Pā mai tō reo is a one-page chronicle of the journeys of the Waka Takitimu and its origins from Te Moananui a Kiwa and its steady migration over 300 years to its eventual resting place in Te Waipounamu, Aotearoa.
Previous to the Takitimu voyage, however, we can trace our whakapapa through Polynesia into Melanesia through Micronesia into Austronesia from our origins in Asia.
In 2012 I travelled with Tā Pita Sharples into the hinterland of Southern China into the steep mountain villages where people still lived in caves that were fitted with housing platforms but had electricity and cellphones.
It was the first time that the New Zealand Embassy staff had ever visited these secluded places. But the New Zealand Ambassador, Carl Worker, had predicted that Pita would make connection with these people immediately, as it was said that this was the area where Māori first left China for Taiwan.
We had seen some of their pictures of adzes and 'hei tiki' that were similar to our own. As we climbed up the mountainous passes to the village we heard the reedy wailing of the women folk as they called out to us.
One of our party from Tuwharetoa had just buried her mum before this trip, and she burst into tears when she saw her 'mum' amongst the host women.
When she was able to speak again she said the old kuia was a perfect image of her mum. Furthermore, when they were introduced together, she burst into tears again, as the kuia rubbed her arm just like her mother would.
I know this sounds so coincidental but it was too close to ignore. Needless to say, our ope was a huge hit with the villagers and with the mayors and with the regional heads which gained support in Beijing Government headquarters.
The SEAC – the Chinese equivalent of TPK - then got involved and asked us if we would connect with all the ethnic Chinese tribes of which there are about 20, numbering 200 million people.
They wanted us to work with them to retain their language and culture as they moved from subsistence level farming to more corporate and collective farming and furthermore into the industrialised and technical industries that were moving into the regions.
The Chinese Government acknowledged that Māori could assist in the retention of culture and traditions as these ethnic communities moved forward into the industrialised world which China was fast becoming a global leader.
The regional government even offered our group a huge tract of land - 10 square miles to demonstrate and support how Māori are leaders in economic growth, but that's another story …