Youth Minister shares Matariki stories with kōhanga kids

By Talisa Kupenga

Kids from a Wellington Puna Reo were starry-eyed with Youth Minister Peeni Henare, who took time to share stories with them and celebrate Matariki.

Henare shared the story of Rāwheiao and how Matariki turned him into the eel for Ngāpuhi.

“He was a hungry lizard who ate all the iwi’s kumara, so the iwi sought help from Matariki,” Henare says.

Ngā Kākāno’s Kerehi Grace (Ngāti Toa) says “they had to chop off his arms and legs!”

Henare’s says four of the stars each took one of Rāwheiao’s limbs to stop him in his tracks, but he still ate the kumara. The stars realised they had to work together so they prayed and Rāwheiao was turned into an eel.

Henare, 100-percent dedicated to his story telling craft, dramatized each limb lost and finished up by wriggling on the floor.

Lucas Penno (Ngāpuhi) says “I’ve seen an eel before. He was funny, he was wriggling around like squirmy worm.”

The story is a tip to Henare’s Moerewa ties, a place which he refers to as “Tunatown”

“That’s how the eel came to Ngāti Hine. Thank you Matariki”