Their Excellencies the Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson, and Lady Fergusson visited Manukorihi Pa, Waitara, on Sunday 28 June, to take part in the annual service in remembrance of Sir Maui Pomare. Round about 2,000 people were present, including many Pakehas.
A speech of welcome to Their Excellencies was made on behalf of the Maori people of Taranaki by Mr T. R. Mahutonga, of Pungarehu.
After the service, conducted by Canon Wi Huata of Hamilton and the Rev. T. A. Pihama of New Plymouth, speeches were given by Mr J. Nicholas, chairman of the pa trustees, Mr W. R. Yardley, Mayor of Waitara, Mrs I. Ratana, M.P., and Mr Ra Pomare, son of Sir Maui.
Two Great Kinsmen
In his reply, Sir Bernard said that he counted it a great privilege that in his youth he knew those two great kinsmen, children of Atiawa, Te Rangihiroa and Maui Pomare.
‘Te Rangihiroa was concerned with the past of the Maori people, Maui Pomare with their present and future. Great was his work; but it is not yet completed. Ka mate he tete, ka tupu he tete. It is for you, the Maori people of today, to carry on where he was leading you.’
After quoting figures which show that the record of Maori health is today still far worse than that of the European, Sir Bernard recalled that when Sir Maui Pomare began his career as a doctor among the Maori people, they were a dying race. ‘He did more than any other individual person to stem the tide and to turn it. He spoke “me he korokoro tui”; but I say to you again that his work is not yet done.’
Renewed Campaign for Health
Sir Bernard urged his hearers to launch a renewed and energetic campaign in the cause of better Maori health.
He concluded by saying, ‘I have brought with me today, as I did on the occasion of my last visit, the greenstone pendant of Hoturoa, the Captain of the Tainui canoe. It has spent much of its life here, until it was given me by Sir Maui nearly forty years ago. I like to think that it has brought me back both to New Zealand and to Manukorihi. Hoturoa and Maui Pomare were both great leaders of their people in the different ages in which they lived. Hoturoa helped to find and to populate New Zealand; Pomare led his people along the road to better health and better living. Do not let us halt because he is no longer leading us.’
After his speech Sir Bernard walked from the marae and laid a small wreath on the tomb of Sir Maui. For a few seconds he stood in silence.
Presented with Sacred Emblem
Earlier Sir Bernard had been presented with a colour photograph of the pa by Mr J. Bailey, chairman of the Sir Maui Pomare committee. Both he and Lady Fergusson were admitted as members of the Taranaki tribes when on behalf of those present, 84 year old Mrs Ngati Watson presented each of them with three white feathers, the emblem of Te Whiti and of the trinity.
After a hangi dinner the Vice-Regal couple watched two action song groups perform before the time came for them to leave.