It's kinda shameful that hardly any of the Tahata whanau haven't visited for so long; but then we always congregated around our grandparents' house in Gisborne, which was just like a marae to us.
So last week, when we took Aunty Kui back, it seemed like she was taking us back there too. It feels wierd when you think about it in that way.
Our trip up - both times - was good. I only really got photos of some of the landscape on the first ride up, sitting next to Tawhai in the back. This is a shot of the Waiapu mountains, with Aorangi in front of Hikurangi. Down where we live in Turanganui, it's quite flat, but heading north up the coast the countryside gets a lot more dramatic, with the strange mountainous shapes lurching out of the clouds at you. One day (soon I hope) I'll go back with more time and a better camera!
This was taken down the road from the marae. The fireplace and chimney is all that's left of the homestead where my grandfather and his brothers and sisters grew up.
Looking from the carpark you can see the wharekai and the wharenui. I noticed a few things about the wharenui, the first being the picture of our grandad and the last being the tohu set in the lintel above the front door.
The church, infamously burnt down around 1986 by rastafarians and re-built.
This big ol' spooky tree dominated the skyline no matter what time of day it was. I'd never noticed it before. It looked like it would have gone down well as a stand in tree for that one in Tim Burton's Spooky Hollow.
Tawhai playing in the carpark; looking across from the church side to the wharenui and our tree again.
Biffing stones in the puddle. I followed him around a fair bit, trying to encourage him to play away from where all the powhiri were going on.
Tawhai and I returned home on the first night, then returned to stay on the Friday night so we could be part of the poroporoake and the dawn service. Then we had to wait for the 11am service and go on to the urupa to bury Aunty. I've never been there before, and obviously would not post photos of a family urupa on the internet. Saw some more lovely trees there though. Ruatoria used to be a thriving community before the urban drift in the 50s; as were all the East Coast towns. Te Araroa had it's own soft drink factory. Up there the Tahata name is rarefied; our ancestors are buried in vaults and it just gets kinda spooky cos of all the history. I am going to make a point of learning more about the history of that time.
Speaking of spooky, here's that tree again, a few days later before the rain hit. Everyone made some mention of it.
Tawhairiri in front of the wharenui, named after our tipuna, Hinetapora. See that tohu above the door? Here's a better picture:
It makes a reference to Kopu, the Morning Star. One of my favourite whakatauki (proverb) also refers to Kopu; Kai te tiaho mai a Kopu ki te Rawhiti - The Morning Star Shines in the East. I put it in the banner of this journal. In all two of the whakatauki books I've read it's actually meant to be an expression of a woman's beauty; so that she shines like the Morning Star. I always liked it because it talks about Kopu and of course the East (being from the East Coast, any reference to the East is always a good way to show off being a proud Ngati). So seeing this tohu at home on my marae, was really inspiring and made me feel like I was on the 'right track'.
With what, I'm not quite sure yet!
Ka mutu taku korero mo tenei wa.