Arrival at Awanuiārangi marks 238 km travelled
On Saturday 28 November, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi welcomed the seven Raukawa wāhine who are on a hīkoi across the North Island to retrace the journey of the ancestress Māhinaarangi, and reconnect with their tribal stories, knowledge, lands, lakes and rivers.
To date, the wāhine have walked 238 km since their haerenga started in Hastings on 14 November. Amidst a variety of weather conditions, they journeyed through Napier, Tangoio, Mohaka, Wairoa, Waikaremoana, Ruatahuna, Murupara, and Taneatua to reach Whakatāne.
Dr Naomi Simmonds (Raukawa), Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi says the journey so far has been an incredibly humbling experience.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received along the way.
“Marae across the rohe have welcomed us with open arms and we are so grateful to be able to be able to take a break there and gather our energy.
The wāhine are walking an average of 25 kms a day, depending on the weather conditions.
“We take things a day at a time, and a step at a time on some days, and have to adjust our plans due to weather, wellbeing and other factors,” says Dr Simmonds.
“It’s definitely a challenge, but we can only imagine how much harder it would have been for Māhinaarangi who did this haerenga while she was hapu, and then to give birth on the way too.
“We’ve really come together as a team – being able to do this journey together is a huge privilege.”
The next stage of the journey will see the wāhine cross the Mamaku and Kaimai Ranges, towards Te Poi, and through to Tirau and Arapuni, before finishing the hīkoi at Rangitea Pā on Sunday 6 December.
- Read profiles of the wāhine here.
- Whānau wanting to support and encourage the wāhine on their journey can follow the Facebook page ‘Taku Ara Rā Ko Māhinaarangi: Walking in her footsteps 2020’ for updates on the hīkoi.
About the hīkoi
The hīkoi is part of a Marsden-funded research project — Taku Ara Rā: Ko Māhinaarangi — led by Dr Naomi Simmonds (Raukawa). Joining Dr Simmonds on the hīkoi are six other Raukawa women: Ngahuia Kopa; Lisa Begbie, and her daughters Tyra Begbie and Klee Begbie; Arahia Moeke; and Kyea Watene-Hakaraia.
Together they will trace the journey of Māhinaarangi of Ngāti Kahungunu who is renowned for having travelled, while heavily pregnant, more than 500 kilometres from her people’s lands in Kahungunu (near Te Aute in the East) to those of her husband, Tūrongo, at Rangiātea. On the way, she laboured and birthed their son, Raukawa, who the women’s tribe is named after.