King Tuheitia seeks to unite tribe at New Year Poukai

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

King Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII along with hundreds of Kiingitanga supporters gathered at the 85th Poukai held at Horahora marae, on the first day of the Pākehā New Year.

King Tuheitia spokesperson Brad Totorewa says it’s about marching to the beat of one drum and upholding the principals of the Kiingitanga.

“Let's say the main focus of our King is unity,” says Totorewa.

“Unity of his people is at the forefront of his mind. Unifying his marae, sub-tribes, leaders and bosses, his trusts and his governing body.”

And remembering loved ones who have passed in the last year.

“Poukai were established here for the widowed, bereaved and impoverished,” says marae elder Pat Kingi.

“That's the purpose of the day and we're here to support them.”

Known for its abundance of food Poukai were first held on the first day of the New Year in 1933, having swapped its date with the Port Waikato marae of Tauranganui.

“The main delicacy of this region of this Poukai is eel, fermented corn, all those ancient delicacies,” says marae local Herewini Moana. “Today we are keen to source those delicacies such as kēwai.”

The marae celebrates its 85th anniversary and the milestone was well attended by Tainui descendants and other tribes from around the country.

“We need to return to the teachings of our ancestors and elders,” says Ngāti Pikiao elder, Muriwai Ihākara, “One voice, and that's all!”.

“The marae is thriving, the buildings have been renovated, for what purpose?’ says Kingi, “to host the Kiingitanga and the people.”

Kingitanga supporters will gather again in two weeks at Te Teko for the Poukai hosted by Kokohinau marae.