Poroporoāki Aunty Jane Davis

Mar 20, 2019

Nō hea rā te takiauē e tō ana i kā au o te manawa?
Nō Ōroko, nō Ōkākā, nō Ō te Wao
Ko te taki o te Hākuwai e pāoro nei
He au moana nō Te Takutai o Te Tītī
e toro atu ana ki te mano o Tahu Pōtiki
e hotuhotu ana i te mamae

Kai te huia kaimanawa, e rere runga rā
ō whenua tākaekae, ō moutere tītī
Kā rau ara i takahia e koe mō tō iwi, ō hapū, ō tākata te take

Kai te hākui pounamu
E hoki ki kā rika o tō hoa a Wiremu me tō tamaiti a Patu
i te pūāhurutaka o kā tīpuna.
Ko ō haumāuiui ka niwa ki ruka
Ka titia ki te poho o te motu
Mau tou e

Where does the keening call, pulling the currents of the heart, come from?
It is from the great swells of Ōroko, Ōkākā, and Ō te Wao.
It is the ancient cry of the Hākuwai.
It is a coastal current from Takutai o Te Titi that stretches out
to the multitudes of Tahu Pōtiki who weep together in sorrow.

To our precious huia, may you soar
above your ancestral lands
and the many paths that you traversed for your people.

To our treasured hākui, return now
to the loving embrace of your beloved Wiremu and son Patu,
in the warmth of your ancestors.
The toils of your work and your accomplishments will be etched
into our collective memories and pinned to our hearts

The hākuwai has called Aunty home, and her spirit has begun preparations for the return to the ancestral lands.

It is with much sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Jane Davis, who passed away in the early hours of Saturday 16 March 2019 surrounded by her whānau in Murihiku.

From the day she was carried ashore Putauhinu as an infant in 1930, the Tītī Islands were a cornerstone of Aunty Jane’s life, and it is perhaps no surprise that her passing has coincided with the opening of the 2019 muttonbirding season.

She travelled to the islands with her whānau throughout her early childhood and again in her teenage years; an annual haeranga that continued after her marriage to William (Bill) Davis in 1951 – and that will be continued by her children and mokopuna for many years to come.

Aunty Jane worked tirelessly to protect this legacy, becoming involved in iwi politics in the early 1980s when she and Bill established the Aparima Māori Committee. They contributed to the preparation of Te Kerēme (the Ngāi Tahu Claim) and were determined to see the Crown Tītī Islands returned to the ownership of Ngāi Tahu. When Aunty Jane was elected to the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board in 1989, she became part of the negotiations that saw this aspiration realised.

Over the years Aunty Jane’s focus on conservation led to her role on the Southland Conservation Board and the eradication of kiore from Putauhinu and Rarotoka islands, and the return of taonga species like the tutukiwi (Snares Island snipe) to the Tītī Islands. She has been a staunch supporter of using the latest scientific methods and technologies to make tītī harvesting more sustainable to protect this custom for generations to come. In 1999 Aunty Jane was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the community and to Ngāi Tahu.

Aunty Jane’s passion for the Tītī Islands was matched only by her determination to see iwi members throughout the world reconnect to their Ngāi Tahu identity. In 2006 she was a founding member and chair of the Ngāi Tahu Fund, established to ensure that whānau can access resources to strengthen their cultural capacity, and was a member of Te Pae Kōrako – the Ngāi Tahu Archive Advisory Committee.

But above all, Aunty Jane’s true passion was her whānau. She and Bill had four children: Rewi, Tāne, Patu and Karina, as well as 10 mokopuna and eight great-mokopuna. She endured two great losses in her life, with the death of her son Patu in a car accident and the passing of her husband Bill in 1992.

Aunty Jane’s whānau are her legacy, embodying her deep love and connection to the Tītī Islands and the rūnaka of Ōraka Aparima and upholding the commitment to environmental conservation and cultural connection that she dedicated her life to.

Our thoughts are with the Davis whānau, and with everyone who held Aunty Jane dear to their hearts.

Jane will be at Takutai o te Tītī Marae today where she will lay until her service on Wednesday 20 March 2019 at 11am. All are welcome to attend to farewell Aunty Jane and remember her great passion for our iwi.

Me he manawa tītī me tōna hiringa, kia hoki anō ki te whatumanawa o te whānau.

Like the courageous heart of the tītī in all its glory, let the passion of the people return.

Ngā mihi

Lisa Tumahai