Although the first impulse to start the Maori Youth Club at Putiki on the Wanganui River came from the Rev. K. Ihaka, it did not long remain confined to church membership. Like other ventures started by churches in the Maori world, it became a general community enterprise, based on a desire to keep in touch with the traditional side of Maori life…and religion is part of the tradition. Matutaera's description of the club may be of interest to others who wish to bring the Maori youth of various maraes together for similar activities. There is no doubt that the youth club movement is growing all the time and also that contact between the various local clubs is constantly on the increase.
BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP
THE PUTIKI YOUTH CLUB
Pukikitia te Aroha
Putikitia te aroha. Koia nei te whakatauaki o te Ropu Taitamariki o Putiki, he kainga Maori kei te taha o te taone o Whanganui. No te tau 1952, ko Mei te marama, ka timatia e te kaituhi te roopu nei ki Putiki. I te timatanga atu, tokoiwa noa nga taitamariki, a, pau rawa ake te tau, kua piki ki te 50 nga mema. Ko nnga kaupapa a te roopu nei, kahore i rereke ki nga kaupapa o etahi atu roopu taitahariki, ara, he akoako ki te reo Maori, ki nga haka, ki nga waiata, ki nga poi, ki te tini noa iho o nga taonga ataahua a te Maori.
Ka tino pumau tenei whakahaere ki roto o Putiki, ka kimihia he whakatauaki e hangai ana ki te roopu, na, kitea ake ko tenei na, “Putikitia” te aroha.”
Ko te ingoa tuturu hoki o te kainga nei i nga wa ki nga tupuna Ko Putiki-wharanui-a-Tamateapokaiwhenua. He pai tonu te whakamarama i te tikanga o te ingoa nei. Ko tenei ingoa he whakamaharatanga ki a Tamatea. Ka tae mai a Tamatea
Putikitia te aroha means literally: Knot together love. This is the motto of the Putiki Maori Club, which until recently was known as the Putiki Youth Club. It was formed in the month of May in 1952, beginning with a humble membership of nine young members, but before the end of the year membership had increased to 50. The objects of the Club are similar to those of like clubs, namely the preservation of the Maori language, haka, songs, poi and other worthwhile items. It was not until the Club was firmly established that a motto was sought, and finally, in order to incorporate the centre from which the Club originated, “Putikitia te Aroha”, which, in a wider sense means to bind together in love, was adopted.
The original name of the place was Putiki-wharanui-a-Tamatea-pokaiwhenua. It is as well to explain the origin of the name. It was so named by the renowned explorer. Tamatea, when, accompanied by his son, Kahungunu, he visited the Whanganui district in the 14th century. Upon landing at a point where the present Putiki Pa now stands, Kahungunu, desirous of dressing his hair, sent his slave Taukai to gather flax with which to bind his hair. The slave obtained the flax from the banks of the Awarua stream, and
raua ko tana tamaiti ko Kahungunu ki te kainga e karangatia nei i tenei ra ko Putiki, ka tonoa mai e Kahungunu tana mokai, a Taukai, ki te rapu harakeke hei here i ana makawe. Ka tae a Taukai ki tetahi awa, ko Awarua te ingoa, i reira ka timata tana tarai i te harakeke. No tona hokinga atu ki tana rangatira, ka tahuri a ia ki te here i nga makawe o Kahungunu. Na wai ra, ka motu noa iho te harakeke. Ano ra ko Kahungunu: “Kahore enei harakeke i rite ki nga wharanui o te Tairawhiti.” Ka rongo mai a Tamatea, ka karanga mai “Koia nei te ingoa mo tenei wahi, ara, ko Putiki-wharanui-a-tamatea-pokaawhenua.” No enei tau tata nei, na te roa tonu o tenei ingoa, ka whakapotoa ki Putiki. Kati mo te ingoa nei.
No te tau 1953, ka timataia ki Putiki nga “Hui Aroha” a te Hahi Mihinare, o te Pihopatanga o Poneke. Ko enei hui i rite ki nga “Hui Aranga” a te Hahi Katorika, ki nga “Hui-a-tau” a te momona, ara he whakahuihui i nga taitamariki Maori o te pihopatanga kia kotahi ai i roto i nga taitamariki Maori o te pihopatanga kia kotahi ai i roto i nga mahi. Na i aua hui, ko nga mahi a nga ropu taitamariki, he whakataetae mo nga mahi haka, waiata, poi me era atu taonga a te iwi Maori. I te hui ki Putiki, ka riro i te ropu o Putiki nga kapu mo te koea, haka, haka-waiata, poi me te whai-korero, tae atu hoki ki te Hiira o Rangiatea. Ko tenei Hiira, he mea tuku na Paora Te Muera raua ko tona hoa wahine i te tau i whakamaharatia ai te 100 tau o Rangiatea, hei taonga ma nga ropu taitamariki. I te tau 1954, i Rangiatea te hui. I reira ka riro ano i te ropu nei te kapu mo te poi, waiata-haka, whai-korero me Rangiatea. I te tau 1955, i Poneke te hui. Ka riro mai i reira ko Rangiatea, te poi, te koea me te haka. I te tau 1956 i Wairarapa te hui, na i riro katoa mai i tenei ropu nga kapu katoa mo te taha Maori me te koea hoki.
No Hanuere o tenei tau (1957) ka whakaeka a Putiki e etahi toru rau manuhiri no Ahitereria. Ko Te Paku-o-te-rangi te marae (te tupuna marae o Putiki). Ka tu te ngahau a te ropu nei ki reira. Ao rawa ake i tetahi mai o nga ra, kua puta whanui nga rongo o te ropu nei he tokomaha no nga tari kawanatanga, na ka puta to ratou reo whakamihi ki te pai o nga mahi me nga whakahaere a te ropu tamariki. E rua e toru ranei ra i muri mai, ka tae mai nga tangata o te kawanatanga ki te tono kia whakaahuatia te ropu a hei nga ra o Hepetema ka whakaahuatia.
He maha nga marae o te motu kua haerea e te ropu o Putiki. Kua takahia nga marae nunui kata o te pihopatanga o Poneke. Kua tae ki Mangakino, ki roto o Tuhoe ki Ruatoki, a kei te haere ki te Hui nui ka tu ki Ngaruawahia a Akuhata. I nga marae katoa kua tae te roopu nei, ka nui te whakamihi o nga kaumatua me nga kuia ki te poi e poingia ana e ratou. Na tata nei, ka tae mai te reo mihi mai o Tipi Ropiha, ko ia nei te Tumuaki o te tari Maori mo te ataahua me te hangai o nga kupu o te poi nei, ki nga mahi a te hahi, me tana ki ano, e tika ana kia kaua nga kupu e ngaro,
after dressing it, proceeded to tie up the hair of his master in the usual manner into a ‘putiki’ or top-knot. The flax proved unsatisfactory and broke on being tied. However, the work was finally accomplished with some difficulty, after which Kahungunu commented that the flax was not like the ‘wharanui’, a species of flax obtainable from the East Coast. Tamatea, on hearing his son's comment said, “Putiki-wharanui-a-Tamatea-pokai-whenua shall this place be called”. The name was later contracted to Putiki-wharanui and later still to Putiki.
The club has joined in at five ‘hui aroha’ of the Anglican church at Putiki, Otaki, Wellington, Was rarapa and Ruatoki. These ‘huis’ are similar to the Easter Huis of the Roman Catholic Faith and the yearly ‘huis’ of the Mormon Faith. At the first four the club won most of the major trophies for action song, oratory, as well as the Rangi-atea shield which was presented by the last Canon Paora Te Muera and Mrs Te Muera of Otaki to mark the centenary of the consecration of Rangiatea Church at Otaki. At Ruatoki last May the club gave a performance, but did not enter the competitions.
In January of this year (1957) a party of nearly 300 Australian visitors visited Putiki. The club entertained the guests, and the following day, news of the club's performances had travelled far. The press gave it publicity. A week or so later a request was received from the London International Choir for recordings, and later still a further request was received from His Master Voice for test recordings.
On 4th May the executives of the various Tourist Agencies throughout New Zealand visited Putiki. Representatives of Government Departments were also present. All were impressed with the Club's performance. A few days later a representative of the National Film Unit approached the club for permission to film the club in action and arrangements are now in hand for this to take place in September.
Maori language is taught along with each song practised. Members of the group learn to master the meaning of the songs they sing, which help them to develop an interest in language study.
The club has visited several maraes. It has performed throughout the Wellington Diocese. In addition it has performed at Mangakino and only recently in Tuhoe-land at Ruatoki, and in August attended the Waikato Diocesan Maori Youth Festival at Ngaruawahia. Wherever the club has performed, the elders have spoken highly of its poi, and only recently Mr T. T. Ropiha. Secretary of the Department of Maori Affairs, wrote expressing his personal delight at seeing the poi being performed at Ruatoki, with the hope that it be preserved for posterity. Rev. Ihaka was responsible for the composition of a major part and in some instances has adopted an ancient ‘haka’ with the words altered to suit Church gatherings. The whole chant is patterned on the one which the
me manaaki tonu mo nga whakatupuranga e heke mai nei. Na te kaituhi te nuinga o nga kupu o te poi nei, otira, he mea tango mai te tauira i te poi i poia ai e Taranaki raua ko Whanganui i te taenga o te Kuini ki Rotorua. E whai ake nei nga kupu o te poi nei:…
Aotea te waka ko Turi-ariki “tangata o runga,
Ruapehu te maunga, Whanganui te awa,
Atihau te iwi, Putiki-wharanui te ropu rangatahi,
Nga uri a Haunui-a-paparangi, nana i takahi te
Nukuroa o Hawaiki e!
…E kore, e kore ahau e ngaro,
Kakano i ruia mai “Rangiatea,
Ka tupu ka hua i roto i te ra
Tenei ka tae mai ki runga o Raukawa,
te marae whakareretanga iho o nga tupuna e!
Ka rere atu ra ko taku poi,
Taku poi rere tika hei kawe aroha,
Ki te iwi kua riro atu ki Paerau,
E tangihia tonutia nei e matou,
Aue te mamae e!
Tenei ta tae mai ki te Hui Aroha,
Kia tangi kia mihi tahi ai tatou,
kapiti hono, tatai hono,
Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate,
Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora,
Aue, taukuri e!
Ka mate! Mate atu he tetekura,
Ara mai ra he tetekura;
Mate atu he tetekura,
Ara mai ra he tetekura,
Te Whakatauki a nga tupuna, aue, aue, aue ha!
Ka tuhi, ka rapa ka uira katoa te manhuru,
Ki okioki e, toia te waka!
Ki okioki e, toia te waka!
He utanga mo runga ko te Whakapono,
Te Kapene, Ko Ihu Karaiti hikitia! Aue! Hei!
I tuhia ai enei korero, ehara i te mea hei whakahihi hei aha ranei. Heoi ano hei whakaaraara i nga roopu taitamariki Maori katoa puta noa i Aotearoa me kore ratou e hihiko ki te pupuri i nga taonga ataahua a taua a te iwi Maori, a me kore hoki ratou e kaha ki te whakaropu i nga taitamariki katoa o tena marae, o tena marae, ma konei pea taua te Maori e hiki ki runga. Tena koutou katoa.
Taranaki-Wanganui party performed before the Queen at Rotorua. Here is a free translation of the Maori.
Aotea the canoe, Turi-ariki the Captain on her,
Ruapehu the mountain, Whanganui the river,
Ati-Hau the tribe, Putiki-wharanui the group of young people,
The descendants of Haunui-a-paparangi … who conquered the length and breadth of Hawaiki.
I will not, will not disappear,
The seed broadcast from Rangiatea;
It will grow and bear fruit;
Now we have arrived at Raukawa,
The ‘marae’ bequeathed to us by our ancestors.
My poi doth fly,
My poi flies direct and takes with it love,
To those who have gone to ‘Paerau’ (Place of departed spirits)
For whom we still mourn,
Alas! it is distressing.
We have come to this ‘Hui Aroha’
That we may mingle our tears and greetings with yours,
Let the dead be united with the dead,
Let the living be united with the living,
Alas! Let it be.
'Tis death! A Chief will die,
Another replaces him (Repeat),
A saying of our ancestors,
It glows, it glistens, it flashes, again it glows,
Let us relax and haul the canoe,
Let us relax and haul the canoe;
Let its freight be the Faith,
The Captain, Jesus Christ, uplift it (the Faith).
One of the difficulties is to safeguard the continuity of such clubs. This is important as the disappearance of the club would leave the same void that existed before. Younger people are being trained to take up leadership when the older ones leave, as they invariably do either through marriage or migration.
There is nothing to stop similar clubs being set up throughout New Zealand. It seems to me that the most important purpose of such clubs should be the social and spiritual one summed up in the motto ‘Putikitia te Aroha’…that is: develop close and healthy personal relations between the members of the Maori group. Club activities have a further fundamental value: by concentrating on “items” like the immemorial Aotea poi we go back to the root of Maori tradition.
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Construction has started on a £55,000 hostel at New Plymouth which is to accommodate 60 Maori girls and young women. The hostel, which will be in the charge of Sister Evelyn Marriott, head-mistress of the Rangiatea Maori Methodist Girls' School. New Plymouth, is expected to be ready before the end of 1958.