All you need to know about Koroneihana online celebrations

By Jessica Tyson

This year Kiingi Tūheitia invites te iwi Māori to celebrate Koroneihana in a new way from the safety and comfort of their home.

The annual celebration was to have taken place on August 20 and 21 at Tūrangawaewae Marae. Due to the impact of Covid-19, people are instead invited to tune into the Kīngitanga official broadcast on Friday, Kiingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa says.

“We’ll start with the 7 o'clock karakia in the morning and go till about 1 o'clock,” he says.

As well as online karakia, there will be Zoom mihimihi throughout the day.

King's speech

The King will also give his formal speech.

“The main theme will be 'Amohia ake te ora o te iwi, kia puta ki te whei ao'. So with the Covid-19 over the year, it’s about looking after the people and it’s about the pursuit of mana motuhake as we look after the people, providing ways to look after our people in our own way and in line with our own tikanga and kawa.”

Kawe mate

Koroneihana is generally celebrated with powhiri, kapa haka, sports games, kawe mate and mihimihi.

Papa says there will be no kawe mate ceremonies at Turangawaewae Marae this year which is, "a huge effect because the mourning of our people is important to our way of life," he says.

"So we’re asking our whānau to send photos and so that we can make a collage of those that have passed and later on in the year different and varied places within Tainui will hold their own memorial services.”

Papa says there are about 150 kaumātua keen to get involved.

“They’re just a bit māharahara (anxious) when it comes to going out, being face to face because they know and they understand that they are some of the most vulnerable and of course, coupled with the King's concern for his kaumātua, it was actually their advice,” Papa says.

History

He says celebrating Koroneihana in a different way hasn’t happened since Kingi Tāwhiao led in the 1880s. 

“Every year throughout world wars, throughout depressions and recessions, the Koroneihana has stood up albeit in different and varied ways and this is the first time in recent history that Koroneihana will look totally different,” he says.

“This is just for this time. King Tāwhiao said that his mokopuna will get up and they will charge on and they will continue on and that’s exactly the vein that Kiingi Tūheitia wants to carry on in that we trace these challenges today but tomorrow we will come back to our tikanga and our kawa as a korowai for all people.”

Papa says the online celebration will be held for just one day on Friday. Some of the usual Koroneihana events will be held later in the year when Covid-19 Alert levels drop.