Wairaka – Who is she and why did she come to Owairaka/Mt Albert?
How does she connect to this area so far away from her papa kainga?
Over the last few weeks, Room 17 has listened, learned and participated in the research of our school tupuna (ancestor) Wairaka.
Here are some of our thoughts about her:
Wairaka is a Māori ancestor for the Mt Albert area of Auckland. She is known as one of the beautiful daughters of Toroa, chief of the Ngati Awa tribe and captain of the Maatatua waka (canoe). Wairaka is known throughout New Zealand because of her bravery. She is known as a strong leader for her people.
Wairaka is very strong and powerful because she is a leader. She is a leader that gives wise advise to her phenomenal people and as she took place as a leader, life in those strenuous days for her people became easier and happier.
One story of Wairaka’s bravery is when she saved the Mataatua waka and the Ngati Awa tribe, after their arrival to Aotearoa, New Zealand. With her mighty words she called to her ancestors praying, “Kia Whakatane au i ahau” Let me act like a man. She grabbed the paddle and advised the women to save themselves from death.
Touching the paddle in those days was very ‘tapu’ or sacred. But Wairaka knew it had to be done.
Wairaka was very brave and very important and that is why she has been known for a very long time. In our area, our school and our mountain are both called Owairaka meaning it belongs to or where she (Wairaka) lived.
Wairaka is an important, powerful woman. In these days, hardly any Māori people forget the interesting history of Wairaka. She is a rolemodel for all people and her memory continues to inspire us today. We will continue to learn and teach others about her fantastic endeavours and life at the time of the Great Migration to Aotearoa from Hawaiki.
Elisapesi Year 5
Owairaka Mountain today.
On our journey to discovering Wairaka’s great acts. We were lucky enough to have support from local kaumatua, Matua Tom Cassidy and Matua John Moses. Another significant expert, Matua Hau from Te Noho kotahitanga marae situated at Unitec was a huge help in getting us the correct information and facts for our soon to be released school pepeha.
Nga mihi hoki ki a Mr Abraham Karaka who also gave valuable input with helping in the selection of specific words we would eventually use in ‘our pepeha’.
Without all your support this project, but moreso this taonga would never have come into fruition. Tino pai rawa atu koutou me o koutou awhi me te aroha mo tenei mahi whakanui e pa ana ki a Wairaka.
We’ve been on trips, had interviews and researched to gather the appropriate facts needed in the sustainability of Wairaka and her history at our school.
But it’s not over yet!
Next goal to create Waiata(songs) to support the korero (talk) we have learned, then to teach it to our wider school community.
Please help us keep her memory and history alive for our future generations to come at Owairaka Primary school.