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Posts Tagged ‘Te Rūnanga o Moeraki’

Lifeblood of the valley flows again

Along the southern edge of the Lower Waitaki River, a team of kaiaka taiao, or indigenous rangers, have been hard at work clearing scrub, establishing native plantings and monitoring an extensive network of traps. Whiria Te Waitaki is a restoration project led by Te Rūnanga o Moeraki, weaving together aspirations for the health of the catchment, and creating career opportunities for their whānau.

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Don’t just look at the pictures

Atholl Anderson and Brian Allingham were responsible for getting the Ngāi Tahu tribal rock art project kick started. Twenty-five years later, on different sides of the Pacific, both Gerard and Chris have also been immersed in rock art heritage. The pair first met a few years ago at a rock art symposium in Barcelona, and immediately realised the parallels in both their research and their whakapapa. In May 2016, with their PhDs finished, they got together in British Columbia to support a local Indian band excavate at an important rock shelter, and to talk at the Nlaka’pamux Rock Art Conference, hosted by the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, in Lytton, British Columbia.

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Te Kura o Te Tira Mōrehu Reo o
Moeraki

The wānanga represent a revitalisation of their own, as they emulate the renowned wharekura Ōmanawharetapu that Matiaha Tiramōrehu held in Moeraki until 1868. Tiramōrehu, widely known as the father of the Ngāi Tahu Claim, was also a renowned scholar with extensive knowledge of Māori traditions and whakapapa. He sought to share this with others, and in his wharekura taught Ngāi Tahu tamariki the traditional knowledge and customs that had been handed down for generations.

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The first language of Te Waipounamu

Rock art is one of the oldest and most significant of the traditional arts, and considered by some an early form of written language: meaningful marks left for others to read. Some of those marks offer a glimpse of the world in the time of moa and pouākai (Haast’s eagle). Earlier that morning I’d witnessed a drawing of the giant eagle soaring across a cave roof at Frenchman’s Gully. In this landscape of hawks and falcons, it’s easy to imagine the artist looking up to see that vast shadow pass above.

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