Ngāti Hine revive history of its rivers

By Dean Nathan

Since time immemorial, the sacred river of Taumarere was a main highway of Māori ancestors and hence an important initiative for the progeny of the ancestress Hineāmaru to travel the "River of Chiefs" and learn its history.

It's a day when the fountain of Hokianga is empty and the fountain of Taumarere is full.

Pita Tipene, Ngati Hine says, “This is the sacred river of Taumarere with its own knowledge and history and hence our aim for our children to join together as one in this activity and to know its history, its guardians, and all that information.”

Known as the "River of Chiefs", it’s an initiative of major importance to ensure traditional knowledge is passed on to this generation.

Makuini Field, Ngati Hine says, “It's the first time I've seen anything like this.  In our day, we'd come here and paddle our canoes down the river to collect oysters and go fishing at Whangae so this is a very significant occasion.

Kelvin Davis, Taitokerau MP says, “You can travel miles and miles inland on tributaries to places like Matawaia and Motatau and to all our connections from Taumarere on the east to Hokianga on the West Coast.  So there is much history and it's beautiful coming here this afternoon with my relations to celebrate our river.”

It's been 30 years since Sir James Henare placed a post at Opua to signify the authority of his people to the land and sea in this district. Now the pathway is being set for this generation to carry on his legacy.

Field says, “If they have ears they'll learn, if not. My own son has come from Invercargill to hear the history. He is 46 years old and has finally returned to learn the traditional knowledge of this place.”

Tipene says, “This river was the main highway for our ancestors and this generation are used to all the gravel roads but they need to know their sacred river and all its traditional knowledge and information.”