Marae uses Zoom to help Ruatoki community commemorate fallen

By Mahina Hurkmans

Te Rewarewa Marae located at the base of the Urewera Valley has used video communications app Zoom to help the hundreds of people in the small rural Ruatoki community, who would gather at Tūmatauenga Memorial Hall yearly, to commemorate those who served and died in both world wars. Those unable to use Zoom gathered in their own bubbles for their own commemorations.

Narratives of the past still have key messages in today's age.

Ruatoki RSA chairman Mack McCorkindale says, "I think about the manawawera 'Ka Horo' and the lines 'ō Riri-whakauaua, ō Riri-whakanekeneke'.

Every year, many Tūhoe families gather at Te Rewarewa Marae for the dawn service. Although the McCorkindale family are separated at this time, they insisted that they join together to pray, sing and remember the fallen, however that may be. 

"We won't be at the marae this year for ANZAC so my niece decided we will do a zoom ceremony, so we used technology," McCorkindale says. 

"We're in special times, and special things to be done and sacrifices to be made and then we need to think about those fallen ngā hōia, tīpuna, and the sacrifices they made."

But some families are lucky enough to be in the same bubble.

"Every year since I was a child, we would go to the dawn service in Ruatoki to Te Rewarewa Marae," Moerangi Black says.

"The families who live in Te Hūrepo are a part of the same bubble, so one of the aunties put out the idea that we come together to listen to the radio, sing together and remember those who went to battle."

Although families are making do within their bubbles, they dearly miss being at the ANZAC ceremony at Te Rewarewa Marae.

"It has become a tradition every year for many families to come together and remember their family members, but this year it is a little bit different and you feel more loss and more sadness as we are all separated," Black says.

"I am sad and I miss being together at the marae with our families," McCorkindale says.

Despite not being able to hold the dawn service at the marae hall, Zoom has allowed whānau living abroad to join commemorations.