Our Stories

Uncle Charlie
A Man for his People

It is unlikely that you can have a discussion about the Ngāi Tahu Settlement without hearing stories about Charles Crofts (Ngāti Huakai, Ngāi Tūāhuriri), or as most of the iwi know him, Uncle Charlie. As Charlie tells it, it was the “luck of the draw” that he was Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu at the time of settlement. However, as we speak in the home he shares with his wife Meri, eating mousetraps and sipping on tea, it becomes clear that there was more than just luck at play. Charlie is a man who was always going to do great things.

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Marlon

We met up outside the Lyttelton Coffee Company on a sunny Friday at high noon. A familiar space for us both, but far more so for my coffee date Marlon Williams. It takes him three stops to catch up with locals just to get to the counter. I have always found Lyttelton to be a place of warmth and welcome, because of the people who call it home – people like Marlon Williams.
From the marae to the church to the stadium, Marlon Williams is a pretty big deal these days, although he’s too humble to accept that. He is Ngāi Tahu with whakapapa connections to Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki, Moeraki and Ngāti Waewae through his mum, Jenny Rendall. Born at home on Cashel Street in Ōtautahi, and educated at Christchurch Boys’ High School and University of Canterbury, Canterbury “is always the anchor.” So why is this Marlon’s place to be?

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Takutai Moana

The highest form of protection of Māori rights and interests available is “Customary Marine Title”, which recognises the relationship of an iwi, hapū, or whānau with a part of the common marine and coastal area. The title can’t be sold, and free public access, fishing, and other recreational activities are allowed to continue in Customary Marine Title areas. Successful applicant groups gain a number of rights in regards to the area…

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The Good Bishop

Bishop Wallace was baptised at birth in the church at Ōnuku by a Rātana priest, and was raised at Little River by his grandparents. “The thing I remember back then is going to sleep at night listening to karakia, and waking up in the morning listening to karakia, all in the reo,” he says.

The role of Bishop of Te Waipounamu was established in 1996, and Bishop Wallace is the second to be elected, and the first of Ngāi Tahu descent. He was nominated by Canon Bella Morrell of Dunedin, and was elected in September 2016 by members of the Anglican Māori Diocese, before being ordained at Ōnuku in January 2017. For the Bishop, being ordained at the same place he was baptised was particularly special. “It is like I have done a full circle and returned for a reason,” he says as he begins to tell his story.

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Te Ao o te Māori

Motoring up the shipping channel of the Whangārei Harbour, Hayden Smith suddenly slows the Sea Cleaners boat and arcs it hard right. He’s spotted something in the water. It’s a piece of plastic, which he expertly manoeuvres towards before grabbing a net to scoop it from the ocean. He’s done this a thousand times before – it’s what feeds him, drives him, and helps to give his life purpose.

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Advancing bioenergy

As the largest Māori commercial forest owner in New Zealand, Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates is keen to ensure a sustainable future. It is working with Development West Coast in the hopes of establishing additional bioenergy plants there, starting with a feasibility study. Bioenergy, as the name suggests, is energy from biological sources like wood and other plant materials, and can be used as a solid, liquid, or gas. It is renewable, unlike finite fossil fuels such as coal and oil. It is the most-used renewable energy globally, ahead of hydroelectricity and wind. It has become a major industry in many European countries and there is potential for this to happen in New Zealand as well.

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Maunga atua

It is a haerenga to bring Moeraki stories to life, and to ensure that those on the Moeraki paepae know what they are talking about. Sometimes the haerenga, which happens every few years, from the mountains to the sea. This time, the Moeraki rōpū is travelling from the coast to the mountains. Along the way they hear the whakapapa of the Waitaki Valley, and the importance of the Waitaki awa to Moeraki. They pass through the landscape as the kōrero comes to life. It is much more powerful this way, experiencing the kōrero among the majesty and power of the whenua, rather than listening to the stories at a wānanga.

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Kā Whare Māori ki Awarua: Bluff’s “Māori Houses”

“Far to the south in the town of Bluff … in difficult circumstances, a small Māori community descended from Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, and Waitaha tribes, combined to institute an assembly hall with a courtyard to serve as a centre for the practice of Māori songs and the entertainment of visitors.”

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Mahi Māra Winter
Aloe Vera & Strawberries

My favourite part of winter is looking at the empty spaces in the māra and planning for the coming spring growth. Even though we had a cool spring and summer, my strawberry patch was incredibly productive this year and rewarded my whānau for their foraging efforts. Having berryfruits in the māra is a real treat not just for one’s taste buds, but also for one’s health.

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Media

Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquake legislation

The Government today introduced the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Bill and the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Government has also indicated a third Bill, the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Bill, will be introduced to the House on Thursday. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu welcomes the introduction of these Bills…

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Whakaraupō initiative

A new initiative to restore the health of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō was launched today. The initiative will see five major players in the management of Whakaraupō/ Lyttelton Harbour – Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company – join forces to create an action…

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