Ngāti Tarawhai gather to celebrate their success

By Waimanea Nuri

Te Moana-i-Kataina-a-Te Rangitakaroro, commonly known as Ōkataina, is home to the people of Ngāti Tarawhai.

They gathered to enjoy and commemorate their successful acquisition of the Ōkataina Lodge, as well as the success they have achieved within their whānau, hapū and iwi.

They celebrated with shows from local artists, Dianne Tibble, Takerei Peck, Chur Da Boiiiz and the Ngāti Tarawhai Kapa Haka.

The day was also full of enjoyment for Ngāti Tarawhai tamariki and mokopuna, with face painting booths, kai vendors, arts and crafts, koha stalls and bouncy castles.

Ruakiri Fairhall is of Ngāti Tarawhai and a trustee on the iwi board and says that there is no other location for an iwi celebration than on their own whenua.

“Ngāti Tarawhai has been lost from our whenua for 130 years, so to be able to purchase the lodge as an iwi is amazing. This is our whenua, we lost the mana of it without owning the house on top - and now that we have done that. We are able to move forward with all our hapū of Ngāti Tarawhai.”

He says all three of the Ngāti Tarawhai marae gathered in Tauranganui, on the foreshore of Te Moana-i-Kataina-a-Te Rangitakaroro.

“Ngāti Tarawhai has longed to gather together, those who live far in Ngāti Awa, at Ruaihona, Ngāi Tamaoki. Those who are in Ruatō, Rotoiti at Waikohatu and those in Rotorua, Ngāpuna. All our marae gathering together as one, for a positive celebration, is in itself a great accomplishment.”

Fairhall says since purchasing the Ōkataina Lodge, whānau are more than capable of travelling home to be one with their whenua, and it allows them all to look further into creating more ahurei and celebrations at Ōkataina.

“My heart is full, our first ahurei has been awesome, our whakapapa from Ngātoroirangi, Tarawhai, Rangimaukuku, everyone gathering here in Tauranganui, Ōkataina has been heartwarming and I look forward to doing more mahi for my iwi.”