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Jane Davis

Title: “Te kaha te hikoi o te Tangata

Ngäi Tahu

Oraka-Aparima Runaka, 115 Palmerston St., Aparima (Riverton), Southland





Jane Davis, Oraka-Aparima Runaka.





Te Kaha te hikoi o Te Tangata is the journey of the Murihiku Mäori whänau.

The faith and influence they had with Papatuanuku.

The spiritual and holistic approach that shaped a hunter gatherer culture.

The requirement to change from a stone age people to a world that was monetary and industrial in a very short time frame.

How far have the whänau got to in their journey now?

Is there enough of an influence of our Tikanga on management processes and decision making within government local authorities etc.?

We have responsibility for the future care and management of Papatuanuku.


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Ko Aparima te Awa

Ko Takitimu mea Hananui te Mauka

Ko Takitimu te Waka

Ko Tahu Potiki te Takata

Ko Murihiku te Rohe

Ko Takutai O te Titi te Marae

Ko Rakiura mea Te Waipounamu te Whenua

Ko Kaitaha Katimamoe Ngaitahu te Iwi

Ko Jane Davis taku ingoa

Tënä koutou tënä koutou tënä koutou tënä koutou katoa


It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this hui.  I would like to thank all the speakers who have come to participate in the hui. I would like to thank The Foundation for Science and Research who have supported the Kia Mau Te Tïtï Mo Ake Tönu Atu program. Also, Dr Henrik Moller and the Zoology team for organising the hui and the Murihiku Marae whänau for allowing us to share the Marae with them.

Science was a subject I had not given a great deal of thought to.  Science for me was bunsen burners and test tubes making rather nasty smells.  I have come to understand that in many ways the practices that we use in our daily lives are science related and within the Tikanga of Tribal Lore there are many sciences.  Te kaha te Hikoi o te Tangata will walk some of those paths so we may understand how those processes contributed to Mätauranga Mäori in the past.  I will then consider how to use that knowledge in the present and in the future.


Te Kaha te Hikoi o te Tangata


Our creation stories tell us Tane Mahuta separated his parents Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother by pushing them apart and allowing light to emerge.

Rangi and Papa had a number of children and all of these children became gods.  Some of those descendants are:


          Tane Mahuta god of the forest

          Tangeroa god of the sea

          Tawhiri matea god of the elements

          Rongo Matene god of peace

          Tu Matauenga god of war

          Hine nui o te Po goddess of death


Our land was formed and clothed by the gods.  Te Wao Nui O Tane the great forest of Tane is the domain of Tane Mahuta.  And Tangaroa rules our sea. 


When Mäori came out of the Pacific on their voyage of discovery they were urged on by the great long white cloud they saw covering the land.  And we can imagine the Tohuka chanting the karakia and giving thanks to the gods for their safe arrival on these shores.  We know others followed those first explorers and settled in the north and eventually moved south and eventually became resident in Murihiku.


Once hapu and whänau came south they realised the need to adapt and develop a culture suited to their needs with the environment they were living in.  Rather than being a people resident in one area, they moved with the seasons.  Dependent on nature - watching, waiting, planning their gathering at certain phases of the moon and navigating by the stars, recording in memory land marks, rivers, lakes and mountains, areas of mahika kai and manu for birding.  Accumulating knowledge, passing that knowledge on to each generation by way of the whare kura the schools of learning.  Using their Tikanga - their customs and habit of how things were done. The karakia - a spiritual link with the gods for their spiritual wellbeing.  Kaitiakitanga - guardianship, the connection to the natural world.  Their rahui - protection or a warning of trespass.  Tapu - that which is sacred.  Mana - their authority and prestige.


This was a society managed and lead by the Rangatira and Tohuka living and using the tools and processes of their tupuna.  Mäori had brought with them kiore, the pacific rat and kure, the dog.  These creatures were foreign to the native species, the land and resources.  Their impact was relatively low at that time but that was the forerunner of many introduced species that would devastate the native wildlife of Aotearoa in the years to follow.

Prior to 1800 Murihiku Mäori had experienced internal strife, tribal war, alliances, and strategic marriages.  It was not unknown for a war party to stop their hikoi and return home to Murihiku to prepare for their journey to the Tïtï Islands to harvest titi.  That shows how important was the need to gather and store the kai to fortify the whänau during the winter.


The economy and health of the kaika in Murihiku depended on the hunting and gathering skills of the whänau.  The harvest of the tïtï was an important component of the life style of Murihiku Mäori in pre European times and remains just as important in the culture of the whänau in the year 2000.


After the arrival of the sealers and whalers from other lands, life for Mäori in Murihiku changed dramatically.  At first Mäori and European lived as one, and there were marriages between Mäori and European and children were born.  You will see the descendants of those people here now. You will see it in the fair faces that look back at you. Those people are still here. Those names are still here.


In 1840, a Treaty was signed on Ruapuke Island with the Crown giving the Crown the right to govern and make laws.  Mäori had the right to their lands and possessions.  And Mäori had the right of an ordinary citizen of Aotearoa.  Aotearoa became New Zealand - a British colony.


Land was allocated to settlers for farming and saw-milling began on a large scale.  Where once Mäori hunted and gathered food - sheep and cattle grazed.  With the new culture came illnesses and Mäori sickened and died in large numbers.  Pests, introduced species and land management practices assaulted and changed our landscape.

Memories of ancestral heritage and language began to fade.  Tikanga once so valued to preserve a way of life remained only in the minds of a few.  Almost, but not quite, we lost our culture.  But there was still a link that would bind some families forever to their past cultural practices and history: the Titi Islands.


The Titi Islands


The Titi Islands are a group of windswept islands scattered around the coast of Rakiura.  They are visited each year by the descendants of Rakiura Mäori in the hikoi to harvest tïtï and renew the special bond they have with the islands.  In 1910 the pressure of a developing Southland economy was impacting on some of the southern islands and some islands were being birded by Pakeha commercial interests.  Manawhenua met together and developed a set of regulations to protect the rights of the iwi and manage the islands.  A partnership was forged with government.  The Commissioner of Crown Lands became the administrator of the Tïtï Islands, now a position held by the Department of Conservation Conservator.  Perhaps this was a first step in co-management. 


How far had a hunter/gatherer stone age people moved from 1840 to 1910?  What did they bring with them and what could they contribute to the future of New Zealand?  They brought with them those same things that they had, those same practices that their tupuna had had.  They brought with them their tikanga - their way of doing things, their karakia - their link with the old gods, an intangible link to Tane Mahuta, and the same intangible link to Tangaroa.  They brought with them the kaitiakitanga.  They brought with them rahui - a way of managing and protecting things.  They acknowledged things that were sacred (tapu) and they brought their mana.


The journey to 2000 for Murihiku Mäori has been testing and difficult.  Manawhenua work with DoC, the Territorial Authorities, University of Otago and other groups associated with managing a diverse environment.  The work with the Department of Conservation has been a forward step for Murihiku Mäori.  It has been about building a relationship with people of the department and university.  Real and meaningful gains have been achieved by all parties.  For years we have had people involved in species transfer and pest eradication.  We have formed a bond by working together.  Kaitiaki Roopu works as a vehicle for sharing views and making decisions by iwi and DoC.  The work with the Territorial Authorities has been supported by Te Ao Marama, a collective group of runaka from Murihiku, which has moved us on and is successful.  Our work with Henrik has opened our eyes to things we can learn from other people from other places in the world.  I think that has been a two-way partnership and that the University research team have also learned from Rakiura Mäori as well.  But still some sectors in the resource management arena do not recognise or give credibility to Mätauranga Mäori.


Murihiku Mäori have adjusted to the new world.  They have learned to understand Conservation acts Resource Management Act Reserves acts CMSs and a host of management plans.  But they have held true to the value of their tupuna.


The fundamental challenge now is for European society to accept that indigenous people have a science that is valuable to the preservation of the flora and fauna of this land.


Can we not accept we are one nation, but we are different people within that nation each recognising and accepting those differences?  Can we accept that we must work together if we are to keep what we already have but which is daily disappearing - so we have something to pass on to our mokopuna from the tupuna?


Mana whenua of the future must be strong and continue to press for the recognition of Mätauranga Mäori at all levels of New Zealand society.  Our schools and universities are the whare kura of the present.  The have the facility to teach western science.  Mäori as the Treaty partner can do no less than expect that Mätauranga Mäori, the science of the Mäori based on tikanga Mäori is part of the curriculum of all schools and universities.


Rau Rangatira ma. Tënä koutou, tënä koutou katoa.

Tuatahi, me mihi ki runga rawa, nana nei nga mea katoa.

Tuarua me mihi ki te whiri nau mai haere mai

Tënä koutou, tënä koutou, tënä koutou katoa.



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Question/Comment (Edward Ellison, Te Runanga o Ngäi Tahu)

Kia ora koutou. Ki a koe te whaea tënä mihi atu ki a koe me te kaiwhakarite o te ata nei, a Michael e tautoko ana nga mihi atu ki a koutau katoa nga mema o tenei hui. Ko Edward Ellison, te Runanga o Ngäi Tahu.  Could you elaborate on the relationship between the research that Henrik Moller does and your tïtï committee.  You've taken us through the tikanga, the past, the kaupapa people have with the natural environment, our taonga and now we’re bringing in western science. There's probably a clash there. How do you manage that relationship in terms of the protection and interpretation of the information that is gathered from that research so that it isn’t taken away from the people?  Kia ora.


JD - Kia ora Edward. Six years ago it was first promoted that we should begin a research programme researching the tïtï and looking at sustainable management for the tïtï. And there was negotiation from Dr Henrik Moller with the tïtï committee to look at developing a programme to do the research. That then was taken back to the people of Rakiura. We called a hui and it was discussed at length.  People went away and thought about it again. Then we called another hui. Eventually after more lengthy discussion a decision was made to proceed with the research. For all of us, we were stepping into a new dimension that was foreign to us. And there was real deep concern that we were almost handing over the accumulated information to a new group. So we met with Henrik and we discussed how we would proceed.  We went to a lawyer who’s well known here in Invercargill and discussed this with him and we entered into a formal agreement. This was a formal legal agreement of what the University would be able to retain, where they would have management, and where we would have management. That was our first step. Then the research team made a visit to one of the Islands, to Poutama for two seasons and they eventually came to Putauhinu, to where the whänau of which I’m part of, live.


Its been a real learning curve for all of us. It hasn’t always been easy.  The team live and work right beside our whänau and for several generations, there’s been no one there but us.  It had been only our family to walk on that ground.  So we were cutting a very new track. There have been times, when you’ve almost thought you wished it had never happened. But then you look at the work that’s being produced by the team, the doors that its opened, the visions that we now see.  For example looking at patterns of where the tïtï go and how everything in the world actually impacts on each other.  That’s how we’ve been able to look at it.  I think later on Henrik will elaborate on how the University team have felt and the values that we have both, as a people, gained. When you take on something that has such an impact on a group of people and in particular on the Island where we are, there’s always the fear that relationships will break down. I think we have been able to talk through any issues of concern that we’ve had. I think that communication is the only way that we can manage these things. We’ve laid down some fairly strict guide rules of where people go, what they do, what their impact is on the island and we’re in charge of that. And we can’t have it any other way. The team has been able to live and work within those guidelines.



Question/Comment (Oliver Sutherland, Landcare Research)

Tënä koutou katoa. E te whaea Jane, tënä koe, he mihi tino nui tenei ki a koe mo te korero i tehei ata.  Firstly Jane I just wanted to thank you for that for that presentation - covering all of those years filled in a whole lot of gaps for me.   Secondly, I just want to acknowledge and express my admiration for what you have achieved together with Henrik Moller and the University of Otago.  It strikes me from my experience over the past number of years, that that tells me a great deal about the goodwill that was existing, the uncertainties that were existing and how you dealt with them. Now of course we are seeing the results of some of that work come out. Now for my question.  You were talking about the Western learning institutions embracing Mätauranga Mäori and perhaps putting some resources towards it.  Have you seen anything of that locally, perhaps down in this part of the country, or have you seen that happening anywhere else?  Do you see a willingness of the Western, i.e. the Pakeha institutions, to embrace Mätauranga Mäori and share some of their resources with it?


JD - Kia ora Oliver.  I am sad to say, I really haven’t seen a positive shift by learning institutions towards Mätauranga Mäori.  Recently as part of the Waiau Mahika Kai Trust that I am part of, we developed a kete, a learning aid, to place into the schools here in Murihiku.  It was based on Mahinga kai and Mahinga kai practices. We have tried in several areas for help to have it printed so that we could give it to schools.  We were unsuccessful.  We have tried Ngäi Tahu Development Corporation for assistance there too.  So it isn’t easy for us to spread the word.  While we say it among ourselves and we are perhaps talking here to the converted, it is much more difficult our there.  I find that difficulty here in Murihiku.


We just have to keep on building those relationships and gaining the confidence of other people. But that also is very shifty ground because the relationships we build with institutes are based on relationships with individuals.  For example the relationships we built with the Department of Conservation has been built on the relationships of particular people and when those faces change, then you have start all again with the organisation.  We don’t want to keep doing that, do we?  We want to go further than that.



Question/Response (Rau Kirikiri, Manaaki Whenua)

Kia ora tatou.  Might it have made a difference had there been one of your own doing the mainstream science?  You have been talking here about Pakeha scientists working with Mäori and trying to get Mätauranga Mäori and mainstream science together.  I think there is a school of thought out there that is saying - "lets get more Mäori actually doing the science".  Might that have made a difference in this particular exercise?


JD - Kia ora Rau.  Yes, I do agree.  The problem was we didn’t have those scientists of our own.  We haven’t been able to find those people.  We encourage as many Ngäi Tahu and Mäori students as possible to come forward and to train in the research team.  And we do have people now training and being part of that team.  We have been able to have Jane Kitson.  Jane came as a field worker and she is now doing her PhD.  We have Corey Bragg and these are all whänau.  Its very uplifting for us that we have been able to, not direct, but encourage those young people to join in.  We hope that in the future that they can carry out that science for us.  The other thing is, while we must encourage our young people to train as scientists, they can’t go forward just wearing the cloak of our Pakeha father.  They have to also have the cloak of our Mäori mother.



Question/Comment (Jo Harawira, Kaupapa Atawhai, Manager for Tainui, Department of Conservation)

Tënä tatou katoa. Tuatahi mihi kauaki ki a koe Mike, nau e tuku te arawhata ki to tatou matua i te Rangi.  No reira, tënä koe.  Ki a koe Jane me nga korero e wharikihia i tenei ata, ma matua e whakarango.  I come from an education background and in my interview with DoC I asked if the Department of Conservation has an education arm that has programmes that go into schools?”  And they said “Why do you ask that?”  And I said, “Well basically out there you have got a whole lot of people who do not have a conservation ethic and that conservation ethic starts with the 3-5 year olds.  The Department of Conservation must have heard my message because they provided funding to get more of that conservation message going into our tamariki so that they are growing up with a conservation ethic.  So I’d just like to say Kia ora to you for your korero.


JD - Well thank you.  That’s good to know that those things are happening and we must support and encourage that.



Question/Comment (Michael Skerrett, Te Ao Marama and Titi Committee Member)

How do you find the Western science stacking up against our Mätauranga Mäori?  Does it in fact reinforce the beliefs and practices that have been handed down to us?


JD - I can’t really speak for Henrik, but I think what the research is finding out is that some of the things that we are told, and talk to Henrik about, are in fact proven facts in Western science.  For example, we told them that at a certain time the birds will go to the edge of the cliff, and they'll decide whether to go or not and then they'll move back and they'll get back up the hill again".  You might think that's strange.  But they have now radio tracked the birds and they've learnt that what we've said actually happens.  That's just a small example of how we are learning from one another.



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