Nā te kune te pupuke
Nā te pupuke te hihiri
Nā te hihiri te mahara
Nā te mahara te hinengaro
Nā te hinengaro te manako
Ka hua te wānanga
Our creation narrative traditions are so compelling that they can influence all aspects of life. In this way our customs, practices and institutions can become an expression of our cultures’ foundation story. Many aspects of our worldview are influenced by the essential elements of our Māori creation narrative.2
Creation stories give people a way of looking at their world. These stories tell us about individuals acting in particular ways and securing their position in the world.
They stand, therefore, as a model for individual and collective behaviour and aspirations.
Legendary heroes act as exemplars of human potential. The ascent of Tāne through the 12 heavens to obtain the baskets of knowledge symbolises an individual striving toward insight and understanding.
Many Māori creation traditions use symbols of childbirth, the growth of trees, thought, energy and the fertile earth to convey the idea of constant, repeated creation. These symbols convey the idea of a world in a state of perpetual ‘becoming’. This idea is a key aspect of traditional Māori world view.
Pūrākau are statements about the nature of the world, and their repetition echoes the creation story. Every time creation whakapapa and kōrero are recounted, the world is ritually ‘recreated’. And so, just as pūrākau of the past were crucial to our sustainability as whānau, hapū and iwi, pūrākau continue to offer ways to express our diverse identities, articulate our stories of struggle and inspiration, and strengthen and liberate our communities.
A famous Ngāpuhi pūrākau would be of our ancestor Rāhiri and his sons. Embedded within that kōrero are our place names, our reo and our whakatauki; ‘Ngā roi whakaporepore ure o Āhuaiti’ and speak of deeper connections of the East and West coast peoples through water: ‘Ka mimiti te puna i Taumārere, Ka toto te puna i Hokianga, Ka toto te puna i Taumārere, Ka mimiti te puna i Hokianga’.
Ko te mauri o Hinehau
As a descendant of Te Parawhau and Ngati Hau, I first read the kōrero of Hinehau as a
‘brief of evidence’ included as part of the Ngāpuhi Treaty Claims. Its brief but powerful claims of her mana in war for the success of Whangārei hapū really spoke to me. I re-read it, left wanting to know more.
We do not leave our whakapapa at the door as we navigate the research journey. Our genealogies and relationships to people and place mediate our life experiences, our interactions, and the stories we choose to tell through research. Within this project I will create two resources. Firstly, the pūrākau of Hinehau retold, in an audio format.
Secondly, a Masters thesis on Indigenous image and story sovereignty - A story of Indigenous research through cultural practice, for example, our pedagogy of place - places as a ‘living knowledge’ of our longer history of occupation. (Creating new knowledge through experience and living it. We can intellectualize about all this, but until we live, participate and make - It’s like writing “bread” on a piece of paper and eating the paper instead of having the bread.)
The 10 min audio-play based on the pūrākau ‘Te Mauri o Hinehau’ is a piece of oral literature inspired by our whenua narratives and a celebration of our legacies.
Re-told in Te Reo Māori only and using the mita o Te Tai Tokerau, I went and worked with the awesome whanaunga at Ngati Hine FM. We had such a fun day in the studio. It made sense using the voices from Whangārei to represent this kōrero.