Ã¢â‚¬Å“The publication of Nga Moteatea, demonstrates the continuing influence of Sir Apirana Ngata, just on six decades after he left this worldÃ¢â‚¬Â says Dr Pita Sharples, who last night was called on to launch the fourth volume which has been translated for the first time.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ngata has gifted to the nation a living archive; a true taonga which must have a special place in the cultural heritage of AotearoaÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Maori waiata, poetry, tribal history, literature, whakapapa and languageÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea are like he taura ki te Ao KohatuÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They provide the link for our mokopuna to come to know of the events and times of the days of old. This is their whakapapa Ã¢â‚¬â€œ stories of real families, real events, which connect to real descendants in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s timesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The process of preparing and expressing our experiences in the Treaty settlements hearings has been invaluable in keeping histories such as these aliveÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea enhances these histories by preserving the stories in waiata for all to see; and what is more with the translations into English these stories are now accessible right around the globeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea is an intimate lesson in Matauranga MaoriÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They show the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœold worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and the emphasis our culture places on human relationships and whanau Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it is this emphasis which drives us as the Maori Party to champion the rights and responsibilities of whanauÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ngata published the initial volume of NgÃ„Â Moteatea in 1928 and set out the methodology for this kind of scholarship while carrying a huge load as a Member of Parliament. Volumes two and three of NgÃ„Â Moteatea were subsequently completed by Ngata, the latter by 1947. Now volume four, published a few years ago has been revised and is being launched sixty years after Ngata finished Volume three.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Last evening was a celebration of the distinguished scholarship and creative genius of manyÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was an occasion to honour the Ngati Porou politician and respected leader, Sir Apirana Ngata, who was the leading Maori figure of his day, a land reformer, politician and scholarÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As we approach Te Wiki o te Reo Maori it seemed absolutely appropriate to pay tribute to Ta Apirana, for the way in which he has enabled the power and strength of te reo Maori to be preserved for all timeÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the launch, I recalled his words used in the preface to the first volume of Nga Moteatea,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was the language of that noble generation of singers who sang with their hearts and interpreted that which they sang with shimmering hands and eloquent eyes, after the manner of their race; who depicted as they sang, the loves and the hates, the joys and the sorrows, the elations and the disappointments, that men of every race enjoy or suffer, but find the most satisfying expression in the languages they inheritÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The evening also honoured the legacy of Pei Te Hurinui Jones, of Ngati Maniapoto, an outstanding scholar who was completely bilingualÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And our celebration was rounded off in commending the leadership of Professor Hirini Moko Mead for his expert translations, and Professor Tamati Reedy for maintaining the quality of te reo Maori Ã¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their combined efforts across generations and decades of time, has enabled a far wider readership of Nga Moteatea both nationally and internationallyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea is a cherished window to our pastÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It radiates light on our lives, our knowledge, our philosophies, our wisdom; our passions, our pain; our worldÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every iwi has their explorers, their astronomers, their town planners, their architects - and all of the names associated with their feats of discovery form part of our historyÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nga Moteatea captures our genealogical stories, and it restores and revives the ancient knowledge of our traditional waiata, texts and researchÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But I think Nga Moteatea also challenges us to continue to craft and create our contemporary compositions and performanceÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many hundreds of moteatea have yet to be captured in this formÃ¢â‚¬Â said Dr Sharples. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many other forms of MÃ„Âori literature are yet to be compiled using the methodology of NgÃ„Â Moteatea, including haka and karakia".
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While it is important to know of the circumstances and situations of their time; their legacy also forces us to think what will be the tales that are told from this centuryÃ¢â‚¬Â asked Dr Sharples.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What will be the waiata from which we retell the confiscation of the foreshore and seabed? What haka will remind us of a time that the Treaty was almost deleted from school books or from legislation?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Nga Pae o te Maramatanga sponsored the translation by Hirini Moko Mead. Nga Moteatea, Part four has been edited, on behalf of the Polynesian Society, by Jenifer Curnow and Dr Jane McRae, with the advice of Commissioning Editor Professor Margaret Mutu (HOD Maori Studies, University of Auckland).
The project is a collaborative effort involving the support of many agencies - Toi Aotearoa/Creative New Zealand; Te Waka Toi / Arts Board; Maori Studies Department and Arts Faculty of the University of Auckland; the Polynesian Society; the Lilburn Trust and Auckland University Press.