Ngati Poneke Appeal Begins
When it became known that the Ngati Poneke Maori Association, because of an expanding government centre, would have to vacate their club rooms, given to them by the Government some years ago in recognition of their great contribution during the war years, and raise funds to erect a building on a piece of land given them, one of the first groups to show their support was the Early Settlers' and Historical Association. Led by Mr Gladstone Hill, the association presented a concert at historic old St Paul's Cathedral last March.
The short speech given by the Hon. Duncan MacIntyre, then Minister of Maori Affairs, indicated the feelings of those present.
‘There is a Maori phrase which says “Kia ea”. It means. “To be returned in gratitude.”
‘An important Maori value and concept centres on this phrase. A tribe or family might need help—maybe to open a meeting house, to give support at a wedding, or to support a local sports day, or to rally at the death of a loved one and to share the sorrow and the sudden expense placed on a family.
‘So the visitors arrive in force. They are fed and entertained, and they bring with them gifts of food and nowadays, gifts of money to help the home people.He rourou māu,
He rourou māku,
Ka ora te manuhiri.
With your small basket of food,
and my basket,
The visitors will be fed.
‘The point is, that this is done to repay the assistance and help given by the host people some time in the past. The elders remember that they gave help when help was wanted, and they quietly wait to see if help will be returned.
‘It is about 35 years since Ngati Poneke was founded and in these years, Ngati Poneke has performed thousands of welcomes to visitors, has helped thousands of charities, and has provided the finest of Maori culture for all to enjoy.
‘According to Maori practice, the time has now come for this city to return that love and help given so willingly. Now is the time for all organisations to say to themselves: “Ngati Poneke is calling for help—the first time in 35 years—and we must help them”. This is the basis of Maori community life and mutual help. It is a way of spreading the work load, and is the greatest test of friendship that Maori people have.
‘Ngati Poneke worked tremendously hard during the last war. They rallied time after time, when help from them was asked for by the Government, by the civic authorities, by churches, by schools, by all sorts of organisations. This concert tonight is one of the small ways used to raise money for the new Ngati Poneke Hall to be built next to the Government Printing Office in Thorndon Quay.
‘The symbolism of Maori and Pakeha meeting together and performing their best was deliberately organised this way. That old campaigner, 91-year-old Mr Gladstone Hill, is at it again. Some people retire from their working life and quietly disappear from notice. But Mr Hill, year in year out,
continues his love of music, his love of Maori culture, and his love of people generally, and once again is seen in action. This evening's concert is a result of his boundless energy and a further indication of his love for this city. I wish him continued good health, and hope he is around for a long time yet, because he is the sort of man the city and Ngati Poneke need.
‘May I also thank the soloists and ensemble of the Wellington Citadel Band for giving their talents and ability for this important occasion. I assure them that their help is greatly appreciated.
‘And finally, I congratulate the Early Settlers' and Historical Association which invited us all to be here tonight.’
Over $100,000 of the $300,000 target has now been subscribed. We were to have printed an exterior view and a floor plan of the proposed building, but the original plans are now out of date because of possible boundary changes on the site.