“He tao rākau e taea te karo, he tao kupu e kore e taea”. The thrust of a spear can be avoided, but not the thrust of words. Such is our culture’s recognition of the power of words for our mental health and wellbeing.
A Fire in the Belly of Hineāmaru: A Collection of Narratives about Te Tai Tokerau Tūpuna. Nā Melinda Webber rāua ko Te Kapua O'Connor i tuhi. Ka Ngangana Tonu a Hineāmaru: He Kōrero Tuku Iho nō Te Tai Tokerau. Ko Quentin Hita te kaiwhakamāori.
This treasure trove of a book has been co-authored by Te Kapua O’Connor and Professor Melinda Webber, head of Te Puna Wānanga at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland and translated into te reo Māori by Te Tai Tokerau language expert Quinton Hita. Read about Te Kapua’s work transforming his doctoral research on kōrero tuku iho, tales of yesteryear, into this magnificent book.
E ai ki te tangi o te Mātuhi, “tuia i runga, tuia i raro, tuia i waho, tuia i raro, tuia i roto, tuia i te here tāngata”. Koia rā, ko tēnei te awenga taioreore ā -haumaru nei o tēnei tuhinga ngoto. Manahau katoa ana au ki te āta pānui ki ēnei whakaaro tuku iho o tō tātou ūkaipō, kia whakapakari ai te hā o tō tātou oranga tonutanga. Me te aha anō, e whakahoki ana tātou i te puna hauora o nehe, hei rangitāmiro ki ngā uri o te kōtiu, e pākahukahu ana ki tō tātou mana motuhake, kia ū tātou ki te pā harakeke te whakapuāwai ai. Kua hoko ēnei taonga raumati ahau ki a tātou katoa, ko aku kuru pounamu, ko ngā mokopuna kei te haere mai nei ā tōna wā.
According to the call of our fern bird, “bind together, be united as one, be interwoven above, entwined below, interlaced both without and within our very beings.” Such are the inherently medicinal and healing qualities of this profound book. It is so exciting to pore over these inspiring narratives of our forebears from home, a source of strengthened collective wellbeing. And what’s more, their experiences inform the importance of returning to our ancestors’ concepts of health and wellbeing, inextricably linked together as descendants of the north, understanding our place in the world, fueling action as to how we best ensure that our whānau truly flourish today and in the future. I have bought these treasures as summer gifts for us all, our kids and moko of the future.
Dr Hinemoa Elder is of Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi nui tonu descent. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist. Dr Elder is a deputy psychiatry member of the NZ Mental Health Review Tribunal. She is the author of the books Aroha (2021) and Wawata (2022).
100 Māori Leaders bio https://100maorileaders.com/dr-hinemoa-elder
Webber, M., & O'Connor, T. K., & Hita, Q (Translator). (2022). Ka ngangana tonu a Hineāmaru: He kōrero tuku iho nō Te Tai Tokerau. Auckland University Press. ISBN 9781869409494
Webber, M., & O'Connor, T. K. (2022). A fire in the belly of Hineāmaru: A collection of narratives about Te Tai Tokerau Tūpuna. Auckland University Press. ISBN 9781869409401