Recently I was in Te Hiku o Te Ika, the Far North or rather the tail of the fish of Maui. I was treated to some spectacular winter feasts of Tuatua (flat shell fish) from te Oneroa a Tohe, Raw Tamure (snapper) in cream, pakapaka (crackle) pig heads, watakirihi (watercress), kutai (mussle) chowder, purple peruperu (maori potatoes) and basically a whole lot of reka (sweetness) from the kainga (homelands!)
I really marvelled how in Hotoke (winter) the home people were able to produce such abundance from the moana, creeks and whenua. Some of our Iwi and hapu have suffered the absolute decimation of our food sources so we are no longer able to feed our manuhiri our traditional kai. He tino whakaama tatou, this indeed causes embarrassment to some of us.
To come to Ngati Hine and not be served smoked Tuna! To arrive in Horeke (Hokianga) and not eat Karehu! No Titi (muttonbirds) in Murihiku! No Paua in Ahipara!
For many of us re-syncing with maramataka and becoming more aware of the environment brings on a sense of duty to ensure our environment is indeed healthy, this stance is true kaitiakitanga (active guardianship). The ultimate measurement of kaitiakitanga is are we able to feed our manuhiri our traditional kai that we are famous for in our own unique areas? Are we also able to sustain that food source throughout the year? How do we enable our food source to rest and how as kaitiaki may we assist it to be plentiful?
Our daughter is named Keteriki after a significant event that still occurs annually in Ngati Hine. When the Tangariki or small eels come into our streams of Ngati Hine after their long journey from Te Moana nui a Kiwa, they arrive at Te Rere o Tiria (the waterfall of Tiria) near Moerewa and are unable to navigate their way up the falls.
No mai rano (from way back) our people have come out with small kete (Keteriki) to scoop up the Tangariki (tiny tuna) to help them on their way. Without the people assisting the Tangariki to do this, we would have no tuna to eat later into the coming seasons. The awareness of when this happens is essential for not only the survival of the Tuna, but the survival of us the people! This mahi demonstrates our tribes intricate knowledge that we must practice this act in order to sustain our kai!
This morning I was discussing with my whanau how when your aware of maramataka, you are also aware of the movements and tohu (signs) of the environment.
No reira, What is the health of your own environment and traditional food sources? How may you use maramataka to greater monitor its health and improve on its abundance? Even living in the city we can consider this. Following maramataka makes us face up to the actual reality of the state of our Taiao and despite sometimes not liking what we see, what will we do to make changes? Or will we simply carry on refusing to recognise the tohu (signs)? Kia kaha tatou ki te tiaki a tatou ao, nga kai maori mo nga uri whakatupu.
Would love to hear some of your korero and feedback e hoa ma, nga mihi ano i runga ite ahuatanga o te ra!
C) Heeni Hoterene