Ngāti Kahu record their own settlement journey

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Twenty-five years ago Ngāti Kahu embarked on their treaty settlement journey. But what came from it was completely different.

It was a book signing fit for a famous author. The star of the day, Ngāti Kahu history.

Co-Author Anahera Herbert told Te Kāea, “What've done is that we’ve captured it, not only in our own words but in our own mita. It's us tell our own stories so you know it's not being interpreted through other cultural lenses.”

'Ngāti Kahu: Portrait Of A Sovereign Nation' was originally created as a deed of partial settlement for Ngāti Kahu's treaty settlements to avoid the Crown from telling their stories incorrectly.

Co-Author Dr Margaret Mutu says, “It provides evidence that we have a different interpretation to Pākehā.”

It details history and stories of the 16 hapū as told by kaumātua.

Ms Herbert says, “We orally recorded it, video recorded it and then we had transcripts and they then took those transcripts and corrected it until we got the final, what's in the book.”

Many of the researchers and transcribers who worked on the project were Ngāti Kahu youth, who Ms Herbert says all played vital role.

“Just like my generation worked alongside our kaumātua and kuia, it's now time for those rangatahi to be schooled and to be mentored so they understand it's not just book learning for them, its life.”

It's a project that has taken 25years to complete. But now Ngāti Kahi have a gift to hand down for another generation.