Ko Rawhiti te marae - Rawhiti is our marae
|My beautiful, visionary, tupuna, Ene Rewha Parkes|
Mac Parkes looked after both Pearl and her sister, my aunt Edna Kasper, who were from a Dalmatian family, as well as raising my mother, who was whangai, adopted. I remember their house always being full of love and peace and happiness, I loved staying there as a child, and with my other grandparents, Maria and Ron Raue. All my grandparents lived in Auckland, where I was born. Mac and Pearl Parkes loved, honoured and respected each other all the days of their lives.
At the time registration 6:15 in this video, Te Aroha Rewha tells the story of how our tupuna, my great great aunty Ene Rewha Parkes honoured the remains of a loyal family friend and servant, one of the two who accompanied Wiremu Parkes and Rea Rewha when they finally came home to Rawhiti from Thursday Island.
These people helped care for our tupuna and their many children. They were indigenous people from Thursday Island, where my great grandfather went to establish a successful pearl diving business, and Rea Rewha went with him.
These people from Thursday Island faithfully served our family for many years, and all Wiremu and Rea's many little daughters, all born on Thursday Island, would never have survived without the love and care and protection of these people.
One of them was buried with my great grandfather in accordance with his wishes, but in accordance with Maori custom, but my great grandfather's wishes were over ruled (after his death I presume), and the other person from Thursday Island was buried outside the urupa, as they weren't officially whanau, tangata whenua.
So Ene must have thought about this, and listened to our tupuna, as we can all learn to do, if we clear our mind of trivia and really listen. And Ene went up there one day (or one night), and she sang her karakia and dug up their remains, and buried them inside the urupa in defiance of the wishes of some others, honouring these people from far away, and honouring her mother and father, and honouring the Good/God that lives inside each one of us, honouring true and loyal people who treated our whanau, my great grandparents and all their little babies, as their own.
I come from a long line of strong women, loyal women, women with courage to do the right thing even it's not easy sometimes. It's humbling, and hard to live up to, but it's inspiring, and hugely comforting. In hard times, I feel the aroha and mana of my tupuna, wrapped around me like a korowai, impenetrable, tapu.
It's a very special place, that urupa. The whole place is full of such aroha (love). The urupa looks down over Oke Bay, where whales and dolphin often play. There is a tangible aura of peace, and love, that pervades the place where my tupuna sleep. Aunty Gwen is there now, and my brother. My wish (and my final will and testament) is to sleep there too one day when the time comes.
Kia hora te marino
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana.
Kia tere karohirohi i mua i tou huarahi.
May calm be spread around you, may the sea glisten like greenstone, and the shimmer of summer dance across your path...
More information on the history of Ngati Kuta can be found at this link.
Two hapu share our marae, Te Rawhiti, our people have always been sharers, traders, diplomats. We understand, and practise, whakawhanaungatanga, the process of establishing relationships, and relating well to others. Kei te whakapapa ngā tātai, ngā kōrero rānei mō te ao katoa, nā reira ko ngā whakapapa he whakawhanaungatanga ki te ao, ki te iwi, ki te taiao anō hoki. Whakapapa is the recitation of genealogies or stories about the world, so whakapapa are ways by which people come into relationship with the world, with people, and with life. Ene Rewha listened to our tupuna, and understood this relationship.