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Tangatarua Marae

Issue date: 
Saturday, 5 October 1996
The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO

Tihei mauri ora!

Te Arawa tapu ... Te Arawa mana ... Te Arawa waka ... Te Arawa iwi ... mai Maketu ... ki Tongariro ... mai Tongariro ... ki Maketu.

Tenei te mihi atu kia koutou ... nga upoko ariki ... Te Arawa whanui - tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

E te kaumatua ... e Hohepa ... korua ko Tahana ... me nga kai mahi ... o te kura tini Te Waiariki - tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

I greet Te Arawa, its mana, its chiefs and its people. I greet Hiko Hohepa and Arapeta Tahana and the staff of Te Waiariki.

E te marae ... e hora nei ... Tangatarua ... e tui tui nei ... i nga iwi e rua. Tena koe - takoto!

This sacred forecourt that lies before us, Tangatarua, you are indeed to weave two peoples together. I see you, I salute you.

Tamati Rewiti, matua ... ko koe te ika ... o te tupuna whare nei ... haere oti atu ra .. me te tini!

Tom Rewiti, your life has resulted in the completion of this ancestral house. It is done. Rest in peace.

E te kaupapa ... i pataia koe ... i te ata tuu ... kowai koe? Mowai koe? Ihenga tupuna ... tuu mai ... tuu mai ... mo nga iwi katoa ... tena koe.

This ancestral house draws us here to witness this historical occasion. At dawn, the house was challenged by the tohunga - who are you? I am Ihenga! Who are you for? I am for you, for me, for all who have need of me! Ihenga, ancestral house, stand fast, I salute you.

Taku pae arahi ... e Koro Wetere ... me to hoa rangatira ... tena korua.

E te huinga ... e te tuinga ... tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

To all who have assembled for this special occasion, I acknowledge and greet you, one and all.

Mr McFadden, Chairman of the Council and Council Members, Your Worship the Mayor, Members of Parliament (for the time being), visitors from overseas, people of Tainui who have come to support us here: I ask you to convey my respects to Te Arikinui, a lady for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration.

Tangatarua - two people - two people together in one place, in one land.

The tides of the ocean, the breath of time and of history have brought us to this place - people both brown and white, and now people of other hues, as well - but all of us part of the human race, brothers and sisters under God. We arrived at different times - but we came with the same questing, adventurous, innovative spirit. Pray God we do not lose it.

We have all made our home here. We have no other home, no other whenua that is ours by descent. We are bound together. We have a common destiny.

This marae symbolises that, is named for that. It is a place where different peoples are to meet, share food, talk together, laugh and pray together, plan co-operatively, challenge, surprise and inspire each other.

Historians of tomorrow may well record these closing years of the 20th century as one of the great eras of divisiveness. The unity once found in opposition to a common enemy, or to natural foes like the battle to grow enough to eat, is all too-often replaced by disunity, the disavowal of any responsibility towards our fellow humans. Then, the clamouring for separatism can lead to civil strife. It has even led to civil war in some brutalised lands, where neighbour turns on neighbour, friend against friend, and after the outpouring of their hatred, they leave only destruction behind them, and they lay waste every legacy their ancestors left them.

The forces of disunity are at work in this land of ours, too, to a much lesser extent certainly, but all people of goodwill must still resist them utterly. New Zealand and New Zealanders will accomplish little, if anything, should the atmosphere be polluted by confrontation, or by antagonism. But with goodwill, understanding and generosity, with our commitment to unity governing our diversity, we can achieve anything to which we set ourselves. In New Zealand, we must continuously acknowledge that we are extraordinarily fortunate, in that we have inherited two great cultures, European and Maori, giving our national life a richness that few other nations possess.

We walk and work in forests of redwood and kauri, of radiata and rimu, we take tourists to Whakarewarewa and the Agridome. We know both Handel and haka, the Book of Genesis and whakapapa, Swan Lake and poi songs. Writers like Maurice Gee and Witi Ihimaera, poets like James K Baxter and Hone Tuwhare, painters like -Colin McCahon and Robin Kahukiwa, craftspeople like Dame Rangimarie Hetet, Lyonel Grant and Doreen Blumhardt, move us with equal power. We can play together, learn together, work together, in the factory, on the farm, in offices, schools and churches.

An educational institution, so long as it is true to its nature, its calling, is, above all, a place where this is understood, and where cultures meet, and where differences are celebrated. Hence, Waiariki's mission to provide innovative and quality education within a bicultural framework. Hence too, the vision of those who dreamt the dream of this marae, of Tom Rewiti and all others who helped make a noble ambition a reality.

The reality is now before us, in this splendid complex - Tangatarua; this sacred forecourt - this ancestral house, Ihenga; whose descendants come here to learn - this dining hall, Hine Te Kakara.

May this marae indeed be a place of two people, where young men and women learn to paddle in harmony the great waka which is New Zealand, our home, learning to live and to work together, for the greater good of us all.

My task is to declare Tangatarua formally and officially open. And this I do with great pleasure and great hope. Hui ee, taiki ee!

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 January 2009

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