The arrival of 'Te Maruaroa o Ngahuru' in Te Taitokerau

By Tumamao Harawira

Ngāpuhi has commemorated the arrival of the Autumn Equinox, traditionally an important time for harvesting food for Māori and marking the shifting of Tamanui, from Hineraumati to Hinetakurua. 

The iwi gathered at Waitangi to celebrate and to also talk about current issues.

Reuben Taipari, who organised the event says the climate crisis was a big talking point and how Māori can use traditional knowledge today.

"There is a lot of concern about cyclones and storms, and sickness among our people is a sign."

"Tamanui turns to Hinetakurua - that was a sign for our tūpuna to begin to clean homes and clear out the food stores for the winter ahead."

Time to discuss issues

It represents how hard the iwi has worked in the past year because the harvest represents the work done.

It was also at this time the tribe met to discuss choosing a flag for the United Tribes of New Zealand in 1834. On March 20, 1834, with three proposed flags were voted on at James Busby's residence. Taipari says this was the time of year the iwi would discuss the issues that mattered.

"This is an opportune time for us as a people to sit and discuss issues."

"Every autumn, tribal leaders would return to Tau Rangatira at Waitangi to discuss protocols and laws that would establish a way forward on those issues."

Taipari also visited a local iwi garden that was prepared by the iwi. He says the iwi will use that traditional knowledge to help people thrive in the future.

"It was a big dream for this whenua to be expanded into a large garden for the people of this place, a place where you can feed the younger generation. I think it's a wonderful idea for the year ahead."