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Speech

Kokohinau Marae

Issue date: 
Friday, 15 November 1996
Speaker: 
The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO

PUU-TAUAKI TAPU, PUU-TAUAKI MANA, PUU-TAUAKI IHI, TUU MAI, I TO TURANGA, WHAKAARI! TO TIHI, KIA RANGINUI, E TUU IHO NEI! O REKEREKE, KIA PAPA, E AWHI AKE NEI! PUU-TAUAKI TUPUA, NAU RAA, AA MATAATUA, WAKA TAPU, I MAI-MAI, KI TENEI TUA-WHENUA, TUU MAI! TUU MAI! KAATI MO KORUA!

Sacred Putauaki, mountain of mana and majesty, your summit reaches to Ranginui, who hovers above, while your feet are embraced by Papa, Mother Earth. It was you, Putauaki, who first saw and welcomed the ancestral waka, Mataatua. May you reach towards the sky here, forever.

KOKOHINAU MARAE, E TAKOTO NEI, E HORA! E HORA! TAKOTO! E TE PATAKA, I WHAKA-IRI-HIA, TE KOPU KORERO, RUA-TAU-PARE, TUU MAI, ME HO PIRINGA WHARE, E RAU-HII ANA, I TE HUNGA MATE, E RAU-HII ANA I TE HUNGA ORA! TUU MAI, TENA KOUTOU.

Kokohinau, the consecrated ground that spreads itself in front of us, surrounding all here present, I acknowledge you. And may Ruataupare live long, and your neighbouring dwellings, storehouses of knowledge, containers of history, who comfort the bereaved and inspire the living: I acknowledge you.

E RERE NGA IA, O RANGI-TAIKI, TE WAI TUKU KIRI, O NGA MAATUA, TUPUNA, ERUERA MANUERA, KO KOE TENA! RATOU KUA HURI, KEI TUA, O PAE MAU-MAHARA, HAERE! HAERE! OTI ATU RAA!

May, too, the Rangitaiki flow forever; these waters where your ancestors bathed, that immersed too, Eruera Manuera. Those who have passed on are still revered here - farewell, farewell, rest in peace!

I KII TE KUPU, "TE IWI TIRARE KAI, PAAHAO KAI," NGAATI PAHIPOTO, KUA KII, TE KUPENGA, I TENEI RANGI. HEOI ANO, NGAATI AWA WHANUI, KUA TAE MAI RAA ...

The saying goes: "The tribe that collects food and gathers it by the netfull." Ngaati Pahipoto, indeed, all of Ngaati Awa, today I trust your net is overflowing.

Ngaati Pahipoto has always had a reputation for hospitality. So this land must always have been fruitful, the gardens well-tended, and fully able to support your ancestors' desire to build a better future, working together.

Yet when this beautiful house was built, it was said by Te Kooti, (as was his custom,) that one wall would clash with another, the back wall with the front door; that its foundations were built on a combination of sand, gravel, bush lawyer and virgin soil, rather implying that it could not endure. I'm sure this prophecy must have caused some disquiet, even dismay. Was it pre-ordained that there must be division? Or could an underlying unity be established, so long as it was founded upon reverence for a shared belief? That was Eruera Manuera's conviction - a common bond of faith would be a force strong enough to hold the house together.

May I today reaffirm that conviction, but set it even more widely: for all in this land live in one house; and I believe that what will hold together the house that is our nation, is a commitment to living and working together.

If we live without loyalty to a common cause, if there is no general acceptance that confrontation for its own sake damages the well-being of everyone, we shall live, obviously, in disunity. Our foundations are, indeed, unsound. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." [Mark 3:25]

Without unity, one wall will merely confront the other; age-old wisdom will go unheeded; without unity, there is, and probably can be, no proper social order. So the people lose their way, because they cannot, or will not, see the path they should walk together. "Where there is no vision, the people perish," as the Book of Proverbs says. [29:18]

Even so, this cannot mean that all contrary or individual opinion should be smothered, or ignored, or decried. New ideas have to come from somewhere. Indeed, they must be encouraged, welcomed and understood. They must be given, and received, in respect and in love. Then, there may be agreement - that the idea should be adopted, or abandoned. Or there may be agreement to disagree, for the time being at least, and so then there is opportunity to move on to something else.

We must not become trapped in quarrels. For there is so much upon which we can agree. There is so much we have in common. We are, after all, all children of God. We share a common humanity, a common ability to laugh and cry, to hope and to dream, to rejoice and to grieve, to love and to be hurt. Let us never forget that.

Another thing we have in common is that we all belong to a family; and to our families, we all owe a special loyalty, a special responsibility. They nurture us, they mature us, they provide us with our homes. This has always been true, and further, it has always been true of all peoples, of all cultures, at all times. "Family" might mean slightly different things to different people, but the underlying concept is universal.

That sense of family is in danger of being lost. There are many reasons: the call of the city life, unemployment, the struggle to earn enough, television that limits our vision to the size of 'the box'. There is no simple answer, but so much depends on teaching, on example, on all of us practising that loyalty to one another, that responsibility to one another, that is the basis of true family life.

Yet loyalty and responsibility to others, even to those outside our immediate families, is also, when we think about the essence of things, absolutely vital. Such a loyalty as this, is the basis of any true community; of overall social cohesion; of fundamental national unity. And true unity, paradoxically, allows greater diversity, amongst individuals, between families and extended families, even within entire countries.

Let's reflect on that for a moment. We in this country inherit two great cultures, the European and the Maori, each bringing with it its own distinctiveness. We are fortunate that we can all share the richness of both - enjoy Handel and haka, poi and Petrouchka. The two sit comfortably, side by side. We can, and must, learn of both. And other cultures have come too, adding their own distinctive colours to the korowai, the cloak, that represents our national life. This is what I mean by unity in diversity - understanding, sharing, rejoicing, in those things that make each of us different, yet at the same time united, determined to hold together.

It is in this spirit of greatly extended family, of unity, that we must address the problems and concerns that face us as a nation: our need for reconciliation and redress for the wrongs of the past: issues of rangatiratanga in areas as diverse as land and resources, criminal and civil justice; issues of deprivation, education, health. Some issues impinge more upon Maori than Pakeha; some more upon Pakeha than Maori. But all are issues facing the nation as a whole; and all must be addressed by the nation as a whole. For they can be resolved only in a spirit of oneness.

So the essential well-being of our house might, actually, depend on our realising that it is built upon different types of ground, that our shared house is built upon a mixture of sand, gravel, bush lawyer and rich virgin soil - upon a blend of Maori, Pakeha, plus whoever or whatever might be represented by bush lawyer (- I shudder to think) - and, te whenua; and that this diversity can be unified to make a firm foundation for our mokopuna. At least, this is an interpretation of the prophecy that suggests itself to me.

For it is still the truth that, without a strong sense of kinship, of loyalty, of responsibility to all those around us, and not only to ourselves or to our immediate families, it becomes difficult, or in some circumstances impossible, to achieve the better future we all desire; not just for ourselves, but even more for our children and our children's children.

KI TE WHAKA-TUU-TUKI, I TE KAUPAPA, O TE RAA, INAA, "TAA-PIRIA TATOU, KI TAA TE MANU TUI, HUUIA, TUUIA, TUI TUUIA!"

We have come to help implement the kaupapa of this day, as it may be found in the song of the tui: "Let us unite, sings the tui, gather together, let the bond of fellowship unite us."

Therefore, assembly of rangatira, I greet you, I acknowledge you, let the adze of unity come forward.

NOREIRA, RAU RANGATIRA MAA, TENA KOUTOU, TENA KOUTOU! HAERE MAI TE TOKI! HUUI EE! TAIKI EE!

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 January 2009

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