Nga Manga o Mangere

Mangere was hit with the death of two stalwart Kuia in a week, Mere Knight & Dell Wihongi both a staunch advocates and active in their support for the Mangere community.

Mere Knight

"She was one of those people that walked the roads and picked up kids an gave them food. She was deeply involved in community activities, an icon of our people in serving the community that she's been a part of for at least 50 years,"

“Mere was into every possible option for improving the lives of the people of the South. Since the 1950s, she fought for Maori rights, she supported women in the community, she was a staunch member of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, she promoted urban marae development, she advocated for children, and she campaigned against poverty."
I've had the privilege to see Auntie Mere in full flight engaging with what ever powers that be, to make sure that our our peoples rights were respected, Mangere has been a urban Maori/PI homeland for a while now. In the roughest, toughest times in Mangere you could count on women like Mere to be there, like the other woman warriors of Mangere fighting on the front-line for the well being of our whanau, our rights & our dignity.

E te whaea e Mere, kua hoki atu koe ki te kopu o te whenua, takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai ra. Kua ngaro koe i te tirohanga tangata – ko wai hei tauira mo nga uri whakatipu? Me maumahara matou ki o mahi, ki to kaha, ki to manawanui ki te atawhai i to iwi. Haere ra, haere ra, haere ra.

Days later, it was devastating to hear of the passing of Te Rarawa kuia, Dell Wihongi. Dell is widley know for her fight to safe guard Indigenous Intellectual property rights highlighted in the Wai 262 Claim. She had also made Mangere her home and contributed to the life and vibrancy of that community. Her contribution to our Tino Rangatiratanga & the importance of her work on the Wai 262 claim can not be underestimated:

Hemanui-a-Tawhaki (Dell) Wihongi

As indigenous peoples who are experiencing a further wave of colonisation through global economic capitalism, and who as a result are hugely over-represented in all negative indices, the challenge is to seek ways of transforming these outcomes not only for Maori but for all who live within Aotearoa. Outstanding whaea such as Whina Cooper, Eva Rickard, Mira Szaszy, Sana Murray to name but a few, have led the way for the current endeavours by Maori women to combat the loss of Maori traditional values and the insidious forms of colonisation being asserted by economic globalisation.

Syd Jackson: Yes it is. In the Wai 262 claim, we say that we have always had ownership of this land and all its resources. This was confirmed in the Treaty of Waitangi (signed in 1840), which in the English translation said that we would have “full undisturbed and exclusive possession of the land, estates and forests”. The major cause for dispute between our two peoples since the Treaty was signed has been over what that meant. We have been clear -- it means what it says.

The Wai 262 claim, or the flora and fauna claim, is a reaffirmation by us of the right of tino rantatiratanga. We have the right to protect the flora and fauna within each of our tribal boundaries.

The best way of summarizing it, that I can think of, was first said by one of the original claimants, a man by the name of John Hippolite. He has since died, as unfortunately have many of the others. He said, that the claim cannot be just a matter of having the crown recognize our chieftainship over the forests but rather it must acknowledge why we seek it. This has to do with our understanding, even back then, that there were new things on the horizon like genetic engineering that might challenge both our understanding and our authority over what is important. That statement was made more than a decade ago when the claim was lodged. http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/nztrip/sj1.html

Saana Murray, Maui Solomon , Del Wihongi and Hori Parata
Title: WAI262: Safeguarding intellectual and cultural rights


The Wai 262 claim was filed in 1991 on behalf of six claimant Iwi. The claim began as a vision of Maori elders including, Hemanui-a-Tawhaki (Dell) Wihongi (Te Rarawa), Saana Murray (Ngati Kuri), Witi McMath (Ngati Wai), John Hippolite (Ngati Koata) and Tama Poata (Te Whanau a Rua of Ngati Porou) and Christine Rimene (Ngati Kahungunu). These kaumatua were becoming concerned at the apparent loss of nativeflora and fauna to overseas interests and the lack of Maori involvement and participation regarding decision making concerning the granting of intellectual property rights over this flora and fauna.

“E Kui, kua whakarerea o tamariki, to whanau, to iwi, e tangi ana i te mokemoke.

“E te rangatira, hoki atu i te Ara Wairua, hoki atu ki te wa kainga, haere tonu atu ki te Rerenga Wairua, ki te Aka ki te Reinga, haere ki te Po! Haere ki te Po!

Our love and esteemed respect to these warrior kuia and their whanau.

Whiti te marama – Song by Hirini Melbourne
Kia Ora http://podcasts.tewhanake.maori.nz/

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