Dec. 16, 2020, 5:53 p.m.
Hundreds gathered in Opononi for the opening of Manea - Footprints of Kupe.
Hokianga’s newest cultural, tourism and education hub aims to employ 17 full-time employees while bringing the stories of Kupe to life.
A $4.6 million Provincial Growth Fund investment into the iwi based enterprise has assisted in opening another pathway of employment and economic development into one of the country’s most significant regions.
The educational aspect has been purposefully developed to ensure a tangata whenua perspective features in the new tourism venture.
Employee and Ngāpuhi descendant, Rāmai Ngākuru says Manea will play an integral part in setting right the racist narrative that Aotearoa was discovered by Captain Cook.
“There are many people who still say Pākehā arrived here first. I want our story to be told to everyone in Aotearoa”, says Ngakuru.
No easy road.
It’s a dream that was 20 years in the making and with intentions of addressing issues such as unemployment, lack of opportunity and Māori historical and cultural visibility, it’s establishment didn’t come without challenges.
The project was led by Te Hua o Te Kawariki Trust who say they represent the people of four neighbouring local marae. This has been contested by one marae who posted a notice in the NZ Herald stating they do not endorse any external entity.
Te Hua o Te Kawariki Chair, John Klaricich says Manea has been a bold move towards embracing the stories of their ancestor, Kupe.
“By our account, the footprints of our tupuna Kupe still exist in the sand at Kahakaharoa. We mustn't deny our origins, instead, we should be proud and reflect this in the way we live every day”, says Klaricich.
Who is Kupe?
The history of Kupe celebrated by his descendants and the footprints he has left behind are being used to form a bright future for northern tribes. To Northern iwi, Kupe was the first Polynesian voyager to discover Aotearoa.
High Chief of Rarotonga Takitumu, Pā Ūpokotini Ariki says the history of Kupe goes even further back and remains significant to the future of all Pasifika people.
“For us, we’ve been called the Cook Islands even though Cook never came to our island Rarotonga. We’re in the process of change, also. Our tupuna Tupe, Kupe is an important part of our history and so I’m glad to be at the opening of Manea today,” says Pā Ariki.
For more on this story, watch the clip above.