Tōku reo, Tōku ohooho, Tōku reo, Tōko māpihi maurea. My language is my awakening, - my language is the window to my soul. - Whakatauki provided by Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki which highlights the importance of returning te reo Māori to the whenua.
An historic Māori name has returned to Papakura with the dual naming of Otaawhati / Ray Small Park, along with 31 other parks now with dual Māori and English names.
Otaawhati - the ebb and flow of water - shortens Taawhati o Ngaa Tai - the place of the ebbing tide - a reference to the Paahurehure inlet.
The inlet and surrounding waterways are of immense cultural, ancestral, traditional, spiritual and customary significance to mana whenua iwi, Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki.
Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says the board is committed to having te reo Māori seen and heard in public places.
“Adding a te reo name and story celebrates Māori identity and restores mana and mauri to the land. This name, and others to come, reflect our cultural history. It’s been a pleasure to learn about that and I’d encourage everyone to learn more about a home we all share.”
Signage was added last year but restrictions meant that could not be acknowledged until now, with Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki returning the name in a ceremony to share the story and celebrate with the community.
Other signage will be changed over time as it becomes due for replacement.
“We’ll see names restored that existed before the current names, and ones that reflect an environmental theme or activity that pre-dates European settlement,” Catchpole says.
“It isn’t about signs, it’s about preserving our stories.”
- Otaawhati narrative provided by Ngaati Te Ata Waiohua, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki.
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