By Gavin Reedy, Iwi Development Adviser, National Services Te Paerangi
Tēnā koutou katoa
He mihi nunui tenei ki ngā maunga, ngā awa me ngā iwi puta noa i te motu
E ngā mate – haere haere haere atu ra
Te hunga ora tēnā koutou tēnā koutou katoa
He mihi matakuikui rawa atu ki a koutou e noho mai ana i ngā whare taonga, ngā marae maha, me ngā hau kainga
He mihi hoki ki ngā kaumātua, ko koutou ngā pou o ngā hapori
Kua rere haere te wa, whanau, a kua tīmata ke te mahi o te tau nei…
My time on the road with National Services Te Paerangi as the Iwi Development Adviser is drawing to a close.
I was bought onto the team by Rhonda Paku and Tracy Puklowski back in 2007 to ‘hit the ground running’ – get out around the country and raise the profile of National Services Te Paerangi among iwi, and to also assist iwi, hapu, and whanau in their cultural developments, either through practical, on-the-ground projects like workshops and direct assistance, or through long term strategic planning, and to assist iwi in reaching their set goals. It has been a wonderful job, and I’ve meet and interacted with hundreds of people right around the country.
My job is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been onto many marae, halls, iwi offices and board rooms to give presentations, to meet the iwi that have gathered, and to get our message across to them. I still get butterflies when I stand up to speak, but the main thing to remember is: know your kaupapa (subject), and study up on the local history of the iwi you are meeting – it shows respect when you have done a little research. Be prepared, and most importantly, enjoy your work. I was at a powhiri one time and the kaumatua/elders asked me, ‘How do you know so much about our iwi?’ I replied, ‘because it’s on your website, I read up on you on the flight up here’. We had a good laugh and the ice was broken.
I’ve had a great time and I got to work with some switched-on Museum Development Officers; Professor Jane Leggett, Bridget Wellwood, Ian Wards, Sally August, and Judith Taylor. At different times and sometimes together, we travelled many hundreds of kilometres on the road, crisscrossing the country, and for me, visiting places and people I’d never have got the chance to meet and work with. From Rekohu/Chatham Islands and the Moriori Marae Kopinga, over to Te Rau Aroha at Motupohue/Bluff, and right up to Matihetihe Marae at Mitimiti in the Hokianga region, we have been active with presentations, workshops and various other cultural projects.
Our very successful workshop program for iwi is a direct result of iwi requesting workshops that they have identified a need for. Digital Photography, Paper Conservation and Taonga Conservation are current and very popular around the country. I would like to thank our dedicated workshop team:
- Imaging, Te Papa – Michael Hall (Team Leader), Norman Heke, Kate Whitley
- Taonga Conservator, Te Papa – Rangi Te Kanawa
- Paper Conservator, Alexander Turnbull Library – Vicki-Anne Heikell
Gavin Reedy, Norm Heke, Vicki-Anne Heikell
Together we have completed over 60 workshops around the country at many marae and learning institutes. Every workshop takes many months of organising, and in some cases it’s taken 3-4 years from first contact to the workshop. Sometimes I have to wonder how we have pulled off the many airport pickups, late night cross-country dashes, and lots of close calls in getting to the powhiri on time. One time we were lost way up in the Far North on the wrong dusty back road and were saved by the locals who knew that some museum people were coming to their marae. We were soon pointed in the right direction, and we just made it in time (men don’t need maps).
As I have written previously in this newsletter, it’s hard to communicate the interaction, humour and the emotion that each event brings on. We have fun while on the road and we have made some really good friends. I’ve often been asked the question, ‘what is the best memory you have from your time on the road?’ That’s a difficult question! My answer is that everywhere I have visited has been special, for me, each marae has its own history, genealogy, stories and most importantly its mana. There are so many good memories I share with our team and our tutors that it would take a novel to record them all.
Our office team provides the backup for us to be out on the road, to my manager Kylie Ngaropo and National Services Te Paerangi’s Manager Victoria Esson – thank you for the great tautoko/support over the years. It’s a busy job out in the field and your advice and guidance is invaluable went we venture out. We also have a great office support team – Tamara Patten is our Communications Officer and Lynne Carmichael is our Sector Training Coordinator, and there have been several times over the years when I’ve been stuck on the road with problems and the team back at HQ have had me sorted and on my way again. To all those that have worked with NSTP as team support, a big mihi to you all. We do gel as a whanau and understand the logistics of a busy department in a national museum.
A few memorable moments from my time at Te Papa
The death of CEO, Dr Seddon Beddington, was a tragedy for us at Te Papa. He was followed by Collection Manager Ross O’Rouke, who had worked at Te Papa for over 50 years. Both of these deaths were a tragedy for staff but by working together we stayed strong.
Joining Hau Manu, I learnt to play the koauau and other instruments. The group is tutored by Richard Nunns and Shane Pasene. It’s a New Zealand wide group that is dedicated to bringing back the ancient songs and sounds of taonga puoro (Māori musical instruments). I’ve played and tutored all around New Zealand and help spread our kaupapa.
Co-authoring a book of poems with Michael Hall was a stand out for me. The subject material is downtown Wellington, a Wellington from a 70s view, with Michael’s gritty photographs helps us remember the 1970s where we lived, worked, and played.
I took part in two Wellington regional kapa haka competitions, led by our kuia Hema Temara. We trained and trained some more until we could remember the moves in our sleep. I remember the first time we performed at the Michael Fowler Centre. I had just arrived back from a workshop way up North, and I just had time to pack away the resources and park the van then run across the road and jump on stage. It’s going to be all right on the night! To Whaea Hema (Te kuini o Te Papa), nga mihi aroha ki a koe e te Koka!
I could go on and on… but I’ll finish with a quick mention that I’ve still got lots on. There is a digital photography and paper conservation workshop with Ngati Toa iwi this month out at Hongoeka Marae, followed by a visit to the Waikaremoana area at Waimako Marae. A busy time of year for our department.
In house at Te Papa we currently have Ngati Toa Rangatira iwi in residence. I would like to mihi the kaumatua who are there to represent Ngati Toa, Te Waari Kakeek and Rihia Kenny. He mihi mahana ki a korua nga kaumatua.
I’ve written a poem that summarizes some of the places that I’ve visited. It was written for Rhonda Paku when she left Te Papa recently, though I’ve edited it slightly to suit my last report. It mentions the places and hints at some of guardianship roles the people and places have played over many years.
With apologies for any historical inaccuracies.
Tautoko Puta Noa
Te Ahu embraces the Far North
Motuti guarded by the wise one and karakia … Pa Henare
Otaua – the keeper of the ancient waka…
Motatau and its esoteric knowledge
Oruawharo – Kaipara – who holds the Takitimu mana?
Kerikeri and its overland stronghold
Hihiaua, will stand watch there, we know. The gathering place of tipuna.
The slow eye ball of the old fella Tane Mahuta, gives a slow wink
Tairawhiti raises a proud salute
Tauranga Moana looks to the future
Te Whanau a apanui – neke ki mua
Ngati Kahungunu, we know stands proud
Taranaki rises, sharp against the sky
Tuhoe has opened its gates
Maniapoto weaves its magic
Rangitane, kia tu tonu!
Raukawa – forward thinkers
Wairarapa nods to you, the quiet warriors, poised…
Ngati Toa will stand staunch
Ngai Tahu shimmers – a greened hue
Rekohu stands – a living Pou
The world looks to Te Papa
Many strands to weave a bed of tautoko
‘Whaia te iti Kahurangi’
To everyone I have worked with over the years at Te Papa, I would like to finish off by wishing you all the very best in your future cultural endeavours and aspirations. Don’t forget to get on the phone or email to contact our office if there is anything at all you would like assistance with.
Gavin Reedy signing off