Rauhuia ‘Pi’ Smith shares her memories of learning and relearning the mōteatea “Takoto Mai”, and in so doing reflects on the nature and process of matauranga.
Born a twin, Rauhuia ‘Pi’ Smith was raised by her grandparents in Tuparoa. While Pakeha was the language of her schooling, she was privileged to be surrounded by Te Reo Māori in her home and community and glean stories and whakapapa from her grandparents.
One of the main moteatea she remembers from that time is “Takoto Mai”—going many years without thinking about it until hearing it sung again by Tame Te Maro and others in 1976 at Arapeta Awatere’s tangihanga and final poroporoaki at Mangahanea.
“Takoto Mai” speaks of places in Tuparoa Pi learned about as a child—places such as Waingaro and Hikumutu and where the manner in which rivers met and flowed could signal future events. Today “Takoto Mai” continues to be sung on paepae and taught in schools.
Takoto mai, e hika ki te runga ki te atamira,
Kai ai ki te hau no wai weherua,
Ki te tuku mai nga roto ki te runga o Waingaro
Hai whakahinuhi mohou nei, e hika!
Haere, e hika, ki te kainga rua!
Hoki mai, whika, kia moe taua
Ki roto ki taku poho, kia kai mutu koe.
Tau mai to waka ki te waho o te moana,
E hura o kanohi ki te ao whakakaka,
Ki te ao kahupapa ki te runga o Hikumutu
Ma te hau moana e homai ki utua ra,
Kia tohu ake au he marino ukiuki e.