More than 100 people turned out in Raetihi last week for the launch of a new tribal social and cultural entity to preserve and promote the identity, culture and wellbeing of Uenuku, Tamakana and Tamahaki.
Kaumātua, iwi and hapū representatives, community and business leaders, Crown representatives and hau kāinga heard representatives of Uenuku Charitable Trust explain how the new entity will focus on revitalising cultural identity and supporting social wellbeing and development.
The event on Wednesday, November 22, at the Theatre Royal was a taste of things to come, with a special screening of film and video sequences showing the history, culture and aspirations of the whānau and hapū of the three tribes, whose Treaty of Waitangi claims are being negotiated by Uenuku Charitable Trust. The screening included excerpts from the historic silent film Scenes of Māori Life on the Whanganui River, shot in Hiruharama (Jerusalem), Koroniti and Pipiriki by James McDonald in March and April of 1921.
UCT Trustee Moana Ellis said the screening resulted from the Treaty Negotiations Team’s work with kaitiaki of the Māori collection at the national audio-visual archives, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
“Our Team has been hearing the aspirations of the claimant community, and one of the most important issues raised has been identity, or, more correctly, loss of identity. Our people said they want to see and hear their stories, their history, their people reflected in all of their places, and this screening was just the start of our efforts to achieve this.
“It was also important to our people to share information about the identity and history of Uenuku, Tamakana and Tamahaki with our wider communities, our Treaty partners, and especially those at home with whom we have worked and lived for generations.
“More recent footage filmed at Pipiriki, Mangapapapa and Tieke included many of our people who are no longer with us, including our koroua, uncles Mark Cribb, Larry Ponga, Piripi Haami and Niko Tangaroa, so it was a very nostalgic evening. We have since had several requests for another screening, and wide interest in our idea of a historic film festival at which we could show more of our stories.”