Issue 74 - Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Issue 74


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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