Small minority challenging whakapapa

Aug 17, 2022 | latest

Small minority challenging whakapapa

Ōpōtiki 17 August 2022: An Eastern Bay of Plenty Iwi, Whakatōhea, are in the middle of a vote for what some are calling, a challenge to their whakapapa.

A recent petition made by Te Ūpokorehe Treaty Claims Trust (TUTCT) has triggered a vote that looks at amending the Whakatōhea mandate which Whakatōhea whānau are saying strikes at the core of their identity.

The petition is based on the claim that Te Ūpokorehe is an Iwi and has never been a hapū of Whakatōhea. This despite Te Ūpokorehe is well documented as a hapū of Te Whakatohea in our historical kōrero and archives.

Trustee Chair of Kutarere Marae, Ūpokorehe hapū, Victor Hape, says that this vote has significant implications for not only Te Ūpokorehe hapū, but also Whakatōhea katoa because the process is about changing the whakapapa of Whakatōhea. 

“It affects our whakapapa in terms of our tīpuna Muriwai. If we can’t use our tīpuna to describe ourselves then Whakatōhea the Iwi, as we’ve always known it, ceases to exist. For this reason, the petition does not have the support of all the marae of Te Ūpokorehe.

“TUTCT are challenging the kōrero of our tīpuna. All that kōrero from our nannies, our koroua, our long history of Whakatōhea is based on Te Ūpokorehe as a hapū of Whakatōhea” says Victor.

Tu Williams, who has Whakatōhea whakapapa to Ngai Tamahaua and Te Ūpokorehe hapū, goes on to discuss how this will detrimentally impact whānau identity.

“The transmission of whakapapa is from one generation to the next. The current elders, of Whakatōhea, are the tūturu knowledge holders of that information. The petition to withdraw is a direct challenge to that knowledge and the inherent authority which accords with that responsibility.

“If the Vote is successful, that would seriously alter our kōrero tuku iho and impact on our very identity, to who we know ourselves to be as Whakatōhea” says Tu.

Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust negotiator, Maui Hudson, says this is an unfortunate tactic by a minority of Te Ūpokorehe whānau.

“All the Te Ūpokorehe Waitangi Tribunal Claims, the whakapapa, narrative and history, refer to Te Ūpokorehe as a hapū of Whakatohea. What has changed since those claims were submitted?

“We have Ūpokorehe whānau out there wondering why they don’t know about this kaupapa and asking why there haven’t been hui to discuss the issue” says Maui.

Mr Hudson goes on to say that the petition was framed in a way that suggested Ūpokorehe katoa supported a Settlement withdrawal, however it was clear that was not the case. TUTCT had triggered the vote without gathering the support of Ūpokorehe marae and whānau in the first place.

The vote to decide whether to remove Te Ūpokorehe hapū from Whakatōhea is now on with all Whakatohea whānau having the ultimate say. Voting closes 30th August 2022. 

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