He kākano i ruia mai i hea? : Kāwera : rekindling the home fires : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Māori Studies at Massey University, Manawatū, Aotearoa
Kāwera (Ōmāhu IB4B2) is tūrangawaewae to the Nuku whānau (family). It is a relatively small block along the winding Taihape Road, that looks no different from any of the other neighbouring farm lands apart from our whānau urupā (family cemetery) and a stone waharoa (gateway) standing, as it might appear, randomly in the middle of the front paddock.
Our tīpuna (ancestors) lived and worked on this land until the 1940s. They have all long since gone now, sadly taking with them, most of our oral narratives, our waiata (songs) and our pūrākau (ancient legends) that pertain specifically to Kāwera. Therefore this journey of uncovering our history, our whakapapa (genealogy), our stories, has in the main, depended on Māori Land Court records and fragments of memories held by only a few of my elders.
The significance of the block was solely based around our loved ones at rest in the urupā (cemetery) and our own experiences - camping and eeling at Kāwera over the years. However, this research has revealed that Kāwera has a rich and extensive history. This land has been fought for, both in combat and through the spoken word, and I strongly believe that we are extremely fortunate that this block is still retained by our whānau.
A great deal of the data has been collected from evidence provided to the Native Land Court in the late 1880s by my tipuna (ancestor), Wiramina Ngāhuka. Wiramina was an expert witness in terms of whakapapa and land sites, and well-known for her skills as a historian, as the holder of whakapapa that spans back to pre Ngāti Kahungunu. She deserves to at least be acknowledged by her own descendants.
The research also looks at Kāwera’s contemporary history, and whakapapa narratives pertaining to the hapū (sub-tribe) affliliations of Wiramina and her husband, Nuku II. The hope is that in some way, this research will sow a seed that rejuvenates a bond between us and Kāwera, and with each other.