The Web of Spider Grandmother seen in Collage looking remarkably like a modern-day keyboard!
Ka whakara e
Toku hine ngaro
Hei whaka mana ai
Ko te pouri tonu
Ke te po o te kore
Ka tipu tonu mai, te haeata
Ki te Rawhiti
Ko te po o te Awatea
Mai i te Ao Marama
Ka tu te Ao
Ka umere te Ao
Ka piki te Ra
Ki te Rangi
Tihei mauri ora!
WE CATCH THE BREATH OF LIFE. WE SPEAK.
And to open the way to the deepest knowledge, we listen.
The Trail of Understanding
''WE ARE WAITAHA...'
UNTIL NOW WE HAVE HIDDEN OUR BEGINNINGS, and all that followed, in the shadows. In this way we protected our knowledge in the silence of the Whare Whananga, the School of Learning of Waitaha.
Tuatara, the Keeper of the Knowledge [for 260 million years], guards the trails to the realms of the mind and spirit that give us life. we lead you past Tuatara, our ever vigilant kaitiaki [guardian, and invite you to share the words and wisdom of our ancestors. For it has been decided it is time for our treasures to be brought into the light.
Ruia, Ruia, Rui nga kakano i Ruia mai i Rangi Atea... We do this for the children, and their children, and all who call this land home.
With these words we begin to tell for the first time the sacred Histories of the people of the Nation of Waitaha. Once we were like the sands upon the beaches, a great multitude who knew these shores. Now we are few, but we take courage from the taonga we still hold, because we have kept intact the most ancient songs of the ancestors.
Waitaha is older than old. Much of the history of this land is our history. We kept safe the knowledge of the Tides of Life that flow from Marama, the Moon. Our Star Walkers joined the stars to the land. Our Water Seekers explored the rivers and tested their waters, and the remotest mountains knew the tread of their feet. Our Water Carriers planted kumara vines to clothe the nakedness of Papatuanuku. Our Stone Shapers brought Pounamu [greenstone] to the peoples of this land and others beyond the distant horizons. Our Sea gardeners nurtured the many children of Tangaroa.
we are of Tane Mahuta, and we follow Rongo Marae Roa, the God/Goddess of Peace.
'AND A PROPHECY WAS GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE...'
WE CAME TO AOTEA ROA TO NURTURE THE LAND and walk in peace. And we followed the gentle ways of Rongo Marae Roa down the ages and sheltered the kete that held the sacred songs of our ancestors. There was joy in the land from generation to generation and then came the deepest sorrow.
Strange sails took shape before the wind and Tu Ma Tauenga [God of War] visited the land with his vengeful warriors. We did not take up weapons, for that is not our way, but in the strength of our minds we stood against them offering healing where there was pain and returning kindness for anger.
And the Fires of War seared the land. And our tupuna [ancestors] looked behind the rising waves of pain and out to the stars, and in words of binding prophecy proclaimed...
'Walk in the shadows, hide in the waters, move in the mists, step behind the rainbow to save the taonga [treasures]. Protect our ancestors. Hold the truth close and warm it with brave hearts, for pain will consume the land and the circle of our dreams will be broken. And all will seem lost beyond recall.
Kia Kaha! Be Strong! And the day will come when the taonga will be revealed once more. And we will walk tall with the knowledge in the kete and find joy in the colours of the rainbow.
And the fires of truth will burn into the hearts of all the people of the land. And they will find the trails of gentleness and peace.
Kahuri te Ao... the world turns. And the circle of our dreamtime takes a new shape for a new dawn. And people of all colours join to bind what was broken and live in hope.'
In answer to these words we kept the Histories safe in the Whare Whananga. We protected the kete with our lives. We guarded them behind walls of silence. We placed them in the care of Tuatara, Keeper of the Gates to Knowledge.
Until now we have said nothing when others wrote our Histories for us and brought error to the paths of truth. And, while it became their truth, it was not ours. We held our counsel when our ancestress Hotu Matua, who charted the long ocean trails emerged from the pages as a man [Kupe]. We smiled when brave Captain Cook was said to be the first to bring the potato to these shores. We sat quietly as the names of Waitaha, Rapuwai and Tu Mata Kokiri drifted out of our memory. And, by our silencce we protected the sacred kete and waited in the shadows.
Now the day has arrived for the peoples of the Nation of Waitaha to open the Kete of Knowledge to everyone. The time of sharing is upon us, and a prophecy is fulfilled, because what is written is foretold. That hand that moves knows a wairua [spirit] warmed in ancient days and entrusted with old wisdom. It merely writes what is already spoken for there is nothing new in the Universe.
Know that our truth and your truth may not be the same. We all have our own journey to make and many are the trails that lead to wisdom. We place our sacred Histories before you in the hope of fostering mutual trust and understanding. There is no greater gift we can give to the people of this land. These are our greatest treasures. Know what is given.'
'THE SACRED HISTORIES ARE OF THE UPPER JAW...'
WE HOLD ALL OUR KNOWLEDGE AT TWO LEVELS. Although we may speak with many voices everything we say comes from the Upper or Lower Jaw.
Te Wai Pounamu [Water of Greenstone]... flowing with the waters of ultimate wisdom, is the purest stream of knowledge. It is of the Upper jaw. Few walk the trail to this sacred realm, for it is a long hard journey through ancient karakia and waiata [prayer and song]. Here each word is tapu, part of the intricate weave of life that gathers together the greatest learning and lore of our ancestors.
Down through the ages we have kept that precious stream of knowledge true. All who pass by the Gates of Tuatara to enter its waters become part of the most ancient of worlds. Heavy is the load, because if they break one thread in the kete a distortion runs through the whole pattern, and the taonga are diminished. And our old ones weep. And by their tears the broken strand is repaired.
The first step on the path to the Upper jaw is mapped in the stars for we are born to the knowledge. This is the way of it. A woman heavy with child goes to sacred ground. Her babe arrives when the Moon is full and is taken to a special stream to be immersed in the waters of life. The afterbirth returns to the warm earth and the growing infant is watched closely.
Many years pass, and all the while we watch to see if this young one has the spirit to hold the sacred kete. And, if our colours run true, we search for the wairua that is at one with the world. And what we seek, before we take the child a step closer to Tuatara, is the answer to the simple question, 'Is there gentleness?' The power of the Upper Jaw is never entrusted to those who walk for themselves instead of for others. And it never goes to those who ride the storm tides of anger to inflict pain.
The sacred kete transcend iwi [tribe], for the Moon touches all the waters of this land. The Nation of Waitaha called gifted children from afar; from villages in Hokianga, Waitangi Ki Tua, Rotorua, taranaki, Tahunanui, Kawatiri, Moeraki and other places too numerous to name. And they sailed to Hokitika, Okaroro or Waitaki on their journey to the ancient Schools of Learning at Te Punakaiki, Ngaru Rau Tahi, Te Pae o Kakanui and Te Kohanga.
Few were chosen by Marama to make that journey and fewer still completed the circle to return home as Tohunga [teachers]. Those who did came to Tuatara to enter the realm of the Upper Jaw. And there they were bound to each other to hold the most sacred treasure of our world, the Kete of Knowledge.
Know that the Upper Jaw was not shaped this way to shut others out but to keep pure the source of our deepest learning. Only those with exceptional memories and minds were entrusted with the knowledge that tied the life of the Nation to the movement of the stars and the gathering of the seasons. There was no room for error in the world of the Tohunga. Sending a waka on a Long Tide that did not run true meant the death of the crew. bringing the kumara to see soils that would see little Sun that year opened the way to a trail of tears. Climbing the mountain passes without warning of approaching snows was to walk with disaster. Failing to prepare the long net to protect the young fish born to the tides of spring, left the children of the sea at the mercy of predators.
'WE ALSO SPEAK WITH THE LOWER JAW...'
AND NOW WE COME TO THE OTHER VOICE, the Lower Jaw. it speaks to all without restraint, a bubbling stream open to everyone. It is the free voice unfettered by the laws of silence. And it weaves stories that draw young and old to the evening fires where they find worlds too real to touch, too bright to see and too beautiful to hold close for too long.
Each story is a 'pu rakau' or seedling. Not all seedlings prosper; some fail to reach the Sun, the light that opens the deeper recesses of the mind. However, among the many who enjoy the stories, will be the few who have the spirit to see beyond them to the Histories and grow into tall trees.
Think of stories of the Lower Jaw as sparkling streams that touch the tides of the imagination. And look below the surface of those waters to catch glimpses of the Histories, for there are tides within the tides.
In the wisdom and aroha [love] of those words we say,
'Let the sacred kete be opened for the ancestors to speak again. Let the ancient karakia and waiata be heard throughout the land.
welcome to the trails of the people of the Nation of waitaha. May you journey far in peace and understanding.''
from 'Song of Waitaha: The Histories of a Nation' being the teachings of Iharaira Te Meihana, Wiremu Ruka Te Korako, Taare Rewiti Te Maiharoa, Perenara Hone Hare, Heremia Te Wake and Renata Kauere, Tohungamaramatangi o Te Waitaha.
[with detail of 'Elvis Lives!' by inanga as background]
courtesy of crystalinks and the Mayans, Picasa 3, SmugMug, Google and Mozilla Firefox 2009
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