A Letter from Maureen
Miss Maureen Kingi, Miss New Zealand for 1962, was on her way to California when this issue of Te Ao Hou went to press. After competing there in the Miss International Contest, she is off to London for the Miss World Contest, and then to Brazil for six weeks. After all this, and after bringing Miss Brazil back with her on a goodwill tour of New Zealand, Maureen will undertake a New Zealand-wide tour as a model. After that—she isn't sure yet. There will be screen tests in California of course, and she doesn't yet know whether she will go back to finish her training in Auckland as a radiographer. Just now her life is too much of a whirl, and too much will be happening in this next year, for her to be able to think as far ahead as this.
One thing is certain; on her overseas tours Maureen will be a fine ambassadress for New Zealand. Representing both races in New Zealand, and versed in Maori and Pakeha culture, Maureen has considerable talent as well as beauty (and she certainly is beautiful—even more so than her photographs suggest.)
She is expert at action songs and with the double and triple poi, and has an attractive singing voice. When she speaks in public she does so gracefully and well, and with really astonishing self-possession for a girl of nineteen.
It is no wonder that Maureen has a good knowledge of traditional Maori culture, for she comes from the well-known Kingi family in Rotorua, her father being an interpreter for the Rotorua Maori Affairs Department.
Her grandmother was the daughter of Te Whataiwi, who was first cousin to Tureiti Te Heuheu, who gave the National Park area of Ngaruahoe, Ruapehu and Tongariro to the people of New Zealand. She is the niece of Hepi Te Heuheu,
chief of Ngati-Tuwharetoa in the Taupo-Tokaanu area.
Her sister Lenaire is a B.A. student at Victoria University, and her brother Bill is studying there for his M.Com. degree. Her other brother, Wene, a promising singer, is working at present as a carpenter on the Sydney Opera House.
Maureen went to the Rotorua High School, and was a member of the softball, swimming and basketball teams there. In her final year she was awarded the Maori Purposes Fund prize for the top Maori girl in the school. She also obtained her University Entrance and Higher Leaving Certificate and was a prefect in both her sixth form years.
From the time she was twelve she took part in many Maori concert parties, and became expert at action songs and poi.
We asked her if she would write a special letter to the readers of Te Ao Hou, and here it is:
To the young Maori of today there seems to be no peace from the cry ‘Kia mau, Kia Kaha!’
I was brought up with the emphasis on education, but my love for Maori culture made my life, from the time I was twelve, a very full and strenuous one. When I was young I spoke fluent Maori, but when schooling began I was made to concentrate on the English language as school certificate and other scholastic achievements require a pass in English. Now I find that having studied Maori at school I am slowly picking up the threads of my native tongue once more. In this aspect my plea is to the older folk, our pakeke. Please help us, the younger generation to become familiar with our language. Don't discourage us by saying,
‘You've got the wrong preposition, the wrong tense, the wrong adverb’—for this makes us embarrassed and fearful of even attempting to speak Maori. We, the younger generation, are here to pass on our tongue to the next generation. Therefore I say ‘Enga pakeke! awhinatia mai ki a matou, nga taitamariki o Aotearoa, kia mau ki to matou reo!’
To the younger people my message is, education is essential. No matter how frustrated we become we must think of our successors and set the standard for them. Together with education comes the Maori culture, but not to such an extent that it interferes with schooling. A practice once a week is ample. It is our duty to preserve our traditional action songs, poi, haka, and stick games for the coming generation. When I say ‘us’ I mean all of us, for though a few may be experts this is not enough as the population is increasing daily.
We need therefore someone in each centre throughout the whole of New Zealand to know Maori culture and concentrate on his own area. In this way, with every centre functioning, Maori culture will be practised throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand. ‘No reira e nga taitamariki katoa o Niu Tireni Kia ki to Maoritanga!’
Miss N.Z., 1962