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Sue Wootton, Jennifer Cattermole and Michelle Thompson-Fawcett at Echoes from Hawaiki LaunchOn Thursday 20 June, we launched Echoes from Hawaiki: The origins and development of Māori and Moriori musical instruments by Jennifer Cattermole. We were hosted by our good friends at the University Book Shop Otago, and it was a wonderful, warm evening full of celebration and gorgeous taonga pūoro music performed by Jennifer Cattermole.

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate the release of this beautiful pukapuka. And thank you also to Michelle Thompson-Fawcett who gave such a moving speech to launch the book for us.

Here's her speech:

I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Jen’s book in this way. I’ve known Jen for ten years now. She is a treasured colleague and long-time leading innovator in the tangata Tiriti sphere. She’s developed creative and culturally appropriate ways to decolonise the teaching of music performance, particularly in regard to taonga pūoro. Her care and passion for te ara pūoro and the potential to embrace instrument traditions is inspirational.

And it has been a long and careful journey by this truly humble colleague, starting 25 years ago. Jen approached the playing of these taonga with trepidation and caution. She wanted to learn as much as possible about the tikanga surrounding their use before learning more about how they are played. And as a Pākehā woman, she was afraid of causing offence by her actions, and wanted to avoid any adverse Taonga pūoro instruments at Echoes from Hawaiki Launchconsequences spiritually, and in terms of damaging personal relationships with Māori. She wondered if both her culture and gender could present barriers to her learning and teaching these taonga. At times she felt paralysed (Cattermole, J. 2017).

But she persisted and developed critical lasting relationships with Māori and non-Māori instrument and cultural experts, that gave her the advice and reassurance to find constructive ways of responding to the implicit mono-culturalism of teaching in a university institution.

And, long story short, now we have this exquisite book.

I love this book. Amongst other things, I’m a geographer working in a School of Geography. And this book really speaks to geographers. Maybe you weren’t expecting a book on the origins and development of Māori and Moriori musical instruments to excite geographers. Well, aside from the lovely maps in Jen’s book Michelle Thompson-Fawcett speaking at Echoes from Hawaiki Launch(which I greatly appreciate), this book examines instrument whakapapa and meanings across time … and space … and ocean. It shows us the strong links between identity, culture, and practices in place … and in mobility; and the legacies and distinctions that come with ancestry, migration, and new connections. These are truly geographical notions, but they also resonate with Māori, Pacific and Indigenous communities, with history, archaeology, psychology, sociology, theology, health and of course with music and the performing arts. Jen, you’re conversing with all of us.

Let me share a couple of brief texts from the book that were among many that sang out to me. Actually, some literally sang out to me – 25 audio links of Jen playing various instruments are provided here (p228) – I didn’t even know I was capable of getting my phone to play these via the links provided, but it did.

Sue Wootton speaking at Echoes from Hawaiki launchSo, some passages….

[Michelle reads from pages 25, 55 and 88 from Echoes from Hawaiki]

Overall, this is a very encouraging and motivating book. In a field where the published resources are limited, Jen delivers detailed insights into instruments, their genealogy, function, locational specificities, and narratives. And she does that in a way that is thorough and also deeply moving and uplifting. I’m sure it will foster our taonga pūoro players of the future.

In this book, we see movement and the meeting of different worlds with their sites of enrichment and transformation through the lens of instruments. And on a parallel level, through Jen’s wider work, we see something of our decolonised future as we seek to enrich, transform and create that future together.

Finally, I’d like to share a karakia by Joel Maxwell that I think reflects the type of mahi that Jen continues to undertake: looking back … to navigate the way forward; a way forward that celebrates all people of this land: past, present and future:

Jennifer Cattermole speaking at Echoes from Hawaiki launchHīkoikoi ai, hīkoikoi ai
Keep marching
Kia whai tonu te hā pūmau, te karakia
To keep the perpetual breath, the karakia
kia raranga mai ki runga, kia raranga mai ki raro
Weaving from above, weaving from below
Hei whakakotahi ai te marea
To unite the many
Mai i te ao kōhatu
From the ancient times
Ki tēnei wā tonu
To now
Mai i te iwi Māori
From the original people
Ki te kanorau, ki te anamata
To the many, to the future
Tihei, mauri ora!

– Joel Maxwell

Congratulations Jen, it’s a beautiful book.

Find out more about Echoes from Hawaiki by Jennifer Cattermole here

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