He Kōrero Paki nō Tawhiti mai: Narratives from Distant Past
He Kōrero Paki nō Tawhiti mai: Narratives from Distant Past Te Wai Ka Tō hia He Wai Mā Ū; Caught by the drag of the water
Kei roto i ngā waiata tuku iho, ko ngā reo whakapapa, ko ngā reo whakatauki me ngā reo pūrākau. Within traditional chants and songs are the voices of genealogy, the voices of metaphor and the voices of historic events, places, people, and time. What do the voices sound like? What are the messages? What are the messages within the message? Titiro, whakarongo, kōrero, rapua ngā mea e ngā ana i roto. Whakamatauria kia rongo ai te māramatanga, analyse so that understanding is guided and felt, from the past into the future.
My objective was to translate from te reo Māori into English several waiata Te Rangi Tanira Harrison (Uncle Dan) had written or composed from 1956-1974, and then prepare a publication for the whanau of Tangata marae, Ngāti Tangata, Ngāti Hinerangi and Ngāti Raukawa. The initial plan included selecting and translating ten waiata and, a narrative of a journey he partook into Tahiti in 1956, however, that plan drastically changed within the first two weeks of the creative writing course. I could not just translate one waiata and then move on to another, I theorised that the text and subtexts within the text, would not let me. The subtle meanings in Māori needed to be explored more in depth. I was caught by the drag of the waiata. The waiata Waikato te awa, is attributed to the Waikato river, written by Uncle Dan 1961-1962 when he was working in Mangakino. Waikato te awa is in the tempo of pātere, a chant that flows. Waikato awa begins in the tribal area of Tūwharetoa as a streamlet south of Tūrangi, then flows into Taupōnui a Tia, Lake Taupō. It continues through the tribal boundaries of Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Raukawa and Tainui Waikato, eventually to Port Waikato, Te Pūaha o Waikato to the Tasman sea, Te Moana Tāpokopoko a Tawhaki. However, Uncle Dan wrote this pātere in reverse order. He started from Te Pūaha o Waikato and completed the pātere at Taupōnui a Tia.
One could say, he wrote against the current. From that point of discovery, I realised more research was required to ascertain purpose and reason that could offer answers to these four questions. Why did he begin at the end, and end near the beginning? What are the messages? What are the messages within the message? What do the voices sound like?
To hear the voices, messages and understanding within the pātere, I thought of concentrating on prose writing from historical, social and political dimensions, however, emotive and visual poetical voices emerged and through my thesis, I give the reader a range of ngā kōrero tairitenga, allegories - poems in which the meaning or message is represented symbolically.