Mataatua two-day planning hui to protect whānau, tikanga

By Herewini Waikato

Mataatua iwi arrived at Mataatua marae in Whakatāne today, aiming to keep their communities safe, hold to tikanga and work with Covid-19.

This type of gathering is a first for Ngāti Awa leader Sir Hirini Moko Mead who put the call out for all hapū of Mataatua to come together, and they did. Apanui, Tauranga Moana, Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Whakatōhea were all there under one roof.

“Some are afraid. Therefore for me, this is important that I make a call out to all of Mataatua for this gathering”, Moko Mead said.

Taupō, Rotorua and Tauranga have had Covid-19 cases.

“Places of interest” continue in these towns also. Paengaroa, only 55km away from where today's hui is being held, has a location of interest.

Covid-19 is slowly making its way into Mataatua region and those at the hui are preparing for it.

 “We will be preparing a plan over the next few days, to give us direction which way we will follow, that being all of Mataatua,” Moko Mead said.

Today's hui had an attendance of close to 150 people in person and more than 200 online.

Temporary or permanent solutions

People had the opportunity to share what was working and what was not working in their regions in terms of vaccination roll-out, communication systems, and working tikanga with changing times such as closing or opening marae for tangihanga, burials and

Charles Tawhiao of Ngāi Te Rangi had questions around tikanga and kawa on marae.

“What we want to add to the conversation today is how do we maintain our tikanga/customs after Covid-19 has ended? Do we still operate like this or what?” Tawhiao said. Tawhiao was talking about no longer doing hongi on his marae and now touching elbow to elbow as an example.

Tūhoe’s Paki Nikora agrees with Tawhiao that Covid-19 has reshaped tikanga and kawa and he is not happy about it.

“We know this is a big problem and it is dividing us from our customs handed down from the gods and our traditions passed down from our forefathers. That's a big problem,” Nikora said.

This hui will continue tomorrow starting at 9am. Rangatahi from around Mataatua will have their say on how Covid-19 is affecting their generation and their predictions for the future using rangatahi whakaaro/ ideas.