Te whakatuwheratanga o Te Tumu Herenga Waka : 6 Tihema 1986, Poneke, Te Whare Wananga o Wikitoria
Oh you of great mana, you the orators, the representatives of the canoes, the people of the land, visitors, friends, greetings, greetings, greetings.
We greet you and remember those who have departed on the great sinking tide, on the tide that separates and condemns human beings to the night of death, and those who sleep in the beyond. Gather in your dead and let them be added to the deaths suffered by this marae so it can be said we greeted them.
We remember Mr Ruka Broughton, M.A., of Nga Rauru, respected tohunga of our marae who left us 17th April 1986. We remember, too, Dr Wiremu Parker (Hon. D.Lit.), elder, ahorangi (respected teacher) of Maori Studies, who died 10th November 1986. Both were members of the staff of Maori Studies and both passed on in the same year as the new wharenui was opened. We pay our respects to them and bid them be present in spirit in Te Tumu Herenga Waka.
We direct our attention now to you the living faces of those who have gone before us. This is the voice of staff, students and friends of Te Herenga Waka marae and of Victoria University welcoming you. Welcome to the complex which makes up the marae and welcome especially to the new carved house Te Tumu Herenga Waka. There are parts of the complex yet to be completed and so today we focus upon that part of it which is finished. The carved house is the most important part of the complex and it is a structure which is uniquely Maori and which links the marae to the ancestors of the past and to the art heritage they bequeathed to us.
A carved house is rich in cultural meaning, it is a repository of legends, traditions and knowledge. There is no other structure today which best symbolises Maori space and Maori values. While the wharenui is a legacy of the past it is as relevant now as it was before. If anything, it is even more important now because we expect more of it, we build into it greater significance, we invest it with more mana and tapu and we view it as an extension of our being Maori. The house stands for Maoritanga and for all that is beautiful in our heritage. We are the house Te Tumu Herenga Waka, and the wharenui is us. It carries the burden of representing us, our heritage and our culture in Victoria University, a campus that is Western in origin and conception. The house and the marae combine to form a beautiful Maori space which must be given room to develop and sustain itself.
Now that the house is up we expect it to transform lives, to change the face of the university and to make it a place that is responsive to Maori needs, to Maori sensitivities and to Maori dreams. Te Tumu Herenga Waka is one of those dreams that is now a reality. It was a dream shared by Ruka Broughton and Wiremu Parker but they did not live to see it opened. Ruka saw only the preparations for the site and he, of course, performed the main karakia to lay the mauri which Rangitane brought. Wiremu Parker gave the house its name and he saw it rise. Much of the decoration work was completed by the time of his death. In another 27 days he would have been witness to the opening ceremony. But this was not to be. Now the wharenui stands tall as a symbol of our dream. It will continue the work begun earlier by many teachers of Maori and by literally hundreds of students who came to this university to learn the Maori language and about Maori culture; past and present.
The marae has already weathered many storms. Now that a carved house stands upon the marae site there is much more to protect, to nurture, to defend. One hopes that staff and students of the generations to come and those privileged to take this house and marae into the 21st century are capable of meeting the challenge. The test will surely be in how the space is used and in whether the integrity of the wharenui is not merely maintained against all odds but is actually enhanced and nurtured as a valuable cultural space by the university as a whole.
Hirini Moko Haereiva Te Miiri (Professor Sidney Mead)Tumuaki, Te Tari Maori