From the time when dawn first awakened the Great Fish of Maui, our people have been connected by whakapapa to the land, the mountains, the rivers, the forests, the sea and to each other. My ancestors were chosen to populate the Great Fish of Maui. They welcomed and married those that came to Aotearoa during the great migration and they welcomed people of other cultures to this fair land.
These relationships are based on the sacred rope plaited over 20 generations ago by the children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. This sacred rope is known as ‘Te Taurawhiri – the woven rope of unity’ and the name originates from the following proverb:
He muka nā te taura whiri a Kotahitanga
We are threads of the woven rope of Unity
The following sacred journey will take us along a chosen pathway predetermined by the ancestors and highlights the richness of our history and how it links intimately to our natural landscape.
The Chosen Pathway
Every muka of the sacred rope connects the peoples from the central volcano of Ruapehu and the three sacred rivers of our region: Whanganui, Whangaehu and Rangitikei. The sacred rope embraces human qualities as it commences a spiritual journey along the chosen pathway.
From the Ruapehu District in the north, the sacred rope reaches out to the hearts of the Maniapoto and Tūwharetoa peoples and the proverb that keeps them and the Whanganui tribe together;
“Purutia i te Puru ki Tuhua”
Hold on to the Plug of Tuhua.
It then makes side glances over to the sacred peak of Matua te Tapu/Mt Taranaki returning to the sacred Matemateaonga ranges, to the people of Ngā Rauru Kītahi;
“E rua au; he Rauru au, he Awa ai au e”.
I am of two backgrounds; Ngā Rauru and Awa.
It weaves through the tributaries and into the rapids of the sacred Whanganui River in the Whanganui District and its whakataukī
“Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – I am the river and the river is me”.
The rope then extends a hand out to the Rangitikei District to the tribes that straddle the sacred Whangaehu and Rangitikei Rivers where we combine as one people;
“Tīkeitia te wae – Let us take great strides” to complete the journey.
I now return along the chosen pathway to places of significance for chosen prophets that led people from all walks of life.
This pathway is signposted by sacred peaks and chosen prophets that revolutionised Māori spirituality during challenging times in the late 19th century, a time of change for the people of Aotearoa.
Pathway of the prophets
Our journey commences in the Rangitikei District where I hear the surging waves at the mouth of the sacred Rangitikei. I stride up this sacred river to quickly arrive at Parewanui the home of the prophetess of the west, Mererikiriki and the proverb that states;
Te wahine nāna i whakapuhi te wehiwehi.
The woman (kuia) that defied all odds to lead her people.
Mererikiriki, a kuia of great mana, chosen to lead, chosen to teach other prophets connected on this sacred pathway.
I then look up to my guiding star, Katione that stands above Paraekaretū, a sacred peak inland from Whangaehu. This guiding star, Katione, leads me only a short way from Parewanui where I arrive at the founding settlement and home of Tahupōtiki Wīremu Rātana, Rātana Pā. It was he, who led his people to a new horizon and travelled the world visiting heads of state spreading his message in response to the prophetess Mererikiriki sending him out to the four winds and his own maxim;
Ko tōku rohe ko te takutaimoana o te ao.
My realm is the shores of the world.
The guiding star that led me to Rātana then leads me on the pathway to Matua te Tapu – the sacred peaks of Mt Taranaki, the home of the first modern day pacifists Whiti and Tohu.
Kai Iwi in the Whanganui District beckons me and I enter the tribal area of Ngā Piki, the prophetess of the Ngā Rauru Kītahi tribe and pay tribute to her wonderful qualities as a healer;
Haere taku iti i runga ngaru nunui kia puawai tōna rahi i te ara wairua.
Humility is launched into the tsunamic waves of turmoil in order to gain spiritual enlightenment.
Ngā Piki the prophetess and healer, the founder of key spiritual gatherings resurrected by later prophets then links with the followers of Rātana and Mererikiriki as they send their kind wishes inland.
The guiding star, Katione then leads us on to the sacred range of Matemateaonga and to the peaks of Te Puru-ki-Tuhua in the Ruapehu District where Te Kere resided at Tawata in Ngāti Tū, in the heart of Hinengākau – the ‘sacred rope’ at Taumarunui.
I recognise Te Kere the prophet of healing and peace;
Huria te kakau o te pū hei whirinaki i te Rongomau.
Utilise the butt of the rifle as an aide to peace.
Te Kere is the chosen prophet of the upper Whanganui and renowned builder of meeting houses that gave voice and shape to wood.
I then take flight and return to the hinterland still in the Ruapehu District, to the foothills of Matua te Mana – Mt Ruapehu to Te Mareikura at Ohākune. He who trained with Rātana at Parewanui and received instructions from Mererikiriki;
Haere hoki ki o maunga…
kia mau ai te rongo pai he mea paihere nā te rangimārie.
Return to your scared peaks…
spread the good news and cement all deeds with peace.
Mareikura is recognised for healing and integrating his message among tribes within and outside the region.
This is the chosen pathway, selected to capture the hearts of all that visit the region. By visiting the sacred peaks, engraved in the land as a timeless reminder of our spirituality I then complete the journey following chosen prophets along a sacred pathway etched in the hearts of people for generations. As the international visitor traverses this sacred pathway we invite them to bring their sacred peaks that they carry deep in their hearts as we share this experience, behold;
TE KĀHUI TUPUA
The Sacred Peaks