Koro & Moko Fishing,
Koro smiles, as though he knows what is coming. She is curious this mokopuna of his. She wants to know everything and the questions never stop. He doesn’t mind though because he knows she will pass the stories on to her descendants.
He tells her the well-known love story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai, and how she is descended from them.
She listens intently and goes off in a dream as though he had transported her back in time. She can hear the sound of Tūtānekai’s flute guiding Hinemoa in the dark waters of Rotorua-nui-a-kahumatamomoe as she swam from Hinemoa Point to join him despite the displeasure of her father.
She wonders if she would have been brave enough to chance that journey.
She hums quietly to herself the soul wrenching waiata written by Hinemoa for Tūtānekai .
HE TANGI NĀ HINEMOA MO TANA TANE MO TŪTĀNEKAI
Te tau, e, te tau a te rau, ka wehe ia au, e,
Aha i wehe ai? Ka uru kei roto, te niho o Mokoroa,
Rarahu tuana, i ōna peke ngaruhu,
Tangi ana, te wheoro, ki te tuakiri,
He whana taua nei, te wā o te mamae,
Tikina mai au, whaka waireka tia,
Kia hoki ake ai, te korou, ki te ao; e,
E kore hoki ake, he ngāti mate pea; e,
Keria mai au, ki te ruahaeroa, e,
A ngaro ai rā, te wairua.
Nearing the island and the anticipated relaxation in the warmth of Hinemoa’s Pool, the mokopuna reflects on another of her Te Arawa ancestors, Te Ao-kapurangi of Ngāti Rangiwewehi, a women of mana and a peacemaker who saved Ngāti Whakaue from annihilation by Ngāpuhi.
Fascinated by the story she had heard many a time from her koro, she begins to sing the song of Te Ao-kapurangi taught to her by her grandmother. She captures the images of the song in her mind.
“Whakarongo rā te taringa ki ngā rongo taua e piki mai i hautere e i…
Ko ngā Puhi tērā…..
Katanuku kei raro te tihi ki Mokoia e….i Takoto mai rā e…
E te kiri kahurangi i ahau e….i E tū e whai e
He maihi wharenui nō Tamatekapua nō te whānau e…..i Kia whakaputa koe….
Te mana o Hoturoa e tū ana koe ngā waka taurua i a Tainui i a Te Arawa e….
Nā Rangitihi koe,
He hekenga iho i a Tamatekapua kia pohiri koe i te tini o Te Arawa e….i
Koia i tō whare whawhao e
Ka puta te tangata ka ora ki Te Ao e…..i
Hauhia e koe te rongo uhia e koe te kahu waeronui ki runga o Rotorua,
kiahai takahia e…..i
Hoki mai e Ao…..Ki runga ki a Tainui e…….i
Te waka o Turongo….. Na Raukawa koe ra e……..i”
Koro lands their boat on a small sandy beach and taking the mokopuna’s hand in his they make their way to the hot pool of Hinemoa. Pointing out places of interest, Koro tells her about the island and how, not too long ago, their ancestors all lived there.
Diverting a little from his course, Koro takes Moko to a place where they can see the Kumara God - Matuatonga, away in the distance. It was due to the great powers of Matuatonga the kumara flourished on Mokoia Island.
Each year before planting began, tohunga from surrounding districts would bring their seed kumara to the island. They would touch the stone figure to gain its mana and have flourishing crops of kumara.
Koro points to the place where the meeting house Tamatekapua (now standing in Ōhinemutu on Te Papaiōuru) once stood and where Ngāti Whakaue were saved by
Te Ao-kapurangi. He points to the top of the island where now lie those who have passed as guardians of the sacred isle.
As told by Norma Sturley
Qualities: Identity, wellbeing, values, relationships
More to watch:
Clip from a short film about Te Ao-kapurangi made by Tama Poata:
More to read:
More to listen to:
Kēpa Ehau tells the whole story of Tūtānekai and Hinemoa in a Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision archive sound file here:
This entry is related to these other entries:
Te Ao-kapurangi; Murirangaranga, Tūtānekai
Norma Sturley, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Arawa