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Wharenui Tupai

Issue date: 
Saturday, 25 October 1997
The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO

Tihei mauri ora!
Taa huri-huri kau ana te tai ote tangata.
Ka whaka-rongo nei te ahu-nga mai ote korero.

I seek divine grace as I rise to my feet, so that I will be alert to the ultimate source of my words.

Uuia kia Tararua tupuna e tuu nei pea.
Kia Ruamahanga e rere nei.
Tohia nga hua ote tau hue!

Perhaps I should ask the ancestral mountain, Tararua, and Ruamahanga, the ever-flowing ancestral river, to show me the fruits of the year!

Hau Ariki Marae e hora nei takoto!
E te tupuna whare Tupai e tuu e tuu!
Ko koe raa i toona waa tetahi o nga toohunga
oo Takitimu waka! E tuu e tuu!

Hau Ariki Marae, here before us, I acknowledge you. Tupai, the ancestral house that stands here, I acknowledge you. Ancestor Tupai, you were one of the tohunga who guided Takitimu waka to these shores, stand tall, stand strong.

Ngati Kahungunu iwi ki Wairarapa tena koutou katoa! E te rangatira Hoori Hookena me o mahi tena koe! E nga waka tangata e tau nei tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa!

I acknowledge the home people; Ngati Kahungunu in the Wairarapa, I greet you all. Rangatira George Hawkins, I greet you and acknowledge all the work you have done. To all who have assembled for this special occasion, I greet you one and all.

All too often we see and hear the differences between New Zealand's peoples and cultures being emphasised; we hear people talk about the friction that our cultural and ethnic diversity is somehow inevitably supposed to create. But this place, this Hau Ariki Marae, stands instead, for the truth that human diversity does not necessarily create disunity or division. Rather, with tolerance, understanding and friendship, we can, in all our diversity, learn from each other, and in harmony stand together.

This community marae, supported so actively by the district's various communities - and offering a welcome not only to all tribes, but also to all races - is an example to all that we are human beings first, New Zealanders second and only then may we separate ourselves into races or creeds.

All thoughtful New Zealanders are saddened by any apparent attempt to speak, or to act, in ways that only emphasise cultural or racial differences in a manner that is likely to create disunity, whether through envy or fear or anger.

Without doubt, it is a natural and a healthy thing, to be proud of our own culture. But it adds no status or worth whatsoever to our own culture, to disparage, let alone to insult, the culture of others. No human being has ever truly grown in stature, by standing on a neighbour.

Instead, it is important that we make every effort to understand our neighbour's traditions and ways of thinking. Besides, it is very enriching for us to do so. Here in this land of ours, we are singularly fortunate, for all of us are beneficiaries of more than one cultural inheritance. We have the unique inheritance of Maoridom, stretching back into the Pacific mists of time and legend. We have the inheritance of Europe which goes back into the earliest days of recorded history. To these two main streams have been added the more recent contributions of our Pacific and Asian neighbours. Ours is a rich heritage indeed. We have so much to celebrate together.

And even if true understanding of this reality is slow to develop, it is clearly the responsibility of each of us, to at least acknowledge our neighbours' traditions and beliefs. That is a basic measure of respect: to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And by behaving in that way, by showing such respect, we ourselves benefit immensely; for we elevate ourselves when we extend friendship to all; to our relations, to our friends, to our neighbours, even to strangers : even when they are not particularly understanding or courteous themselves. As is too tragically obvious these days, countries that live in perpetual, or even in recurring strife, never prosper, never can achieve true happiness for any of their people.

This is why I see Hau Ariki Marae as a hopeful sign, a sign of increasing maturity in this country of ours. Wairarapa has a tradition of peace and goodwill amongst all races : I am sure that Hau Ariki will continue to uphold that tradition. Your Trust Board members have a diverse racial and cultural background : several of your kaumatua are Pakeha, and deeply involved in specific aspects of your work. And I know the Board is dedicated to ensuring that all people in this area come to rely upon this marae, as a working and welcoming part of this community. There can be no better way of making the marae thrive, and ensuring the health of the whole community..

I know that you have guests here today from as far as Auckland, guests who have helped make this day possible, and who have come to share the occasion with you. They, and all the other visitors here value the welcome they receive, not as members of the same tribe, or this race or that religion, but as a member of the one nation, Aotearoa.

The marae is an institution from classical Maori society that has survived the meeting with a radically-different culture and way of life. As we see here today, it has not only survived C it has grown and adapted, to make it not only a survivor from the past, but more importantly, a place that keeps cultures alive and flourishing for us, whatever our origins, and for our mokopuna, our generations to come. I am pleased and honoured to have a part to play, as a representative of our Sovereign the Queen and of your fellow New Zealanders, in this marae's important work.

The building of the Wharenui Tupai is the culmination of many years of planning and of hard work. It is fittingly named after the Keeper of the Gods, who came on the ancestral canoe Takitimu and established his Whare Wananga, his House of Learning, here in Wairarapa. He now stands as the tekoteko at the top of the meeting house.. And so this house is named Te Whare Wananga O Tupai; a house that will embrace all peoples. It is now my privilege to declare this House officially open. May Tupai serve the people of this region long and faithfully.

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 January 2009

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