Photo: Piripi Walker (right rear) with other Te Hono ki Raukawa members from left Rachael Selby, Professor Whatarangi Winiata and Daphne Luke.
Writing a report that spans 200 years of Ngāti Raukawa history was an emotional journey for iwi historian Piripi Walker (Ngāti Kikopiri).
Piripi has just completed a Waitangi Tribunal report titled The Social and Political Institutions of Ngāti Raukawa 1820-2010. The report is part of the Waitangi Tribunal claims research being carried out by Te Hono ki Raukawa representing Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kauwhata and Te Reureu from Manawatū, Horowhenua and Kāpiti regions.
Piripi felt it was an honour to be asked by his kaumātua to do the job and has always felt “one should say yes to requests from one’s own iwi, to undertake tasks they might require.”
A report this long, with a requirement to research and plan in one year, was a challenge. However, when Piripi saw the areas of exploration it opened up, he realised the task was a privilege. Plus, he got to spend time exploring Ngāti Raukawa history alongside iwi experts.”
Finishing the report was a rewarding experience and when he presented the draft at the Te Hono ki Raukawa Kaumātua Christmas function, at Ngātokowaru Marae, he says it was memorable and deeply satisfying.
The report describes how Ngāti Raukawa developed organisations, activities and in the case of religion made adjustments to try and maintain their tino rangatiratanga. These included the Ōtaki Māori Racing Club, the Ōtaki & Porirua Trusts Board and Te Wānanga o Raukawa. Sir Taihakurei Edward Durie, the current national chairperson, wrote Chapter 7 which is on the Raukawa District Maori Council and the Māori Council system.
During the 200 years Piripi says the accommodation Māori made was one-sided.
“In terms of Ngāti Raukawa, who initially trusted the missionaries and early governors, there was a massive shock when their land was ripped suddenly and brutally from their grip after 1859. Those decades lie at the crux of the claims. Raukawa suffered in the 19th century, but still maintained its resolve to survive as hapū and as distinctively Māori people.”
Carrying out the research was a particular highlight for Piripi.
“I have appreciated the gifts from many quarters - over the years of our sound recordings of kaumātua, and in the recent oral history report, which gave us extensive memories, in people’s own voices, of our own history.
“This proved invaluable in writing this report, and for me personally it was very satisfying to find work we have done recording decades ago turning up wonderful material for a report like this, and for the process of historical hearings the iwi is entering.
Piripi felt aroha doing this work because of the many people who have passed on, for his friends no longer here and for times past.
“I also feel, as I am sure all working on the claims do, that they are helping to repair the damage of the past and build the basis for a solid future for our mokopuna.”
In this respect he thinks despite the disaster of colonisation and loss of the birthright of the iwi, Raukawa managed to organise and modernise these modern institutions and maintain their marae, throughout a turbulent period.
Piripi was a natural choice for this report and has an extensive knowledge on many of the activities he writes about at both a local and national level. He held the position of Director of Language Studies at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and was both the secretary and treasurer of Ngā Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo (the Wellington Maori Language Board). He is currently the vice-chair beside the present chair, Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru.
The report makes a crucial contribution, as the third chapter of Te Hono's Oral and Traditional History Report. This comprises a report on the origins and establishment of Ngāti Raukawa te Au ki te Tonga written by Dr Arini Loader and Rewa Morgan; 25 reports written by hapū recording their experience in the last 200 years and a closing statement by Professor Whatarangi Winiata and Ani Mikaere on the exercise of tino rangatiratanga by Ngāti Raukawa. The final report will be available later in the year.
Ngāti Raukawa Institutions and Ecosystem
Themes identified for inclusion in the report are: