Ma'uke connects with their Mataatua kin

By Piripi Taylor

A tribe of the Mataatua confederation is strengthening its links with the people of the Cook Islands.

Today, a stone talisman from Ma'uke was consecrated within the house of Awanuiārangi in Auckland and dedicated to the sowing together of their shared history and genealogical links through the ancestral canoe that binds them.

Protective chants from the Māori of NZ were performed alongside chants from the Māori of Akatokamanava, together clearing a spiritual pathway for the spiritual talisman from Waihōu, of the island of Ma'uke.

Ma'uke historian Tinokura Auru Tairea says the talisman is different to stone and rock.

"It's a heavy stone that we've brought here all the way from the sacred cave of Taratoa to acknowledge our shared heritage," he says.

Pouroto Ngaropo of Ngāti Awa says, "It's very significant the coming together of the Ma'uke people with the people of Mataatua here in NZ, with all factions of Mataatua."

According to tradition, the Mataatua canoe made landfall in Aotearoa over 800 years ago and rests in the Tākou River, in the Far North. The origins of the ancestral canoe, however, are subject to much discussion.

"I know that Mataatua is my ancestral canoe. My question to you is do you know the origins of the Mataatua canoe? That is why it important for us to come together," says Tairea.

Ngaropo acknowledges that the ancient knowledge was once known. 

"It is recorded that we originate from there by historians like Hamiora Pio. That knowledge was known to them, however, it has since been forgotten and lost to us. Today we aim to revive that knowledge."

Today formalises the relationship established between Mauke and Mataatua Marae six months ago. Since then, the people of Ma'uke have played a big part in the activities of the marae, in pōhiri and tangihanga.

Ngaropo, who is the chairperson of Mataatua Marae in Māngere, says, "We've given them an opportunity to participate alongside us under the mantle of kinship and love for each other."

They plan on holding a series of wānanga throughout the year, with the hope of eventually retracing the footsteps of their ancestors in the islands from whence they came.

"They're discussing when they will return to the land where my heart rests, to Ma'uke, to attain the knowledge there, to walk the paths that our ancestors tread," says Tairea.