Pukaki Education Award Wellington Visit 2019


To be able to converse with the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of NZ, Adrian Orr, Member of Parliament, Tamati Coffey and renowned Ngāti Whakaue anthropologist, Dr Paul Tapsell,was nothing short of mind-blowing for all six Ngāti Whakaue descendants. This exchange has broadened my horizons to the possibilities for young Māori leaders of their future. I was selected to not only represent my school but also my iwi - Ngāti Whakaue. My great, great grandmother Tepora Tumatahi, a chieftainess of Ngāti Whakaue, married my great, great grandfather and Paramount Chief of Ngati Pikiao - Pokiha Hemana, this is the whakapapa that meant I was able to take up this amazing opportunity. I learnt from Dr Tapsell that our tupuna were wise beyond their years. A special story that I share with you is about the evolution of carrying our tupuna to tangihanga. When Māori were buried in the caves, their heads were preserved and would be presented during tangi as if they were alive. Then, with Christianity came burials in the ground and Māori leaders had their portraits taken, sometimes in secret, to preserve their identity for future generations. This is why we present photos of our deceased during tangi and hang them on the walls of our whare tupuna. I would like to thank the team who selected me for this honour - Mr Grinter, Mr Buckton & Whaea Rie and I would strongly urge all future leaders of Ngāti Whakaue to come forward for this in the years to come.

Koan Hemana

Year 10 Student