In the pages that follow I am building a story. It may take years to unfold. It is a story that is told through whakapapa; through the genealogies and stories, the waiata (songs) and chants that all make up the whakapapa. The story starts with the cosmic, with the creation whakapapa, then will move on through the epochal and evolutionary whakapapa, then into the human whakapapa.
So, this story is in essence a spiritual journey: a journey backwards (or forwards, depending on where you think you are going in life, or where you think life is going) through the many stories of my tribes of the Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Wellington regions of Aotearoa/New Zealand; through the exploits, the triumphs, the joys and the sorrows, through the beliefs of the ancestors; through the stories of the pre-ancestors, of the spiritual powers here on Earth; through the story of the spiritual parents; to the Creation, to the source of all that there is; to Io-Matua, to Io-Matua-Kore; the Supreme Being.
A word about tapu. Tapu is often held to be just a restriction. And knowledge and learning, we are often told in our culture, is tapu, sacred; not to be disseminated widely. But in its wider sense tapu is the mana or energy of the spiritual powers.
"Ko te tapu te mana o nga atua"
Knowledge and learning then, as I understand it, is not necessarily something to be closely guarded, but is to be respected, even revered. It is one's approach to the learning that is important, one's mental and spiritual attitude, one's respect and reverence for both the knowledge and for its myriad sources; for Io, for the spiritual powers who brought the knowledge to this earthly realm, and for the countless ancestors who have preserved and transmitted it through the generations, all acting in accord with the learner.
In any case, all of the information contained in these pages is already publicly available, written by Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori), and interpreted mostly by Pakeha. In my collection and presentation of that information I hope to present an interpretation that is Maori, but more specifically to present an interpretation particular to my various hapu from whence this information originally came.
The genealogies that illustrate this story are therefore mostly mine. In large part they are of course shared by most members of my hapu or tribes. But they are mine because I can only write about my tribal and family traditions, not those of other hapu or whanau. Other hapu, for instance, may not share in the belief in Io, the Supreme Being, or may not share in the stories of the spiritual power, Tane. Readers should therefore be aware that these stories and beliefs are not necessarily those of all Maori hapu in Aotearoa/New Zealand; or indeed, of all Maori people in my various hapu, for these days we have also adopted to a greater or lesser degree the ways of the Western European Christian culture.
The whakapapa are mostly from the hapu of Ngai Tara, Rangitane, Ngati Ira, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Te Whatuiapiti of the Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Tamaki-nui-a-Rua (Dannevirke), Wairarapa and Greater Wellington regions. There are however other whakapapa from the original inhabitants of the regions who pre-date these named tribes, and with whom the later arrivals intermarried.
The second reason I use my own whakapapa is a very practical one. It is a useful form of copyright of intellectual property on a medium which is causing us all to think again about our supposed, and human-imposed, sovereignty over information and knowledge. The copyright to this story is preserved by the ancestors who created it.
I invite you to join me. Come back often to see where we journey.
Te Aitanga A Kupe
Tuteremoana of Ngai Tara
The Death of Te Aohuruhuru
Rangitane - Ngati Rangiwhakaewa
Te Raekaumoana of Rangitane ki Wairarapa
Tunui - a tohunga (priest) of the Takitimu waka
Rangi & Papa - Ngai Tumapuhi-a-rangi
Maui - Ngati Kahungunu - Ngai Tumapuhi-a-rangi
Ngai Tara - Ngai Tumapuhi-a-rangi
Ngai Tahu ki Te Wai Pounamu
Ngati Apa ki Te Wai Pounamu
Ngai Tahu ki Takapau
Te Aitanga a Tarawhata
A Strategy from the North
A poem about running, and whakapapa
Parata Whakapapa (Ngai Tahu)