living by stars image

Living by the Stars with Dr Rangi Matamua

Dr Rangi Matamua Lecture Waikato University – Te Whanau Marama

Te Whanau Marama – ‘The family of light’

Dr Rangi Matamua has started a journey and arguably, an invaluable one to revitalise traditional Maori knowledge, philosophy through teachings he retained from his elders.

The tikanga Maori or Maori philosophy and law and how Maori interpreted the stars in conjunction with Te Ra (The Sun) and Te Marama (The Moon) to adjust to the change in seasons, foretell weather and when to plant crops and even social relationships for example were all written in a book – ‘pukapuka’ developed by certain Tohunga or High Priests despite the advent of christian teachings when European immigrants started migrating to Aotearoa in the early to mid nineteenth century.

The expose Dr Matamua has started can be followed on a website Living by the Stars and he also regularly posts on Facebook.

The research, teachings and philosophy revitalised by Dr Matamua indicate a very ancient knowledge retained for successive generations needless to say te Reo has been adjusted in meaning and comprehension into an English thought process when in tradition the language was particularly suited to interpretations of the natural world.

Dr Matamua has transformed the knowledge passed down to him into a book as well titled;

‘Matariki the Star of the Year’ or in te Reo Maori ‘Matariki te Whetu tapu o te Tau’.

Matariki book image

Image Credit: Living By The Stars

The report and research prepared for but yet to be filed onto the Waitangi Tribunal casebook archive by members of the society on behalf claimants also covers Maori traditional knowledge, philosophy expanding on research by expat New Zealander Dr Barry Fell and a connection – trading routes – between Pacific nations – peoples including Aotearoa and Maori with South East Asia up through the Indian Ocean and into the Middle East or vice versa millennia before European Explorer Columbus discovered the Americas around 1492.

Dr Fells research pre-dates modern historical theories as evidence of early seafaring capability by two thousand years and of course many aspects of South American flora, fauna and wildlife developed into common use today e.g. the Potato, the humble chicken or Kumara and Gourd plant known and used by Maori for centuries as some of many examples.

Decorative examples of Gourd used by Maori for centuries. Origins, South America

Gourd image

Image credit: Newsroom

The interesting thing about Gourd is that it has been growing wildly in Abyssinia now called Ethiopia and in parts of India which undoubtedly indicates earlier interaction between seafaring peoples of Southern America, Pacific and the African continent.

The question raised here – is there any correlation between traditional Maori knowledge and philosophy, Matariki te Whetu tapu o te Tau and ancient Middle Eastern philosophy? and, we just need to look at the famous pyramids on the Giza plateau – the alignment with the Orion constellation to realise that there is indeed an ancient philosophy lost or mis-interpreted by early historical philosophers for one reason or another lost in the archives.

The Famous Giza Pyramids and alignment with ‘Orion’s Belt’

pyramids alignment image

Image Credit: Osr.org

Dr Matamuas’ work is most interesting in this regard suggesting the very ancient philosophy retained by Maori Tohunga despite settler indifference.

Christian philosophy – claimed to be monotheism in nature as opposed to polytheism which according to Wikipedia sources;

Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendentalabsolute principle (monistic theologies), which manifests immanently in nature (panentheistic and pantheistic theologies).[1]

Source Wikipedia

That interpretation between these seemingly distinct philosophies is I think too pragmatic if true history is studied but polytheism most definitely includes most if not all of the older indigenous peoples vis a vis christian beliefs and ideals said to be of fairly recent construction.

The society hopes to invite Dr Rangi Matamua for a session, talk and discussion – ‘Korero’ event at some time in the future to share more knowledge with the society and the wider community.

Archives New Zealand coming to Horowhenua

The National Library, Archives New Zealand and Nga Toanga Sound and Vision are shifting from its building with invaluable items in Wellington to a state of the art facility to be built in the Horowhenua at Taitoko or Levin.

The Taonga or treasures of national significance will be housed in a special purpose (yet to be) built building to help preserve them better than where they are currently housed.

The current site at 10 Mulgrave Street Wellington for Archives New Zealand is an older building susceptible to water leaks and contains asbestos making the decision following a tender process for the best available facility to help maintain important items and national treasures a very easy one in the end.

The announcement was made by Internal Affairs 11 December 2020 in a joint partnership deal struck with Horowhenua Company Limited, Electra and Horowhenua Developments Limited.

Amoung the items of national heritage could be He Wakaputunga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Terani 1835 or the declaration of the united tribes of New Zealand which was originally signed in 1835 and promulgated in the colony of New South Wales. The document was accepted and acknowledged by the colonial office which gave rise to the requirement of a treaty between nations now called the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Will the treaty be coming to the Horowhenua? It is likely that the document will indeed be cared for in the purpose built Horowhenua facility.

The original signings of Te Tiriti occurred at the ‘tail of the fish of Maui’ Te Tai Tokerau, Northland 6 February 1840 with other copies taken nationwide to be signed by many Maori signatories including Women and children. Many signatures were obtained on the Kapiti Takutai, the spiritual home of the Mua o te Tangata people.

Horowhenua is of course home to the Muaupoko people or ‘the front of the head’ of the fish of Maui – Te Ika a Maui – ‘the fish of Maui’ or more commonly referred to as the North Island of New Zealand. The South Island is also known as ‘Te Waka a Maui’ or the ‘canoe of Maui’.

Captain Cook originally recorded the South Island as Te Waipounamu and the North Island as Ahi No Maui which our research has deciphered for reporting to the Waitangi Tribunal throwing up some doubt as to the meanings applied by usage of Te Ika and Te Waka a Maui interpretations.

After his initial visits to ‘Golden Bay’ aka as ‘Mohua’ or ‘Te Tai Tapu’ at the top end of Te Waipounamu and his interaction with ‘tangata whenua’ – ‘people of the land’ from around 1769.

Image of ‘Te Ika a Maui’

image Te Ika a Maui

Image of Cooks initial Map of Aotearoa – Cook had a Tahitian Interpreter onboard.

cooks Map image

Muaupoko survived through relatively recent invasions by Ngati Toa largely driven by early speculator interaction in the early eighteenth century who were responsible for much upheaval between the tribes as well as the more serious impact of contagious fatal disease and later land acquisitions by the Crown and the dubious operations of the Native Land Court starting in 1865.

The Muaupoko people are made up of original tangata whenua (Mua o te Tangata) and later migrant groups and so their history is a lot older than normally perceived due to largely inaccurate historical literature and whakapapa accounts built around the initial dealings with the Crown.

The business park is likely to attract many visitors including researchers and tourists should the treaty and declaration be put on show as anticipated.