Researching our stories
Written by: Hirini Kaa
17 Nov 2014

The whanau and hapu of Ngati Porou have many stories from our past. While we can learn them as individuals, we can also share them with others to gain a better understanding.

Wananga your stories

Our past is subjective. That means that it is viewed differently by different people – by different whanau, hapu iwi or ethnicities. That makes our past complex because there is not one definitive story.

This was understood by our tipuna, who would constantly work on their versions of the past from their perspective. Whare Wananga were not just places of rote learning. Although the uptake of information was a very important feature of their work. They were also places of deep discussion and deliberation, of creativity and innovation.

Wiremu Kaa notes that Mohi Turei, who was trained at Te Tapere Nui a Whatonga, often provoked questions rather than provides answers. The way to understand what he is saying then – and to understand our past – is to wananga, to deliberate on your information with whanau. Then you as a whanau can come to some understandings you can agree on.

Connect your stories

Our stories are connected through whakapapa and though experience, stories do not stand alone. When you look at one incident from the past you can also see a whole range of other people and events that helped shape what is in front of you. We have tried to reflect this in the design of the site, by showing some of the connections between stories. And remember that these connections are endless.

Use your stories

These stories are made to be passed on. Use them or lose them. Social media such as Facebook definitely has its place in sharing these stories.

When Ta Apirana Ngata was compiling his magnificent work Nga Moteatea, bringing together the moteatea of various iwi, he faced the same challenge. He wrote that some said that by doing this work he was deriding the precious taonga of our tipuna. But he argued that his work was instead an opportunity to correct what was already out there.

So keep that in mind too. By all means protect your precious knowledge from exploitation. But at the same time make sure that it lives, and that the version you want is the version future generations will receive.

Tukuna mai o whakaaro