Te Maori: Book keeps marae memories alive

By Dana Kinita

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Cyrus Hingston with his new book Pou o Whakaue which takes an in depth look of eight Ngati Whakaue marae. Photo/Ben Fraser
Cyrus Hingston with his new book Pou o Whakaue which takes an in depth look of eight Ngati Whakaue marae. Photo/Ben Fraser

The history of Ngati Whakaue marae has been released in a new book Pou o Whakaue.

Compiled and written by Rotorua resident Cyrus Hingston, of Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Tarawhai, the book documents the history and the memories it has to its people of eight of the iwi marae.

Mr Hingston said the motivation behind Pou o Whakaue was to keep knowledge of the elders alive for future generations.

"My father passed away and there was less and less older people who had the knowledge so I thought perhaps I can do something about that by interviewing kaumatua and kuia," Mr Hingston said.

"Initially it was supposed to be 80 pages but after my first meeting with koeke [elders] at Owhata they asked me, 'Who's story is it?' and I said, 'Your story.'

"They said write about the land, tupuna, don't just give the name of the marae and the wharenui. So basically what was supposed to be 80 pages turned into 220 pages and what was supposed to have taken a year, has taken 17 months to finally get it to print."

The book has 31 contributors and delves into the whenua, whare, tupuna, whakapapa, korero, hapu and whanau associated to each of those marae. It was made possible with the help of Ngati Whakaue - Te Arawa Writer's grant. Pou o Whakaue is bilingual with an introductory summary in te reo Maori for each chapter.

"Some koeke said they didn't know much about the history but then spoke about growing up next to the marae and the changes over the years but you also found they had these nuggets of information when they talked about the marae and insight into the life and tikanga," Mr Hingston said.

"I was very lucky with the contributions of the kaikorereo, they were generous of what they spoke about, it was humbling."

Pou o Whakaue is available at McLeods Booksellers or by emailing Mr Hingston on chingston1@gmail.com.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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