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Netcor Maori Group to attend 2006 Festival of Austronesian and Formosa Cultures in Taiwan

Anna Friend - 14/07/06

We here in New Zealand are delighted that we have the Netcor Maori Cultural Group attending this year’s Taiwan Cultural Festival which will be held at the Taitung Forest Park and the National Museum of Prehistory 15-30 July 2006. Austronesian performers from Palau, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand and Fiji will participate in the festival, along with more than 40 indigenous performing groups.

One key reason Taiwan is a fitting place for the annual festival is that archaeological and linguistic evidence strongly suggests that some 4000-5000 years ago, Taiwan was the launching pad for the migrations by which other oceanic lands became populated by Austronesian-speaking peoples.

Moreover, blood analyses have shown that nearly all nominally Han-ethnic Taiwanese whose ancestry in Taiwan reaches back several generations in fact have Austronesian blood coursing through their veins.

Some details on our New Zealand performers

  • Most of the group affiliate to the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe (see caption below on their history)
  • The Group consists of young Maori who have a passion to keep their culture alive
  • Most have performed as participants/competitors at primary, secondary and tertiary level in Maori performing arts competitions, both national and local
  • Most have an understanding of the Maori language and speak it some of the time
  • Some have been privileged to have been totally immersed and raised in the Maori culture and as a consequence Maori is their first language and English their second
  • All members of the Group are currently employed by NZ Education & Tourism Corp Ltd, to perform a Maori Cultural Experience at the Wairakei Terraces, Taupo
  • The Group has been performing together for 7 years and there are 12 in the Group travelling to Taiwan Leader – Jim Hill
  • The Group fly out on EVA Air (Taiwan’s national carrier) this Friday 14th July departing 1430 and return on Tuesday 01 August with EVA Air arriving 1300

Maori Group at Taiwan Festival Maori Group at Taiwan Festival
Maori Group at Taiwan Festival Maori Group at Taiwan Festival
Maori Group at Taiwan Festival Maori Group at Taiwan Festival
Click on the image to view a larger version.
Photos supplied by Raewyn Hill

History of Ngati Tuwharetoa
Ngati Tuwharetoa are descendants of the powerful tohunga and navigator, Ng toro-i-rangi who piloted the great waka Te Arawa from Hawaiki to Aotearoa.

On arrival in Aotearoa they made landfall at Te Awa o Te Atua, and Ng toro-i-rangi departed heading inland to Te Takanga i o Apa (Kawerau area), thence to Ruawahia where he encountered the monstrous Tama o Hoi and eventually reaching Taupo district where he climbed Mount Tauhara.

From Tauhara Ng toro-i-rangi made his way to Tongariro with the intention of standing on its summit and thus claiming the district as his own. While climbing the mountain a powerful southerly wind whipped his face, icy gales chiselled the warmth from his body while the frozen volcano cut painfully into his feet eventually bringing him to his knees with cold. As Ng toro-i-rangi lay dying he called to his sisters Kuiwai and Haungaroa in Hawaikii, to send fire to warm him, "Kuiwai e! Haungaroa e! Ka riro au i te tonga! Tukuna mai he ahi! (Oh Kuiwai! Oh Haungaroa! I am seized by the cold south wind! Send fire to me!)

Heeding his call, they sent fire in the form of two daemons, Te Pupu and Te Hoata. As they travelled underground the flames first erupted at White Island, then Rotorua and Taupo, finally bursting at the feet of Ng toro-i-rangi, welling up from the large vent in the volcano’s summit, warming the tohunga and thus allowing him to achieve his goal.

On the summit of Tongariro Ng toro-i-rangi gave thanks and established his legacy 'Te Wharetoa o Tumatauenga' The Warrior House of Tu - the legacy of Tuwharetoa.

Ng toro-i-rangi did not remain at Tongariro instead returning to the coast to live out his life at Motiti Island. His descendants settled at Te Awa o Te Atua inland to Kawerau increasing over the generations until the time of Mawake Taupo, 8th generation descendant of Ng toro-i-rangi. Mawake Taupo took as wife a woman of the Hapuoneone named Hahuru and their son Manaia would eventually take the name Tuwharetoa.

Ngati Tuwharetoa structure
The sons of Tuwharetoa moved from Kawerau across Waiariki and eventually into the district around Taupo and by skill at arms, strategy and might eventually established the rohe of Tuwharetoa settling in three divisions at Kawerau, Waiariki and Tongariro .

Mai Te Awa o Te Atua ki Tongariro, Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau, Tuwharetoa ki Waiariki, Tuwharetoa ki te Tonga (From Te Awa-o-te-Atua to Tongariro, Tuwharetoa at Kawerau, Tuwharetoa at Waiariki, Tuwharetoa at Tongariro.)

This pepeha (tribal saying) describes the tribal boundaries of Ngati Tuwharetoa extending from Te Awa o Te Atua (a confluence of rivers at Matata) south to Tongariro mountain.

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