This year's Koroneihana, the annual celebration of the Kingitanga and the 12th year of Tūheitia Paki's tenure at the helm was a great occasion.
Ngāti Kahungunu was well represented by a huge rangatahi contingent led by Jeremy Tātere and Te Rina MacLeod, the pied pipers of Māori language who are leading the tidal surge of reo and tikanga renaissance amongst their generation.
Bayden Barber was our kaikōrero and delivered a deft, humorous and emphatic speech reinforcing the iwi's ongoing and enduring support for the institution of the Kingitanga.
High school students of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga followed Bayden's kōrero with a bellowing boisterous ngeri, an uplifting fast beat haka, summarising the iwi's history with the Kingitanga which was compiled and composed by Tātere.
Jerry Hapuku laid down our koha and it was great to see our kaumātua of 22 years, Haami Hilton, and his wife Edina in full support of our rangatahi and our speaker Bayden.
Haami and Edina had represented us the previous evening at the King's Annual Dinner.
I first attended the Kingitanga celebrations in 1983 during the time Dame Te Atarangikaahu was the Māori Queen. At that time te reo Māori was the language of formal and informal kōrero and my generation was the one that had missed out.
However on this occasion, the elders all still converse in te reo but so do the rangatahi and mokopuna thanks to kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and wānanga that were absent during our formal schooling. Well done once again Kahungunu.
It was good to see one of our own Minister Meka Whaitiri sitting amongst our people during the formalities.
And all this despite a feral missile delivered in an 'open letter to all and sundry' from the once Speaker for the King, ex Māori Party chairman, ex Waikato Tainui Iwi chairman, ex NZ First MP and ex everything else, Tukuroirangi Morgan.
My ex-Iwi chairman colleague could not have got his timing more right, or wrong, as he launched his tirade on the eve of the Koroneihana.
He said the King had spoken 'bad' things about him at an earlier hui so in turn he called the King a 'puppet King' whose strings were being pulled by a sinister force called Rangi Whakaruru, one of our very own from Pakipaki.
His rantings and ravings didn't get a mention over the two days I was there at the Koroneihana, which was good, and the crowds were as large as ever.
The late Parekura Horomia once shared with me that Kingi Tuheitia is the "people's king in touch with planet earth" and even the "cussing king", unafraid to berate those around him and he urged me to support him. And I do. And we do.
- Ngahiwi Tomoana is Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chairman