The 2011 Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards were held on 29 November at Massey University in Palmerston North (Te Papa-i-oea). Trudy Meredith accepted the 2011 Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Award for Wiremu Pere, winner of the Te Hauronga/Biography Category, on behalf of publishing partners the Wi Pere Trust and Libro International.
E Papatuanuku tena koe
E whare wanaaga o Te Kunenga Ki Purehuroa, tena koe
E te Atua kaha rawa, whakawhetai ana
E nga Hunga mate, Haere Haere ki hawaikinui, hawaikiroa, Hawaiki pamamao
E nga Hunga ora Tena Koutou
Me nga Rangatira katoa e te paepae o tenei whare wanaanga nga tumuaki Nga Kupu Ora Book Awards 2011
Me nga rangatira katoa, iwi ma Tena Koutou , Tena Koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Hui e Haumi e Taiki e
Ka moe a Wi Pere a Arapera Tautuhi o te Rangi
Ka puta mai a Hetekia Te Kani
Ka moe a Hetekia Te Kani a Rangikohera Ranginui
Ka puta mai a Rongowhakaata Halbert
Ka moe a Rongowhakaata Halbert a Patehepa Tamatea
Ka puta moe a Hineikoia Riripeti Halbert
Ko Taku mama
Ko Trudy Meredith Taku ingoa
It is with humility that I accept this award on behalf of my brother Joe, who is unable to be here at this time, Hani Smiler, Hineiromia Whaanga, Wi Pere Trust who financed this book, Alan Haronga , our chairman of Wi Pere Trust for seeing the book to completion, Peter Dowling and Libro International, our publishers.
This book is but one of many that our people have wished to bring into the world of light and I pay tribute to those many others who have gone before me in particular Rongowhakaata Halbert and his daughter Nona Haronga who first compiled HOROUTA which was published by Reed in 1999.
This book WIREMU PERE has been a long time in the making but everything has its time and it was appropriate that it was finished in 2010.
Brother Joe was procrastinating for a topic for his thesis and his tutor recommended he write about his Tipuna and his role in history, particularly in the political arena. This began a lifelong search for material, the oral histories from our aunties and uncles who have since passed on, and the various institutes which housed documents pertaining to aspects of Wi Pere’s life.
In 2008, for the next 18 months, my husband found me reading material and at my computer nightly after our daily work was completed. Late nights or early mornings were the order of the day.
Tears came to my eyes many times and my heart ached when I read of the unfair obstacles placed in my Tipunas path. One has to really imagine being born in 1837, so few tauiwi in Turanganuiakiwa but many in parliament, the Maori wars with European and Maori, famines, floods and droughts, measles and yet this tipuna of ours was able to rise from there to enter Parliament to fight for his people, and the people of Te Tairawhiti not just his immediate whanau.
To truly know a man you need to hear or read his actual words and yes they were outrageous, wicked and humorous. After reading his many speeches I came to know him and feel him. I remember asking my mother Hineikoia many questions about Wi Pere, and her stories were always told with love, admiration and a wicked smile. She would have treasured this book but unfortunately passed away in 1969.
I felt his frustration and indignation when anomalies were present, one rule for Europeans and one rule for Maori, like the ridiculous law - in order to vote a Maori had to be landless. However, we have moved on since then and we as Maori have more opportunites today. The book is not an in depth investigation into all of Wi Peres life because it would have made the book too long and very expensive to produce.
I admired his tenacity, his outstanding mastery of oratory, a delicious speaker according to one of his listeners….his ability to see and make new pathways which would benefit his people , the tribes of Te Tairawhiti and his constituents.
I understand how Wi Pere must have felt as in my life I have been in places where there were few Maoris and solutions to problems were often innovative but were welcomed in this century yet denied in his time.
I remember 25 years ago being confronted by a relative from another branch of my family who denigrated my Tipuna and my head was bowed. I vowed there and then that I would find all the answers, and, thanks to computers and the resources available today I have found the truth and this knowledge is empowerment. The truth set me free of those feelings of sadness.
However, on his feelings of suffragettes, its just as well we are in different centuries as I would have enjoyed having heated debates on this topic.
Funnily two of his granddaughtersTeria and Mana were powerful speakers on the paepae.
Today we, the trustees of the Wi Pere Trust, like our Tipuna, are always looking for new pathways to benefit the Wi Pere descendants who roughly number about 5000. And like him we too experience a resistance of business institutions to look at constructive changes because they are new and control will be lost by those institutions. We are lucky to have some fine young people highly qualified and experienced to govern our trust.
It was because of Wi Peres foresight that we have our incredible taonga the Wi Pere Trust, which was set up by him by an act of parliament in 1899 and from which our entire family have benefited. He was also responsible for the building of Rongopai, which many of you may have already visited.
We are fortunate that education was always of paramount importance and in our parents eyes nothing was impossible if we applied ourselves to the task and always remembered our tipunas.
We the young people and not so young descendants can follow his example and challenge ourselves
to excel not just for our personal benefit but for the benefit of our whanau, extended families and communities.
I believe that after being involved in this book that
Wi Pere made a difference to many people in Aotearoa.
It is all too easy to criticize a man or woman after they have passed on and it is right that we should only remember the good, It is in the hands of God to judge the not so good, not ours.
Once again I thank you for this award on behalf of my brother Joe and everyone involved with seeing this book finally published.
Riria Mauaranui and the other tohunga of the whare wanaanga groomed and prepared him for his role, recognising his abilities whilst in childhood.
As mothers today, we too are responsible for the preparation of our children and grandchildren for their journeys into life.
People, whanau, mokopuna were his focus which leads me to my waiata.
Hutia te Rito
Hutia te Rito o te Harakeke
Kei whea to komako e ko
Ki mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui
He aha te mea nui o te ao
Maku e ki atu
He tangata, He tangata, he tangata Hei
Kia ora Tatou, tatou katoa.