Tere Carr, Kiva Carr, Rongo Preston and Mike Carr (back). 21010801
Tere Carr, husband Mike, children Kiva and Maeva, and mother Rongo Preston chose to spend the Christmas break on Mauke, a place she had last visited in the early 1990s.
of Covid-19, for the first time the Carr family from Titikaveka could not spend
Christmas together as two sons Tamatoa and Mana live and work in Aotearoa.
shares with us her Mauke memories, discoveries and simple pleasures she holds
we were going to be apart as a family, we decided to go to a Pa Enua for a
change,” says Tere.
past 20 years, Tere has discovered more about her Ngati Porou heritage which
comes from her paternal grandmother Mere Arihi Kaihau Hale aka Alice Virginia
beautiful lady of Ngati Porou descent was married to my grandfather Tamarua
Joseph Browne. On several trips to my grandmother’s whenua located at Kennedy
Bay, Coromandel, Aotearoa, I learnt that the Ngati Porou iwi descended back to
Paikea who came from Akatokamanava, Mauke.
learnt that Great Mercury Island which is directly out from Kennedy Bay, was
where Paikea first landed and that it was him who called it Ahu; close by is
the town of Manaia.”
names evoked emotions in her as they are similar to the island of Mangaia, and
its other name Au Enua.
“So as a
destination, Mauke was high on my list as I wanted to find out more about
Paikea’s ancestral heritage.”
timing of her trip was ideal, the islands traditional practice of rangokere and
festive events would be taking place.
blown away by the experience.
family stayed in Kimiangatau; a neighbour had a truck and was driving to
Oiretumu to collect baskets of food, Tere and her mum went along.
amazed at the households who had spent all night preparing gigantic kits of
food holding pigs, crayfish, tuna, taro, kumara, boxes of chicken and other
cooked local delicacies; the people were so generous in their giving, we had
never seen anything like it.
very special as I saw first-hand the ‘ngakau aroa’ of the people of Mauke.”
had been generous to the Carr’s from the moment they arrived – delivering whole
tuna, pineapples, mangoes and tomatoes to their accommodation.
rangokere was generosity and giving at a completely different level; people
gave their very best and were so happy in doing so.”
Overlooking the Mauke airstrip. 18022304
a motorbike in the rain without the restriction of a helmet, she followed the
trucks escorting the baskets of food to the Kimiangatau CICC Church.
singing and dancing continued as the baskets were unloaded and inside the hall.
“It was just beautiful.”
customs which I was completely unaware of, portrayed a people who are generous
and unpretentious in their giving to each other.
people of Mauke make the island and they are so carefree and not weighed down
by having worldly possessions.”
Wi-Fi came and went (mostly went), she saw very few children playing with
tablets and phones for hours - unlike children on Rarotonga; “and at the end of
every day, apart from Sunday, people enjoy swimming at the harbour with everyone.”
her mother joined in the ‘roni’, and felt the experience was “such a treat”.
joined the Kimiangatau Imene Tuki practice and sang at the historical Oiretumu
CICC Christmas service - the singing by both oire (village) was sublime.
never sung an Imene Tuki, so Mauke will always be special to me for that reason
and we also had the best tumu imene, my cousin Tepaeru Samuela.”
hundred people from Kiniangatau then gathered at the Oiretumu Sunday School
Hall ready to start the roni.
overwhelmed by the tradition of welcoming people into different homes to devour
food and drinks specially prepared and laid out.
walked from home to home in Oiretumu singing, laughing and enjoying a
traditional Christmas that was the very essence of Christmas.”
moments threw her back to Christmas in Rarotonga some 50 years ago, when it was
about Muri beach, playing and eating with relatives – and no purchased presents,
“just enjoying the sharing of food amongst ourselves while our uncle’s fished”.
feels that Rarotonga has lost many of our customs due to the Western
fact that Mauke still practices this tradition and that it is unknown to us in
Rarotonga is astounding; yet that is what custom is – doing something that
represents a connection to our past which evokes memories of our Pa Metua who
have gone before, who also practiced the same tradition - It was just
was most special to her about Mauke?
is so much - it’s the people first and foremost, they are the islands greatest
asset,” says Tere.
has spectacular views at each cove, the freshwater and sea caves, the harbour
for evening swims and the various walking routes in the morning with the
fragrance of tipani, pitate and tiare Maori planted along the roads in the
middle of nowhere.
walked the 16.9km around Mauke in 2 hours 45mins and says, “I could get really
fit and healthy there by simply enjoying nature”.
there is the delicious underground and untreated water, so pure and untainted,
even when there were days of torrential rain.”
family were treated to feasts by Kimiangatau, and later Oiretumu on the morning
of their departure.
journey to Akatokamanava was also to discover more about Paikea.
special moment she holds dear is meeting school teacher Ina Dyer who enlighten
her about Paikea.
course, all of Mauke knows about Paikea because he’s from Mauke,” Dyer told
talking about Paikea going fishing and being washed out to sea by a freak storm
out from Anaiti Cove, “he did not make it back to land and was never seen
believed that the storm drove him directly south of Mauke to Au Enua (Mangaia);
his wife Kea was so heartbroken, she sat and waited for his return and
eventually died frozen to the spot from where she last saw him fishing.
says: “As she was telling me the story, I got goose-bumps everywhere, she asked
me if I was a descendant of Paikea?”
replied ‘yes, through my grandmother’”.
Dyer wasn’t surprised because people descended from Paikea got goose-bumps when
they hear the legend for the first time.
then said, ‘Welcome home, you are not a stranger, you are a true Maukean’ –
that was so special.”
the sites of Anaiti Cove and Te Rua o Kea (burial place of Kea) and learnt more
of the tupuna of the Ngati Porou iwi.
walked the same makatea that Paikea walked – it remains untouched to this day.
It was an emotional experience to look out over the vast Pacific Ocean horizon
and to imagine that a warrior from Mauke was guided by whales, landing in
Aotearoa, and eventually fathering a huge Ngati of his own, including my
Cove is where the whales come to play in Mauke, she wants to return to that
special place during the whale season.
in Mauke, really felt like going home for me … how privileged are we that this
beautiful paradise is virtually on our doorstep.”