NZ Pasifika Principals Association – Wayfinders from the Pacific
Photo: NZPPA group enjoying the Sunset at Arai Te Uru Reserve

From the 25 – 27 March 2021 a group of 24 members of the NZ Pasifika Principals Association (NZPPA) travelled up to the Hokianga for a 3 day Hikoi. The purpose of the Hikoi was we as an association see ourselves as Wayfinders from the Pacific who would like to make a connection and gain a better understanding of Kupe’s life and journey to Aotearoa. We also want to firm up and explore how we can strengthen NZPPA’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and talanoa about what this look like?

Photo: NZPPA group at Manea – Footprints of Kupe

On the Thursday we visited Manea – Tapuwae a Nuku – Footprints of Kupe. It is a 75-minute multi-sensory journey of guided storytelling – through art, taonga (cultural treasures), film, performance, digital interaction and the splendour of Hokianga’s natural surroundings. The tour is divided up into 3 parts: 

  • Whakapapa / Connect … Engage in stories about our ancestors and the ancient realms of Kupe, told through carvings and the surrounding land. Deepen your understanding of Māori customs and our dynamic connections to the natural and spiritual world.
  • Ruku / Immerse … On your arrival at the Manea whare taonga (house of treasures), our people welcome you with the timeless cultural ceremony of pōwhiri. You now enter the Manea theatre, where a 20-minute 4D-digital extravaganza and live performance immerses you in a full sensory recreation of the rich and vibrant world of the intrepid adventures of Kupe. You appreciate in a new way the extraordinary feats of our ancestors’ ocean voyaging.
  • Toro / Interact … From the theatre, your guide will lead you outside to absorb the full significance of the Hokianga harbour and our story. This was not only where Kupe made his home, but also his final departure point from this land. You can now continue your journey of discovery at your leisure in the Footprints of Kupe Interactive Gallery, where digital stations reveal more details of our ancestor’s story.

Photo: NZPPA about to experience the interactive show

Photo: Hangi

Photo: NZPPA Enjoying some delicious Maori Hangi

We found this whole experience to be very moving and spiritual and found that we were able to make very strong connections with who Kupe was and his experiences. A strong sense that not only was he an important and valued ancestor of Maori but also of Pacific peoples. The Traditional Maori Hangi was also a high point lol.

Photo: Waitangi Treaty Grounds Tour

On Friday we made our way to the Waitangi Treaty grounds and were taken on a guided tour a few of their important attractions. Our guided tour was so detailed because it share with us some of New Zealand’s history and we were able to discover and hear some of the history and stories, and the people and events that shaped the past, present and future of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Some of the things we visited were:

  • Te Rau Aroha … this gallery tells the story of the Māori commitment to the armed forces. It includes exhibitions on the New Zealand Wars and the Boer War, with a strong focus on the Pioneer Battalion of World War I and the 28 (Māori) Battalion of World War II. It also is dedicated to the 28 (Māori) Battalion’s A Company, most of whom hailed from Northland. It tells the personal stories of the soldiers and their families. 
  • Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi … it weaves together the stories and taonga (treasured objects) which bring to life the history of Waitangi and Aotearoa New Zealand’s founding documents. It tells the story of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi from multiple perspectives to achieve an authentic and accurate representation of events. 
  • Ngātokimatawhaorua …Te Korowai ō Maikuku (waka house) near Hobson’s Beach shelters a ceremonial war canoe named Ngātokimatawhaorua, the world’s largest of its type. Waka have always played a vital role in Māori culture, essential for travel and uniquely constructed and carved as symbolic representations of each iwi’s (tribe’s) identity and spirituality. Ngātokimatawhaorua was built to mark the centenary of the Treaty of Waitangi’s signing in 1940 and was built by members of New Zealand’s northern and Waikato tribes. The waka is launched every year in February as part of Waitangi Day celebrations.
  • Traditional Maori Powhiri and Kapahaka Performance … This was the icing on the cake for our visit and we were treated to a very impressive powhiri and show. It left us wanting to know more and also feeling very proud of all that is Maori culture and dance. To see the young people perform and believe in what they were doing was touching and moving to see and experience.

Photo: Ngātokimatawhaorua

Photo: Waitangi Performance Group

Photo: NZPPA Members Talanoa about what the Treaty means to us

We finished our day with Talanoa in one of their conference rooms unpacking what Te Tiriti means for our association. How we as Pasifika Principals in Aotearoa incorporate Te Tiriti and what could this look, sound and feel like for our association. An important journey that is definitely one we are prepared to take. This trip was exactly what we all needed after the Covid Lockdowns and to continue to firm up our connection and purpose.