The Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom multi-purpose cultural heritage centre currently being built in Foxton gives promise to celebrate and remember the experience of Ngāti Raukawa and their significant stories.
The iwi development is represented by Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust and cultural consultant Pip Devonshire said the iwi section of the new complex will be called Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre.
The new complex will be an expression of Ngāti Raukawatanga and Ms Devonshire said themes of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga will be investigated.
Despite Ngāti Raukawa’s experience with colonisation, loss of land, its language and culture Ms Devonshire said the centre will celebrate Ngāti Raukawa resilience through adversity.
Currently Ms Devonshire said they have a “wishlist of taonga”, from around the country, they want to be part of the display. In particular, they are looking at a number of taonga that belonged to the Ngāti Raukawa rangatira Ihakara Tukumaru held in Te Papa and the Canterbury Museum.
Fellow cultural consultant Awhina Tamarapa added the themes are cultural values that are important to iwi.
“They are values that resonate and can be understood universally. We want to inspire our people particularly the youth about our history and get them to think positively about the future.”
“Although the focus is on Ngāti Raukawa and the nine hapū who connect to Te Awahou we’re also embracing the local community and links to other iwi.”
Ngāti Raukawa kaumatua Professor Whatarangi Winiata said with the current claims research programme underway across the region, it is important the Iwi create spaces and repositories like Te Awahou for the complete works to be stored and made available to current and future generations of Ngāti Raukawa whānau.
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is a joint venture with the trust, the Horowhenua District Council, the Dutch community who want to tell the story of the Dutch in New Zealand and to nurture links between the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Other groups involved include Te Awahou Māori Women’s Welfare League, whānau support groups from Foxton Primary School and Manawatū College, Moutoa Māori Wardens, Te Atakura and Te Roopu Whānui Culture and Development Club.
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is a $7.4m development with library, information centre, community centre and museum being built on a former Mitre 10 building in Foxton.
The facility would house as well as the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, the Dutch Connection Museum, the Foxton Library and council service centre.
The name Piriharakeke refers to the name of the Manawatū river loop in Foxton and is also an important concept; of holding onto the land, of new beginnings and aspirations.
A hui will be held on 6 August at Motuiti Marae to give an update on the project. Interested parties are invited to the hui particularly those Ngāti Raukawa hapū who have close links to Te Awahou (Foxton). The hui will start at 11.00am and run to 3.00pm 6 August. People attending should contact Pip Devonshire on 0273037245 to register. The event will be catered so RSVP’s are necessary