice. He said, ‘Kia tūwhera ō kanohi, ō taringa, ko tō waha kia katia.’ Your eyes, your ears you keep open, your mouth, you keep it shut! That’s exactly what I did, and I’ve never regretted it. On my first day at Papamoa, the elders said to me, in Māori, ‘Hey young fella, you will teach our children spelling, writing, arithmetic and English. But anything Māori, you leave that to us.’ That didn’t actually happen; they didn’t look at anything Māori. I carried on doing things that I thought were appropriate. The guitar became my saving grace in supporting all songs, action songs, choral work, stick games, and of course the poi. I could also speak some Māori. I would go on to teach in primary schools all over the North Island for another twenty-five years. Rugby was still a big part of my life. Playing at Mt Maunganui, I had a near fatal-accident where my neck snapped. I was about to play for Bay of Plenty against the Springboks, but I ended up in hospital for three months, and that was my dream gone. They worked on me with weights and extra physio activities. The process was very painful and I did go back to playing rugby. My first game back, I somehow got the ball. I glided right through the whole team and put the ball down under the post. Not because I was brilliant, but because everyone was too afraid to tackle me. They didn’t want to put me six feet under. That was the end of my rugby, and due to many people at the Mount, it led me to discover the wonderful game of golf, which I am still active in. At 84 years old, I still continue to manage playing off a single handicap! Before my brother and I left Waimamaku, my father didn’t do a karakia for us. I’m not blaming him but, subsequently, my brother suffered an accident and was paralysed, and I had mine soon after. My brother was a volunteer active in Malaya. He was paralysed, not in action, but from diving off the rocks with his mates. He was hospitalised for ten years before he passed. The day he came out of the hospital overseas was the day I went into the hospital in Tauranga with a fractured neck. I’ve always had a feeling that they spared me and took him. The elders read a lot into these things. They said to Dad, ‘You didn’t give a blessing to your sons before they left.’ I felt so sorry for him. He had to just take it. We never talked about it afterwards. I was teaching at Omanu School at the Mount when I met Mary. She was a dental nurse. I’ll never forget when she first arrived. She went past the classroom, and I thought, ‘Geee!’ Even the headmaster noticed how much I was frequenting the dental clinic. ‘Oh, I had a sore tooth.’ ‘Sore tooth, be damn!’ he’d say. We had lot of laughs! Mary and I started going together. There was never a thought about race or anything. Her mother was just a wonderful mother-in-law. The fact that we both played golf was good. It was Mary’s mother who said to me, ‘I think you two better get married.’ We looked at each other, and I thought, ‘Yes!’ I mentioned to Mary that my grandfather had seven wives and outlived all of them. Mary checked if this was in my genes. I said, ‘I’m not planning on having any other wives! That’s finished!’ She said, ‘I’ll have that in writing!’ We’ve been together for fifty-five years now. We have two children, Lisa and Simon. They were born in Matamata, as we moved around as I taught all over. I wanted our kids to have a secondary education in Auckland. Today, we still live in the house in Mt Eden that our kids grew up in. Lisa is now a physio, and Simon is the creative type – a writer, photographer, designer and NZ Postie. We have three beautiful grandchildren who live nearby and spend a lot of time with us. When I first took Mary up north to meet my parents, my dad couldn’t move quick enough! Mum said she had never seen him mow the lawns like that! When our daughter was born, we went to see my brother Sam in hospital. He was lying there, and as I put our daughter on him, she started to play with his beard, that caused him to wail, to cry within himself. We both felt for him. That night, he passed away. I was thirty-six years old when I was given the opportunity to speak in te reo- which had been mostly dormant until now. I arrived home at 2:00 am for Sam’s tangi. The elders were all waiting for me. I entered the wharenui to a crescendo of high pitch wailing from the kuia. I went to my brother, then went through the process of meeting everyone. I then lay under my aunties eiderdown. She whispered, ‘Are you asleep?’ Like a fool, I said, ‘Yes.’ I was so scared. I could hear the heavy footsteps of the kaumatua coming towards me. He tapped my foot three times, laying his tokotoko at my feet. I had to wake up. There was a huge hush as all eyes were focused on me. The rows of elders were all looking at me as they held firmly to their tokotoko. If there was a hole, I would surely have gone through it. I took hold of the tokotoko, stood up, and, to my astonishment, the words just flowed from my mouth. What was happening? I quickly realised that it was my brother Sam, telling me to get my backside into gear because it was now time for me to korero. I would not have spoken in te reo if my brother was alive, because he was the tuakana-the eldest. I was ever so grateful to him. Mum and Dad couldn’t get over it. All the elders knew exactly what was happening. The women started wailing because they could feel it. It was a huge moment for me. Although I had my rugby accident, I was given a second chance.. I'll never forget that Sam was the one who did this for me. My twenty-five years of primary teaching were followed by teaching for six years as a senior lecturer in Māori Studies at Auckland Teacher’s College. It was a wonderful opportunity to share, with young aspiring minds, the development and inclusion of Mātauranga Māori into the NZ Curriculum. 1991 I was appointed Head of Centre for Puukenga at what was then called Carrington Polytech in Auckland. At my induction, I noticed that it was white, male-dominated, and didn’t appear to have any clear understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi. I didn’t come to change their thoughts, but to open minds within the Māori world. I was hugely influenced by elders and tohunga like Sir John Turei, Takutai Wikiriwhi, and Haare Williams. It was the depth of their knowledge that I really appreciated, and acknowledge my tuakana Haare for writing the philosophy for our Department of Māori Studies. He was very instrumental and laid out the five values and principles that still hold up Te Noho Kotahitanga today. It was for both Māori and non Māori, and also for all students and employees attending Unitec- Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka. From there, we set the ball rolling right across the institution. The creation of Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae was a huge project-kaupapa and is something I am very grateful to have been a part of. Haare Williams was the Pae Arahi and the first Māori in any of the education or political institutions to be at the directorate level. It was wonderful having him there. Later, he went into TV, and I was offered the role of Pae Arahi, with a directive to value, appreciate, and foster equality. A lot of history has gone down here at what we now call Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka. There’s the old psychiatric hospital by Point Chevalier, where the spirits continue their presence around the buildings. I went in there during the 2000s quite regularly, and it’s very sad. Underneath is a dungeon. Historically, what they were doing to contain patients was using all that electoral equipment and chains for the hands and legs; they’re still there. The walls are like an alcove where they put them; the blood is still there from the banging of heads. Oh, boy, when I saw that, I cried really. Ka tau mai te tangi, te maemae, me te aroha i roto i ahau.- I absorb within me the tears, the pain and the love. But there is also the history from long before that. One of my roles is ‘cleansing.’ I’d have students asking me things like, ‘Could you come to my room, because I hear chanting,’ or, ‘I can see a kuia sitting in my chair and can’t sleep.’ I remind them that they are very close to a trail that the spirits walk. The spirits go way back. The first thing I tell them to do is clean up their flat. I invite them to say a little prayer, in Māori or English, to talk to the spirits and ask them to be the caretakers of their flat when they are on leave. During my time here, I have seen an increase in Māori students, and the future for education feels good. Unitec is about to become a new community of high-rise accommodation – and right in the middle is the marae. The whole area will be realigned, and marae protocol may not be observed. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out, but it is happening whether we like it or not. This is a Marae for all – not just for Māori, but for everybody. That’s the reason it was built. There will be changes, we have a new landscape now. It’s a new era. I am concerned. I continue to be involved with Principals and staff of fourteen schools - from primary to secondary - giving support and guidance for openings, closings, and blessings in Mātauranga Maori and Tikanga. I have also been involved in renaming schools with aligning narratives. Equality in education is for all diverse cultures, not just for Māori. How a particular school environment responds to that is wonderful. Every child should have the opportunity to experience mātauranga Māori, tikanga and te reo Māori at primary school. Our children and our grand-children are central to our lives. What pleases me most is seeing how they are becoming more willing and active in seeking the many aspects of their Maori heritage. I always remind them to never forget where they come from and to understand our tikanga. In 2018, I received the Order of Merit Award for services to Māori thanks to Unitec who initiated the application. There was a big welcome at Government House. The entire process was very formal, regal, and indeed very special. The karanga and mihi whakatau gave credence to the historical significance of the Tiriti o Waitangi. Interaction with Governor General, Patsy Reddy was the highlight. I was called up, the citation was read out, and then [we were] ushered into a room by ourselves for photos –and there before me were large portraits of the British Monarchy. Here I was receiving the Queen’s Award! On one hand, I’m getting this great honor—oh, very impressive!—but on the other hand, I couldn’t help but think of colonisation. So much of our land was pinched, all Māori land, and here are the colonists, right in my face, looking at me! But I looked at my mokos, my whole family who were with me, and I knew I needed to accept and appreciate being there and acknowledge the history. I couldn’t help but be grateful for the taonga that my mother and father gave me all those years ago, ‘We think it’s time you go back to school.’ I went to St. Stephen’s and the rest is history. It is tikanga for Māori to return to their birthplace on their passing. I always enjoy visiting my parents, grandparents, and family there. When I go home, they say, ‘We can put you up there,’ in our cemetery, Ahuriri. That’s my parents, my grandparents, my brother, my relatives—the whole lot of them – but they’re not my wife. While I respect the words of my elders, I don’t want to be way up there and Mary way over here. We have been married for fifty-five years. We need to be together, forever. _________________________ Foot note: After 32 years, I am grateful and give thanks to all my colleagues from Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka for all their support, manaaki and aroha. Finally, I give grateful thanks and blessings to my wife Mary for being the inspirational pillar of our whanau, a wonderful mother to our two children, and the loving, caring grandmother to our three grand-daughters.
Hēni Goldsmith From: Tauranga Moana Kōrero: April 2023, Sandringham, Tamaki Makaurau Born 1931 Iwi/Hapū: Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi; Jewish I was born into a Māori shearing family to Mere Witeri and George Goldsmith in Gisborne, 1931. My grandmother Witeri was off the Takitimu waka. My mother met my Jewish father, whose forefathers jumped ship while the Goldsmith family was trading in Poverty Bay. They were originally from Liverpool. Some [of them] went back to the kibbutz, but some of the other boys were tired of it and they hid among the Māoris. The Goldsmiths were like rabbits and multiplied. The Jews and Māoris mixed, and I am one of those. I was the only child – brought up among the sheep, dogs, and horses. My mother died of a blood disease soon after I was born. She died from bleeding because nobody had cars in those days, there were only horses. My father went off to find another wife, so I was raised by my maternal grandparents. I grew up with the basics – no electricity or internal water – just the essentials, really. As a child, my maternal grandmother didn’t speak English at all. She hated the English language, but as kids, we’d be bringing it back from school. She’d get the straw broom and whack us if we spoke English. She’d say, in Māori, ‘You kids are revolting because you’re using a language that I hate. What’s the matter with your own language?’ To get by, I had to speak English. My maternal grandfather spoke Māori and must have spoken some English because I remember him talking with my father. I could barely speak English myself, but I used to have to take my grandmother to the shop, which was also like a bank, to get her pension. She’d tell me in Māori what it was she wanted, and I’d say: ‘My grandmother would like sugar,’ or whatever, and I remember feeling that she was being ripped off, especially with her pension payout. I felt it then, and I still feel it now. In today’s world, I would have said something. We lived in a Māori village until my grandad died. After that, my grandmother and the grandchildren travelled for about a year, staying with different relations. We’d stay in places, like Torere, until she was ready to move on. Eventually, we returned to my grandmother’s tribal land – [she was] Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui – in Tauranga Moana[SMK3] in the late 1930s. She brought me up in Māori fashion – everyone was related. We were just one big family all living together in those days. I’d call out to grandmother, ‘I’m staying here for a meal!’ or, ‘I’m sleeping here!’ We shared everything. What you had was mine, and what I had was yours. This is how Māoris lived. These were happy times. It was in the late 1930s in Tauranga that I had my first experience of feeling shamed for being Māori. I went to Ōtūmoetai School, which was just up the road from where we all lived. There was a mix of Māori and Pākehā students. The Pākehā kids were just like us, really. Then one day when I was about seven or eight, we were at school and a bus pulled up with a Māori driver [who said to] us kids, in Māori: ‘Etu ngā tamariki Māori e haere ki te waka.’ (Stand up children who are Māori and get onto the bus.) The bus took us to Te Paeroa Native School in Bethlehem, about twenty miles from where we lived. We were no longer allowed to go to our old school. No one explained why and no one was consulted, we were just sent off in another direction. Before we got off the bus, our driver said, ‘You’re not allowed to talk Māori here once you go through the gate. You’ll all get punished for speaking Māori.’ We were all worried because most of us were quite limited with English. We never knew why we were being shipped off. I only found out recently that it was because the Pākehā parents got together to get us out of the school. Looking back now, I pick up on all the feelings and how I remember it. But as a child, I just accepted what the grown-ups said. When we got to the “new” native school, there were some Pākehā children there. I remember sitting on the bus and looking out the window at the white people who had everything – books, shoes and socks, a bag with their cut lunch – while we just had fried bread in our pockets. They were dressed in uniforms, and we just had the clothes we normally wore. We never had shoes; that’s how we were brought up. If you’re brought up without things, you don’t miss them. It’s only when you see others that you want what they’ve got. We were all saying, ‘Look at them – they’ve got shoes and socks and bags... I wonder what’s in the bags.’ [The feeling was] just shame. It was strange. So we arrived at the school, and I remember being asked if I had nits. I said, ‘We all do,’ so we were put into lines and out came the kerosene bottle, which was poured all over our hair. The dental nurse is another awful memory. I’m sure they trained on us. It was cruel, and we cried and screamed. I can still feel it to this day. We now had to walk for miles if we missed the bus, and it would take us hours. Then we’d get into trouble for being late. There were some days we just didn’t go if we missed the bus. It wasn’t really safe to walk either. Us Māori kids sat together [at school], but we couldn’t talk to each other in our own language. The teaching methods were so different from how we talked. It was so formal – “This is Mother; this is Father, this is John…” I mean, who speaks like that? So we didn’t really get on so well with English, and we were trying to sneak our Māori words in. We were told what to do and were learning to be Europeans rather than to be Māori. I’d get whacked at home for speaking English and whacked at school for speaking Māori! During this time, all the missionaries and teachers were Pākehās. They couldn’t pronounce Māori words and would ask us things that we didn’t understand. They got no answer from us! We’d also have to garden, but our way was so different and we’d get into trouble for doing it wrong. Our way was to pull all the plants out, weed them, and then put them back. This was the way we knew. We’d get into trouble for doing it this way, the Maori way, a different way. We were shamed for doing it our way. I was called Janie at the Native School; before that I was Hēni. Janie was easier for them to remember, so I had to answer to that. When I got to Standard Six, the headmaster [SMK4] [so5] singled me out and asked what I was going to do at high school. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and said so, but he said to me, ‘No, you’re not good enough,’ and put me in “commercial”, which is the class to learn manual labour and work on machines. Māoris never talked back then. They never got beyond helping as assistants. But Māoris didn’t lack brains. I was a fighter, always fighting for my rights. I think this was the Jewish strain! This was who I was. I pushed hard. I was more than assertive. I got into trouble a lot of times, but I thought that was normal. If you want something, you fight for it. I still think this is normal. Growing up, I spent time with both my Gisborne Goldsmith grandparents and my Tauranga whānau. I learnt to be self-supporting and self-reliant. I didn’t think much about it. I stayed with my dad’s adopted parents because my father was with new wives. He was a character. All his wives were Māori, so my stepbrothers and sisters were like me. Living with my father’s foster family, everything felt restricted and I felt lonely, though I did have the experience of speaking English there. On my marae, which consisted of about twenty homes, it was like living with a herd. We shared everything – our meals, our chores... It was fun. There were many contrasting things in my Pākehā family home. It was very formal and we never dared to touch anything unless we asked. In my Māori home, we had an apple whenever we wanted. When I was with my father’s family, I had to learn to wear socks and shoes. I remember being dressed in a pleated skirt and twinset with a hanky to show in my pocket. I used a toothbrush and toothpaste, which I never did in my Māori home. I was happier with my Māori grandparents. We’d go eeling and fishing and food was plenty. Life was exciting. After being put in “commercial” in Standard Six, I managed to sneak into “vocational” the year after, where I could look at possibilities such as nursing. By the time I got to high school, I got into “professional”, and that was for teaching. We were the first pupils from the Native School to go to Tauranga High. I sat the School Cert and failed the first time. The Europeans I knew encouraged me to go back and sit School Cert again, so I went back and flew through. I was the only Māori who got School Cert [that year]. Us Māori didn’t have the background in English. It was our second language, so we were always behind. I was one of the few that went to Tauranga High School from the Native School. Most finished after primary, but I wanted to better myself.[SMK6] [so7] I rode a bike to school. I had to walk it up the steep hill. I remember it well. I experienced shame all the time when I was at Tauranga High. I tried to protect myself by going and sitting at the back [of the class] – where we should sit, according to them. It was easier to cut us off. We’d have to listen to all the Pākehās answer everything we knew. We’d know the answers, but we’d be laughed at if we didn’t make sense and pronounce things wrong. I did have trouble saying the words right all the time. We did things differently. I still do… I talk a lot with my hands and use a lot of expressions to show what I’m trying to explain. The teachers would throw digs at us Māoris. We’d wonder if it was an insult, good or bad. We never got the opportunity to say the answers that we knew. They just thought we were dumb. We became dumb, and many left school. Very few got to School Cert standard. Later, many of the other maraes in Bethlehem started sending their children to Tauranga High. Sometime in the 1950s, after I got School Cert, I applied for teachers’ college. I didn’t get in to begin with and was offered a position as a teacher’s aide instead. I wondered if that was because I was Māori. But I had an uncle, Dr Maharaia Winiata, who was esteemed and educated by the Methodists and had been sent to Edinburgh. He taught the Māori king to speak English. This was my mother’s cousin. He called all his connections, and a week later I was on my way to Auckland. He kept an eye on me, and I went through and got my teacher’s certificate. He saved me! He saved me from being a teacher aide! There were quite a few Māori from the north who knew how to get their students in, but there was no emphasis on things Māori at all at teachers’ college. I sat next to Rangi Walker at the back, and we would mutter under our breath in Māori. We’d have a giggle. The thing with teachers’ college is that you mix with the same kind of people. We all had the same driving force – to teach children how to become individuals and have a place on earth. We weren’t thinking about what we had or didn’t have. The director at the college would comment on how I kept putting my hand up. He’d say, ‘You just want to fill in the space,’ like it was a bad thing. He said, ‘You have to stop that. You’re here to learn the theory of education.’ I said, ‘But this is the way we learn, and we use any method we think we need.’ As Māori teachers, we just share, share, share – our thoughts, our dealings, what we eat... That’s what we had always done. I kept speaking te reo to survive, especially to fit in with Māori[SMK8] [so9] s There were enough Māori sin Auckland to support each other. We all had different ideas from Europeans, and we still mumble under our breath if things aren’t right! We’d complain! We’d come up with our own sign language! After Auckland Teachers College, I met and married Claude McAndrew from Wairoa. I went on to teach at North Clyde School. We were planning to go to Fiji together, but I went on my own and taught at the gospel mission school for a while, then returned to NZ because of bad health. Claude later had a heart attack while playing soccer in Mt. Eden and died. My second husband, Alexander “Lex” Watt, was Scottish. We built a house it in Mt Roskill and I was married to him for twelve years. He was a cadet in the Air Force and a handyman. He was so gifted but had a mental illness. His family tried to hide it from me, but I found out later. It was sad. The children really needed him. We had three kids at this stage. I was getting older, so we had the children quickly – two girls and a boy. I needed to leave Lex and went out on my own. I had the mortgage and the kids to bring up, but there were other people worse off than me, and I had no choice but to be positive. My kids were happy but didn’t get extras because we couldn’t afford them. They had most things, though. My experience as a single mother in Sandringham had to be positive. I had no choice. I had to work, but I was able to leave my children with the neighbours. The neighbour already had eight of her own children but she loved children and would always say, ‘Leave them with me and go to work.’ So I did. I taught all over – Mangere Primary and Intermediate, Wesley, Edendale, and so on. Around the 1960s, I moved to Mt. Roskill. Being Māori in Tamaki [Makaurau] was okay. Everyone was used to Māoris there. The better educated you were, the more you could see a future for Māori. I couldn’t speak Māori in the classroom as it wasn’t really allowed, so we ran Māori clubs for those children who were interested. We’d get them to shout, poke their tongues out, yell, wave their hands about and be fierce! There were quite a few Māori kids at the schools I taught at. In a loose kind of way, they were about their whanau and had that freedom. The Māoris had woken up to the fact they weren’t educated, and now they were keen. They could use their own mana and power to make their people more educated. The songs were coming in, the hakas… Not as strong as they are now, but still... Māoris were now stating to be educated but the problem was, they had to get rid of their language and their Māoridom. We were being made European. But it didn’t work. We just became ashamed to be Māori and of the things we did. When we realised that we still had our mana, we rose to the occasion – and we’re still rising. Biblically, us Māoris were clued up. Our people were wowed by it! They cottoned on to all things Christian. Māoris are spiritual people. We already prayed all the time – when eating food, going somewhere, or when someone died. Our people wanted to be led by something definite and bigger than what they knew. When I was sixteen, I met the Lord; he became my father and my mother and has made a difference in my life. Throughout my life, I have sought to serve him. I remember meeting Bunty Nuku, and later her family from Motiti Island. We’d eat fresh fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was no other meat! They were Christians, and I was impressed with their love for the Lord. I was baptised in the sea. I have spent my later years as a missionary teacher, teaching in Fiji, China, India and Tajikistan. I’d been a teacher for forty years and my life experiences allowed me to enter the world [of the local people], wherever I was. I’d always make a point of saying hello in their own language. I would eat with them and play with them, and if they slept on the mat, I’d sleep on the mat. If they ate with their fingers, I’d eat with my fingers. I kind of looked like them and acted like them, and they’d say, ‘That’s what we do here!’ Apart from the language, it was all the same. Our fingers were going and our hands were going every time we spoke. I never had any trouble in all the countries I lived in. I’ve lived in Sandringham-Roskill for a long time – sixty years. During that time I travelled the world as a missionary teacher. When the kids left home, I downsized to the place I’m in now. I’ve been here in this house for twenty years. I love living here! There are not many Māoris here today, but everyone calls out, ‘Hello, Aunty!’ Some are Pākehās... all races really. There is a mural on my front gate – it’s about Mātariki. Of course, for most of my life Mātariki wasn’t celebrated and I knew nothing about it. It was hidden. Our ancestors followed the nine stars from where they were to the place they wanted to be and created the mythology of Papa and Rangi. God has many eyes. We like to follow the eyes around the world. The eyes of God, but also the beginning of Mātariki. My front gate has been a real community effort. The students at the Māori school down the road painted it for me. On the end panel, I wanted to leave space that could be added to. People would walk past and take an interest, and I’d get them the white paint to paint the stars – even the children and teenagers did it. One boy wanted to do a conch shell, welcoming people to New Zealand. The children made stars and hung them around on strings. It’s a wonderful mixture of all cultures, not just Māori. I now have five grandchildren, two great grandchildren. My grandchildren are very much involved in the Māori way. [I believe] my job on this earth was to be friendly. [And] I am. The street looks after me, and I look after them. I feel wonderful about being a Māori because the Lord has looked after me through all of those difficult parts of my life, but he’s also shown me that I can enjoy the beauty of working for him, here and in other countries. God made the difference. I had to trust and obey, which I did. [I truly feel] we’ve got our mana back. Side note: In 1939, Ōtūmoetai Primary removed Māori students to be placed in the Bethlehem Native School. Hēni Goldsmith was one of those students. The removal of the children came about in the late 1930s after the Ōtūmoetai School committee of Pākeha parents successfully asked the Department of Education to make the school European-only and in 1938 all Māori children from Ōtūmoetai Primary School be moved to Bethlehem Native School. Consequently, on November 20, 1939, forty-two Ngāi Tamarāwaho children ranging in age from six to thirteen years were enrolled at Bethlehem Native School instead.
Lynda Toki From Maniapoto Current: Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae, Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka, Tāmaki Makaurau Kōrero: 2023 Born: 1950 Iwi: Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua Hapū: Ngāti Kinohaku / Ngāti Pēhi / Ngāti Te Kanawa I was born in Waitara, Taranaki, and grew up in Maniapoto. It was a rural upbringing on my tūpuna whenua at Waikawau, on the coast between Marokopa and Awakino. I grew up with my grandparents. My mother was one of those children that got caned and strapped every day for speaking te reo at school – even her name was changed at school, from Hutukawa (an ingoa tūpuna) to Poppy – and my grandparents didn’t want my generation to go through the absolute abuse within those schools at that time. Before I turned three, the whānau moved to a place called Māhoenui. I heard years later that the reason we moved there was so I could go with my koroua to whare wānanga. This was in the 1950s. A lot of things were prohibited back then, like speaking our reo and our tohungatanga, but our taonga didn’t stop. It just went underground. I became a shadow to my koroua and his mother, when she was able to come from Marokopa. At the age of seven, I was “contracted” by my great-grandmother to carry on her work. She told me that when I reached my kuiatanga, I would find myself in wānanga. At the time, my attention was elsewhere – I heard hopscotch and knucklebones or marbles being played outside – and I said ‘no’ to my great-grandmother. It was when my koro asked, ‘Well, what do you think you’d like to do when you reach that age?’ that I responded saying I wanted to be a logging truck driver! My beautiful great-grandmother came straight back, saying she’d get me my truck, but I had to work with Te Arawa waka. I was seven! What did that even mean? All I heard was that she’d get me my truck. So, now that I have reached my kuiatanga, I find myself here at Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka – where I welcome our students and communities into our wharenui, Ngākau Mahaki. This is my logging truck, created by Te Arawa waka and built with the help of this community, exactly where my tupuna kuia said I would be. I am the same age now as she was when she “contracted” me. I feel very lucky that I grew up around multiple generations of our knowledge keepers. I always felt loved and nurtured. I was surrounded by old kuia – some were over a hundred years old; one was one hundred and twenty-one. I remember hearing them speaking tātou reo rangatira at the marae when all the elders got together. They never spoke te reo directly to me, but l heard it as they were talking with each other. It was so familiar and, although I am not fluent – I am that generation caught in between – I communicate in te reo, which, for me, is wrapped up in memory. It sits within the memory of the whenua, within the memory of place and space. How lucky was l to grow up within that generation! I grew up around moko kauae – they were everywhere. There is just one generation in my whakapapa that did not get their moko kauae, and that was my grandmother’s, during the 1920s. Eleven of them, including my grandmother, were going through the three-stage process with their tohunga kai tā. After the second stage, they chose not to continue to get their moko kauae, because they would have been “marked” and not accepted into society at that time. They were a generation caught up in the colonial thinking process, which interfered with our tikanga. I feel gutted when I think back to this time – knowing that without this Pākehā interference I would have been part of an unbroken whakapapa of moko kaue. I remember talking with my grandmother when she was eighty-seven, asking if she’d still consider a moko kauae. She went on to tell me that Piki, Te Atairangkaahu [the Māori queen] didn’t have a moko kauae, so she would not get one either. It was then that I had a total understanding of her respect and support for the Kingitanga. I was so happy when the roopu Kuia o Tainui within the inner circle of Dame Te Atairangikaahu (who hinted at a revival of the art of moko) took on this kaupapa after her passing. It began a resurgence of our taonga. I got my moko kauae in 2010. Our kai tā (tattooist) was my niece from Wairarapa Manawatū, who received her training from a wahine kai tā of Rēkohu, the Chatham Islands. As a child I would have these dreams, and still do, that I would wānanga with a tupuna, Nanny Mako from Rēkohu. She’d take me on these whakapapa journeys under the sea and would tell me of the taonga she’d send. Well, I later received that taonga in the shape of beautiful, fossilised mako teeth from Rēkohu! I turned them into earrings, and they’re still my favourites. But the ultimate gift was the kai tā who trained our niece and gifted my mother and me moko kauae. I went home to Maniapoto to get it done and fulfill a promise I had made to my mother – that I would get mine six months after her. She had received hers, and this went on to open the door for all her cousins, her siblings, her whānau, that generation, and for us too. The day after I received my moko kauae, there was a pōwhiri for a gathering of grandmothers at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae at MIT, so that was the marae that welcomed me with my new face. I first came to Tāmaki when I was three, but I didn’t know this until I was in my fifties. I was at Ōtuataua, with a kaiako and students, and during karakia I found myself looking down to my feet. It was a very sensitive moment for me because, for that instant, those feet belonged to a little girl. I could see me with my koroua, holding onto his hand. It was very emotional. My koroua took me everywhere as a child. He was very involved with many hui-ā-iwi, especially in support of iwi within Tāmaki around the tiko ponds and pipelines effecting the Manukau and Waitematā Harbours at that time. I feel very thankful to him and the reconnection to these memories acknowledges that my political involvement began at the age of three. I was on a school trip at the age of fifteen when I next came up to Auckland. We were invited to do a welcome when a passenger liner came into port. I put my hand up to do it, and the manager of Ports of Auckland was like, ‘Wow, that was so great! If you’re ever back in Auckland and want a job, come find me.’ It was then that I decided I was going to come back to the city. It always had such a familiar feel about it, but I didn’t realise why. I arrived again in 1967, as part of the Māori Affairs Vocational Training scheme, which started in the 1950s. This was my introduction to tertiary study, and I was supported by my whānau and Matua Bob Emery from Maniapoto. My first home in Tāmaki was the Methodist Māori Girls’ Hostel in Remuera. I loved being with teenage Māori girls – it was so positive. I was in a Māori world and living in this suburb that had a Māori name – Remuera! I felt very much at home. My world was full of Māori. I was sheltered, I felt safe, and I was fed great kai from our Māori cook. I made friends with girls from across Aotearoa. There were uni students who came from all over, teachers-in-training at Gilles Ave, dentists-in-training, and me. I laugh now when I think of the Māori suburbs I have always found myself living in – I went on to flat in Manukau Road, and now I live in Te Atatū! I met my husband, Leon Toki from Ōkaihau, Northland, around this time in a local milk bar, along with all his mates who had just completed the same trade training course. We were a very tight-knit whānau. I didn’t notice him at first because I was excited to see a whanaunga, Bill Taitoko – who later became Billy T. James! He was a bestie to all of us. Those were great times. Leon and I went on to have four children, seven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Although we parted ways later on, we remained good friends. He passed last year in 2022. As a teenager, after the Māori affairs training course, I ended up in freight forwarding. What I realised in that industry is that you don’t ever separate from your atua. Freight goes by air, sea, across land by road, and rail all over the world. You’re constantly mindful of that door-to-door process and all the things that can happen if there’s a storm, a crash, a collision, and the freight doesn’t reach its destination. How I was raised taught me to develop my mind from our tūpuna processes, by identifying physically and very consciously regarding health and safety applied in practice. When you’re raised within wānanga, it’s always in you. I was working as a customs clerk and got to go over all of Auckland. I was dealing with railways, trucking companies, with shipping companies and airlines for customs clearances, which would also take me out to Customs at the airport. It was a very busy but great life, which included going to many functions all over Auckland. Having been here earlier, I wasn’t blown away by the enormity of the big city. As the city grew, so did I. Years later, when I came into education at Unitec, following students across two campuses, applying our health and safety processes, was a piece of cake! My relationship with Rangi-mata-rau started in November 1991. It was called Carrington Polytechnic at the time. My daughter, after being accepted as a student in October to begin classes February of 1992, didn’t feel she could be here. She was very perceptive and could feel the wairua of the whenua wasn’t right. Given the history of this place, the first mental asylum in Auckland, a lot of things must have happened here. Just like our body, the whenua retains the memory. Some of us have the ability to access memory. It’s all still in the pages of the land. I said to my daughter, ‘You focus on your studies and leave the whenua to me.’ I had no idea how big this place with four gates was. All I knew was that I needed to cater to her needs. I came here looking for a place to work with the whenua. I ended up down at Taiaharau Point Chevalier Beach, and through karakia, I found my place to stand. There, I did my mahi-a-whenua so my daughter could be here. After this, my daughter was able to come and do her studies. It was a safe space for her to be. She was able to focus and succeed as a student. In late 2000, for nine days and nine nights, I heard the karanga of my tupuna kuia in my ear, and I knew it was regarding the whenua. I had no memory of my seven-year-old self, or my time here in 1991, but I could hear in the karanga that it was important. In June 2001, after my contract at the airport ended, I came to Unitec and enrolled in a real estate course, which was great because it grounded me. After an accident where I twisted my hip, three specialists argued in front of me about what to do, so I decided to find out for myself. I came back in 2002 and enrolled in a health course. I wanted to learn more about myself, so I started te reo classes in 2003 at Pūkenga Māori School of Education. I knew I was meant to be here when I saw the wairua of Koro Henare Tuwhangai and Uncle Tuke Tere Waamu standing beside my kaiako, Scotty Morrison of Te Arawa waka. I realised I was exactly where my tupuna kuia said I would be, in wānanga. I remembered that contract like I was watching a slow-motion movie. I was lying on the floor of Ngākau Māhaki, realising, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my logging truck – my waka that Te Arawa waka built. I’m working at Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka, in education, exactly where my tupuna kuia said I would be.’ I was paid when I was thirteen for “that contract” by my tupuna kuia. The payment consisted of a korowai, a piupiu, and two kete whakairo. As an adult, I had to figure out what I needed to give back in terms of time. It’s been a lifetime of learning, and I am still here as the kaiāwhina for Te Pūkenga. That’s what I love about this campus: Rangi-mata-rau – the day of a hundred faces, a starlit night with a hundred faces watching from heaven. When we relate this name to education, they are the faces of our students who arrive on orientation day, bringing with them all they are, regardless of where in the world they come from or their religious beliefs. They bring their whakapapa with them – they do not arrive alone. This whenua is the best medicine cabinet in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, inclusive of the taonga rongoā that grows here. The whakapapa back to Papatūānuku and my own responsibility to be a good kaitiaki to the land, our students, and staff are what continues to ground me. I created a model based on the marae: our flax garden; rangimarie – peace; pūkenga – a vessel of knowledge; manaaki – duty of care; ngākau māhaki – humility, respect, and compassion. These aspects of the marae, Te Noho Kotahitanga, stand together in unity and acknowledge our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Our puna or spring – Te Wai Unu Roa O Wairaka, the long drink of Wairaka – acknowledges that the thirst for knowledge is lifelong, so I remind everyone to stay hydrated as tertiary learning is thirsty work! Multiple generations of nannies and koro have supported and surrounded my growth with the love that I now practice. It’s easy for me to identify with the greatest nanny of all, Papatūānuku, right here at Unitec. Wairaka is the only tupuna kuia named in tertiary education. The other female out there is Victoria (Victoria University). It’s also very symbolic to me that these two women in education have names reflective of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I am also very thankful to the kaumātua who gifted Wairaka’s name to this institution. Unitec has come a long way since I came to do karakia in the early 90s to enable my daughter to come here. There is still a way to go, but I feel very proud to be a part of the change. I love seeing our students, staff, and communities working together – cleaning out our puna or in our pā harakeke. I also love watching the groups of students as they weave their way across campus to the marae for classes or orientation. I love watching the weavers come through to harvest and stay to weave or take the rau (harakeke leaves) away with them. It reminds me of my tupuna kuia, who sat on the floor, weaving. I can’t even get down on the floor these days! Until last year when my mum passed, in her ninety-second year, there had been a constant five-generational whakapapa within my whanau. I think of the generations after me and if I will do the same for my great-grandchildren as my great-grandmother did for me. I don’t think I need to. They are already determined and know how to advocate for their own strength and purpose. Like so many of their generation, my moko-nui will have opportunities to learn our reo and our taonga tuku iho – the gifts handed down through the generations from our tūpuna. There are times I really feel the pull to go home. It is getting stronger, but there are some things I still need to do here. When the time is right, I look forward to moving out of the Auckland rat-race. A subtle calling has been happening for a while now, but I haven’t felt a release from my tupuna kuia yet. It’s feeling closer and closer. When that moment arrives, I look forward to reconnecting to all the ones I grew up with, my whānau, hapū, and iwi – especially all our special taonga of Maniapoto and our marae. I think I am nearly ready. Nearly. But the real question is: Are they ready for me?
Rānana (Nancy) Taituha-Paul Sandringham, Tamaki Makaurau Korero: March 2023 Born: October, 1940 From: Benneydale Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rereahu Waiwaiā te taniwha Rereahu te tangata Rereahu te marae Rereahu te iwi Whaiaro: “By telling my story, I want to bring people from the past into the future.” I’m Rānana, but when I went to school, they’d call me ‘Naana Banana’. I stopped going to school [because of this], so my mother picked a Pākehā name [for me] – Nancy. To this day, I don’t know how I got that name. I got married as Nancy, my driver’s license says Nancy, but it wasn’t so long ago that I needed to get my birth certificate, and found out my name was Rānana.As a kaumatua, I am called Rānana. Nobody likes it because it’s a Māori name. It’s easier to say Nancy in the Pākehā world. But I’m claiming it back. My grandson has said, “Nan, if I have a baby, I’m calling it Rānana.” I hope I’m still alive by then! I’m a coal miner’s daughter from Benneydale. I’m the eldest of a family of seven,. My dad, Tametame Taituha, was born in Hangitiki, near Waitomo. Although he was fair-skinned, he didn’t know much about his heritage or how much Pākehā blood he had. He was fluent in te reo and even served as the deputy head boy of St Stephen’s School. There’s some confusion around my dad’s beginnings – our grandmother gave him away when he was born, so he didn’t know his whakapapa. There was a marriage, a widow, a death, and a new Pākehā man, so we’re just not sure. My mum, Noinoi Taituha, née Te Whare, came from Ahoroa, Te Kuiti. Poor health required her to use a walking stick. When I asked my aunty how my parents met, she told me that my mum used to say that the day she married my dad would be the day she got off that stick. One day, she saw my dad while he was working and decided to throw her stick away. Although my aunty scolded her for it, my mum was determined to marry my dad. He came running down the hill, and they got married. It’s a fairy tale, but I believe it. When I lived in Benneydale, I knew nothing – no language, no Māoridom. I spent most of my life there and learned nothing. I also got the strap on my bum, the strap everywhere just for saying one word in Māori. I remember that well. As a kid, I learned nothing about our marae or what it was for. I went there to work – that was all. I’m thankful that I was a cheeky and nosy kid because I learned a lot from peeking and listening to the kuia through the door. I’d listen to them talk in Māori, even though I didn’t know what they were saying. I remember them singing naughty songs, dirty songs, as they were doing the kopikopi (dance), and they’d all laugh! Decades later I learned what they were singing. Peeking was the most awesome thing I did – it was my learning, though I didn’t know I carried it at the time. Things started out tough for me. I was quite young when I got married and had my first baby. I then went on to have thirteen more children. It was a hard life. We were married for eighteen years. It was a bad relationship, and I came here to Auckland in 1976, the survivor of domestic violence. I have had twelve children [of my own] as well as eleven whāngai. My Pākehā doctor said I needed to get out, so I talked to my kids about who wanted to come with me and who wanted to stay with their dad. There was a lot to sort out. [I left] with six kids and two sugar bags of belongings. My doctor helped me with tickets and got us on the bus to Auckland. I have been here ever since. Before I came to Auckland and met people, I didn’t know anything about Māoridom, my whānau, or much about where my ancestors were from. I didn’t know my maunga, my awa, or anything. It took me a lot more years to really learn. So here I was in Morningside, Auckland, ready to start a new life. It was really hard. I would sit in the room and cry because I’d left the other children at home. Although we lived with my sister, we didn't get much support, and I didn’t really see any Māoris in this suburb. They were either heading back home or living further out. I was able to get a benefit, and that did help. Later, I went to work. I used to catch the train to Parnell, where I’d put nails into boxes all day. My job gave me enough money to see the kids through. My whānau helped look after them so I could work. I never drank before coming to Auckland, but I started drinking, drinking, drinking... I did it because I wanted to be in with the crowd. That’s how I met people. It made me feel less lonely, and we’d have some fun times. For a time, I had a new partner who was twenty-one years older than me. I fell in love with him, but I didn’t know what he was like. He was no good – he was already married and had a whole other family. When he later left me, he reported me to social welfare because I was still collecting the benefit so I could feed my children. I [was sentenced to] nine months in jail for benefit fraud in 1982. I am still paying it back today. I’m not ashamed of going to jail; it’s my story, it’s made me the strong person I am today. In between, I met my Sāmoan man, Tapu, and fell pregnant with my two youngest. I was sad for my children when I went into jail. When I went to court, they put me in Mt Eden prison right away. I didn’t think I’d be going straight to prison just like that. No one warned me that this might happen, and there was no way of seeing my kids and making sure they’d be cared for while I was locked up. There was no one I could talk to, and no one from the courts or prison was interested in helping me. I was really worried about my two youngest girls, who were only three and four. In the end, my aunty came and took them, but that’s another story. (* stats on Māori mothers having to leave their children for petty crime-Sara to complete) I had a good job cleaning up and making the kai in prison, so it wasn’t as bad as people say. It’s like you’re in a home. I had a life while I was in there. I got out after six months for good behaviour. I’m not ashamed to admit any of this. I went through a lot of mud, a lot of dirt, and still came out on top. Me and the kids moved around a lot during the seventies, eighties, and nineties – sleeping on couches and in any spare rooms we could find. My kids went to seven different primary schools. It was really disruptive, but there was nothing else I could do, and there was no support. There was no one I could talk to. I felt very alone at times. Eventually, I got into a Housing NZ home in Mt Roskill in the eighties. Having our own home through Housing NZ changed our lives. I know there were people who didn’t want state housing on their doorstep, but for us, it was life changing. It allowed my kids who were still at home to have the stability I always dreamed of. My youngest were able to go to one intermediate school and one high school. Eventually, they went to university. I know that it was this stability that opened up so many doors for them. I think if we had to keep moving around, their lives could have been quite different. People might have looked at our street in Mt. Roskill and saw it as poor, but we loved that street. It was a really tight knit community, and we all looked out for each other. We were poor, but we were really happy and really supported one another. At this time there was a pretty small Māori population around this area. Something like four per cent, but Wesley Intermediate and Mount Roskill Grammar were really punching above their weight at the time. The Māori kids really gravitated toward one another because they were also all living away from their spiritual homeland. The school knew we were a hardship family and supported me – they’d help break down any barriers to learning. My girls got into kapa haka and started their te reo Māori road from there. They’d always come home speaking te reo, and because of them, I started on my own road to [discovering] Māoridom. I was fifty-nine when I first learned who my ancestors were and where Māori came from. As a kid, I didn’t even know what Papatūānuku or Ranginui were. I had to get back to school to get that ahi kā, that kaitiaki, and my wairua. I vowed I would do it for the sake of my children. So I went to Unitec to study. I was the eldest in a class full of teenagers. At first, I spent more time crying, trying to get my tongue around the Māori language. I’d stay up all night learning with no sleep. I’m so pleased now that I can help a lot of others and tell them the story of what I did and how far I have come. I graduated at sixty-five years old. I’m very proud – it’s a great honour to have my degree. When I first arrived at Unitec and saw my teacher, who was a Pākehā woman, I said ‘I’ve come to learn Māori not be taught by a Pākehā.’ But she was amazing. I started to learn where we come from – our tikanga. It changed my life. I did four years of learning to become a teacher and learned tikanga. I then decided to come back to my tūrangawaewae, Rereahu, to find out what I had missed out on my whole life. I learned about where Rereahu was buried, where Tawhiao was, and I climbed up the side of Pureora Maunga. I’d never climbed my mountain or spent much time in my marae, but I found myself looking at my mountain when I came to visit and thought, ‘One day, I’m going to climb that maunga.’ In 2004, I was driven to climb it. It took me five hours to climb up and six hours to climb down, and it was midnight. I was crying because it was hard and I was by myself. People even came looking for me. But I was driven to do it. Now my children are proud that I did it. On my journey, I decided to do rangahau using mātauranga Māori and use Māori processes such as hui, pātai, and wānanga where the kairangahau (researcher) [SMK3] treats everyone involved equally. I was a teacher at Te Puna Kohungahunga for nine years, and later got a grant to study social work and went to Te Wānanga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa. I spent two years there and decided to go further – to become a kaiako. I felt really set to keep going. When my kids grew up, I moved to the house I am in now. I’ve been here for thirty years. I’m the Kuia of Sandringham. Everyone comes to this house. The door is always open. During the floods, everyone came here for kai. When I first came to Sandringham, it was all Pākehā and hardly any Māori. Now it is mixed with Chinese, Indian, and Sāmoan. There’s no Pākehā now –I watched them come and go. Housing NZ helped give me a home back in 1990. I’ve been here ever since. I’m the second longest resident in this street. I hope the government knows how important it has been for people like me to have had a home for over thirty years. Much later, when I retired from being a schoolteacher, it was time for me to do something different. I found the Sandringham market, where I was a co-ordinator for eighteen years, just around the corner from my home. I finally handed it over to the younger generation when I turned eighty. At eighty-three, I still come to the community centre here in Sandringham; it helps me stay active. I love this market and have been a store holder for years. It keeps my brain busy and keeps me social, and I’m famous for my banana cake! I teach Māori to everyone who comes by – Chinese, Pākehā, Sāmoan, Muslim, Somalian: it doesn’t matter what culture people come from. I go back home to Benneydale now and again, just for the weekend, to get that feeling of my ahi kā. But I don’t want to go home for good. This is my home now, here in Sandringham. All my family is here or in Australia. I have a big family – forty-two grandchildren, I haven’t counted how many greats, and I have one great, great. I have lost count of them all. I feel complete. I’ve really got a great family. They respect me. I’ll always be a teacher, the kaumātua with all the stories. There is a big variation among my kids, but many of my grandkids are fluent in the reo. At one prizegiving, when one of my kids got a big prize, I shed a tear when Helen Clarke gave the award. The future is getting my grandchildren out in our world, our Māori world. All my grandchildren and great grandchildren are my future. They’re doing pretty well. They are doing me proud. I’m so proud of all my whānau because I come from a hardship family, a family from nothing, and it’s an honour to see who they have become. From Benneydale to Sandringham, I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot. I want to bring people from the past into the future. ____________ Photo credit: “It took me three and a half years to make this korowai. It’s unusual because it represents all my mokopuna, who are from all over... Māori, Tongan, Niuean, Sāmoan, Aborigine, Italian, Chinese, and English[SMK4] . I didn’t want to leave them out. Each colour represents all my mokopuna, and the green feathers represent me, my marae, and my ancestor – Rereahu. When I go, this korowai is coming with me, to keep me warm forever.” “The green scarf represents my marae. This comes with me; my Rereahu comes with me always. It’s my ahi kā and my tupuna.”