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Waimarama Awards & E Kata Te Rakau

8 July 2014

Saturday 6th July 2013
E Kata Te Rakau

It was a very early start to the day as we had to be at the Hastings Culture Centre by 6.30am for the dawn blessing of the E Kata Te Rakau exhibition of Waimarama carver Phillip Belcher.

We gathered with the others at the entrance and moved forward at the call of the tohunga. (priest) It was a surreal and sombre experience as we followed his chant through the dimmed foyer and on in to the darkened gallery where shadowy faces on the walls looked down upon us.

The chanting stopped, the lights came up and the carved faces on the walls; the beautiful and spectacular artworks of Phillip Belcher were revealed.

It also revealed that many other Waimarama people had risen early to mark this special occasion. Phillips family were there too as well as numerous friends and colleagues.

Soon after the numbers quadrupled as people arrived for the official opening. Phillip spoke of his journey and motivation in putting this exhibition together and the ceremony was concluded with a rousing and vigorous early morning haka by some of his ex pupils from Te Ara Hou and many other supporters.

Kahungunu Nga Tohu Reo Awards

This was far from a sombre occasion; joyous and glitzy the socialites of Ngati Kahungunu gathered to celebrate our Maori Language. It was a time to dress up and be seen.

Waimarama had booked two tables. We knew that we were up for one of the awards and we would also receive the award for Timoti Karetu who was in America.

Congratulations to all of the award winners. There are too many to name here but I would mention two posthumous awards that were especially poignant as they were connected to Waimarama. The first was Pat Bolstad. Our connection was through our common ancestor Tumapuhiarangii and I had first met Pat when she had visited us at Waimarama to explore this link. This link would continue to be strengthened with further visits over the years. Meeting with her family who were at a table next to ours brought back many memories and nostalgic moments.

The other posthumous award went to Joe Northover. Quite apart from his many other roles Joe had a long standing relationship with our Marae at Waimarama. He will long be remembered for the support and guidance he gave us, not only at the Marae but at Hakikino as well.

No reira, e korua nga Rangatira, ka haere tonu nga mihi, nga wahakaaro, nga roimata hoki. Haere! Haere! Haere atu ra!

Of course this was Waimarama’s night and we enjoyed the moment. It was a time to shine and we did. Baydon accepted the Marae award and Jeremy responded on behalf of the absent Timoti . It was all wound up with the waiata a ringa composed by Jeremy to celebrate another award recently received by Timoti.

It was a fitting end, too an enjoyable night .

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