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Opening and Blessing of Te Rite o Taranaki—11 December 2020

January 12, 2021

For the past two years, we have been working on building a viewing platform at the top of the property so that visitors can enjoy expansive views of the Kaipara Harbour.

The project has been an amazing collaborative effort and is reflective of the CUE Haven values of people working together for the common good of the community.  You can learn about the history of the construction of the platform here, and once again, we want to thank all of the people and organisations who made it possible.

We planned a ceremony to formally open the viewing platform, as well as give our local sponsors a chance to see the completed platform and for us to acknowledge their contribution. Due to the logistics of hosting a large group on the platform we had to restrict the number of invitees to tangata-whenua, CUE Haven trustees, major sponsors and people involved in the construction.

We had requested our friend and neighbour, kaumatua Haahi Walker (Ngāti Rango of Ngāti Whatua) to bless and name the viewing platform and formally open it to the public.  Kaumatua Haahi was assisted with the planning of the pōwhiri by CUE Haven Community Trust kaiārahi Rewana Walker, kaiāko Rita Walker and our friend Lyall McCarten.

They handled the logistics and prepared the program that was given to the guests. Also listed on the program were some the hīmene and waiata that would be sung that morning.

Whaea Rita personally made special putiputi (boutonnieres) from the harakeke growing at CUE Haven which she harvested just for this occasion.

We’d requested everyone to be at CUE Haven on the morning of the ceremony by 8:30am so that we could get everyone up to the site in time for the 9 am start. It’s a leisurely 40-minute walk up to the site so we wanted to drive people up.  Four of our supporters with 4WD vehicles volunteered to help drive everyone up.

Tangata-whenua and manuhiri were driven up and when everyone was on site, Rewana briefed the manuhiri on the protocols for the powhiri.

Rewana and Rita then opened the ceremony with a karanga and invited the manuhiri to approach the platform.

Once the manuhiri reached the platform, kaumatua Haahi offered a prayer and blessing.

Kaumatua Haahi had commissioned a special name plate for the platform and earlier in the morning Lyall brought it out and installed it.

Once kaumatua Haahi had blessed the platform, Thomas and Lyall unveiled the name plate to reveal the name to everyone.

The platform has been named Te Rite o Taranaki.  The name means “The View from Taranaki.”   Kaumatua Haahi gave an explanation of the name and its significance and we feel honoured to have this taonga so named.

Taranaki is the maunga that the Ngāti Rango people identify with and it is part of their ancestry and identity.  Mount Taranaki (yes, there is still an officially named Mt Taranaki in the Kaipara area), is located on a privately owned property just east of CUE Haven and can be easily viewed as we approach Te Rite o Taranaki.

This is Mount Taranaki viewed from CUE Haven’s eastern boundary fence —

This is the view from Te Rite o Taranaki— looking out to the CUE Haven community reserve and Kaipara Moana.

Kaumatua Haahi had invited the Kaipara College’s Maori cultural group to perform for this special event. Teachers Brianne Te Pa and Kata Simpkins accompanied by students Caddell, Jalayne, Kaia, Manaakitia, Noah, Paroane, Ratima, Sapphire, Teleah and Tia, sang waiata, throughout the ceremony. Their beautiful voices and music added an extra special touch to the proceedings.

After more prayers and blessings, tangata whenua stood in line and welcomed manuhiri on to Te Rite o Taranaki with either a hariru or hongi.

And after everyone took their seats the whaikorero began. Manuhiri were once again formally welcomed by tangata whenua.

Thomas then welcomed and thanked everyone involved in the project for their many contributions.

Kaumauta Gary Brown from the nearby marae at Kakanui reminisced about growing up in the area and how special Kaipara Moana was to him and what a joy it was to see it from this height.

Semisi Potauaine, Unitec lecturer and Art and Design consultant, who supervised and mentored Rick Kaufusi, the student who designed and carved the panels on the platform portals, spoke on behalf of Unitec.

Semisi is Tongan and he explained that historically in Tonga, before a voyage was undertaken, a special tune would be played on a fangufangu – an ancient hand carved bamboo nose flute, to summon the wind for a good journey.  Semisi played the tune to wish us all a good journey ahead.

Rick, who is also of Tongan descent, then spoke about the carvings and explained the design and symbolism. Rick described the carvings as “simple but meaningful with a Pan-Pacific theme.”  “The panels are representative of us, the community. Every hand that’s helped bring the land to what it is now.  We all belong to the land,” said Rick.

Executives of some of the other organisations who provided amazing support were also on hand and spoke.

After each speech, a waiata was sung. A special thanks to Rosie Nathan for leading the waiata for the manuhiri.

When the speeches were finished, Haahi ended the formalities with a prayer and a closing hymn.

With the ceremony over, guests spent some time checking out Te Rite o Taranaki and socializing before being driven back down to the cottage.

Guests wanting to explore the regenerating CUE Haven native forest took a leisurely walk back down with Thomas and had an opportunity to see some of what our amazing volunteers had helped us accomplish since 2008 – 170,000+ native trees planted and 3+ kms of walking tracks and boardwalks.

Back at the cottage guests socialised and feasted on a delicious spread specially catered by our friend Janie while being entertained with more waiata performed by the Kaipara College students.

The day was incredibly meaningful and moving to us all and, like the actual building of Te Rite o Taranaki, this day wouldn’t have been possible and successful without so many people helping out.

A BIG thank you to tangata whenua and our manuhiri who joined us to share this special event.

A huge thank you to Kaumatua Haahi and daughters Rewana and Rita for their guidance and help from the beginning of this project. And for all their efforts organizing this event and making it so meaningful and memorable.

Many thanks again to the staff and students of Kaipara College for their wonderful musical performance which added so much to the festivities.

A big thank you to our dear friends Alan, Peter, Jane and Rodney, who helped chauffer guests, and also our dear friends Lyall and Richard who worked tirelessly to get the property looking its best for the ceremony. Every one of them is an integral part of the CUE Haven whanau and provide us much valued ongoing help and support.

Thanks also to our wonderful young volunteers Dallas and Xerxes for helping out with lots of little tasks.

A big thank you to Janie and her catering team for all their efforts preparing and serving the delicious feast.  And many thanks to the Cervin family for sponsoring the catering.

And a very special thank you to Kadambari Raghukumar from RNZ and Jannette Thompson from Mahurangi Matters for joining us and covering the event. You can listen to the RNZ interview here and read the MM article here.

Once again, a huge THANK YOU to everyone for supporting CUE Haven and contributing towards the building of Te Rite o Taranaki.  And those of you who could not join us today – we very much look forward to welcoming you soon.

The opening of Te Rite o Taranaki marks a milestone in the CUE Haven project and we are truly grateful to everyone who joined us on this journey and helped so generously to create a taonga for the community to enjoy for generations.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mauricio Fernandez permalink
    January 13, 2021 8:04 am

    Congratulations, fantastic to read the story about the Opening and Blessing of Te Rite o Taranaki.

  2. Rewana permalink
    January 13, 2021 5:04 am

    Lovely write up Tom nd Mahruhk, x

  3. Sushma Bhat permalink
    January 12, 2021 10:18 pm

    Looks like a fitting ceremony to mark this huge milestone in your journey. Hope Cue Haven continues to provide a sense of being part of something bigger and more beautiful than our minute temporary lives🙏❤️

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