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Heather invested as new Tamakeu Mataiapo

Saturday 10 February 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, Features, National, Weekend

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Heather invested as new Tamakeu Mataiapo
Joseph Manoa Heather, Godfrey Heather and Joseph Heather, the newly invested Tamakeu Mataiapo. SUPPLIED 24020855

Joseph Heather was invested as the new Tamakeu Mataiapo of Teimurimotia, a traditional title also held by his late mother Puretu a Tangiiau Api Heather, in a ceremony attended by hundreds and marked by cultural significance.

Around 300 attended his unchallenged investiture that was conducted on Te Are Ra marae located inland of Tikioki in Titikaveka, on Wednesday, January 31.

Before the investiture got underway, a specially carved rock for Are Ra marae was unveiled and blessed by Reverend Panu Rouru.

Tamakeu Mataiapo confirmed his six Rangatira: Koia Rangatira – Joe Manuel Karika, Atata Rangatira – Moari Fortes-Ngamata who was represented by her daughter Taimata Allsworth, Ngavaka Rangatira – John Tumutoa who was represented by his son Apii Tumutoa, Ioane Rangatira – Aru Tereakama a Ioane, Turuariki Rangatira – Anthony Brown, and Api Rangatira - Parau Enjoy-Williams.

The Rangatira all played a part in clothing Tamakeu Mataiapo with his traditional garments of tamaka rakei, tatua (cloak), ruru (belt) and the korona (crown), beautifully crafted by Georgina “Gina” Keenan Williams. Tavake bird feathers were used to adorn the crown.

Atata Rangatira represented by Taimata Allsworth presented the “puka tapu” (Bible) to Tamakeu Mataiapo.

Pa Marie Ariki placed the crown on his head followed by the biting of the pig’s ear to confirm Tamakeu’s investiture.

The 59-year-old businessman Heather said he is well aware of the responsibilities and intricacies of the title he has taken on and is looking forward to strengthening the Ngati Tamakeu tribe.

In the initial meeting for the next Tamakeu Mataiapo, Heather said he had articulated to his family about his current responsibilities in looking after 86 employees and their families for many years.

“86 employees are a heavy load and I’ve got to get bread and butter on their table every week, pay out weekly and you have to find work for them or how are they going to survive. So, this (Mataiapo title) too would be another responsibility,” said Heather.

“I knew it’s going to be a heavy load but it can be done.”

Heather, not a big talker himself, is known as a man who gets things done. Before his investiture, he had noted some disconnection within the tribe.

“We want to move forward and bring everyone together,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a bit of weight to carry but I wanted to do this for my mother.”

Later that evening, Heather and his siblings also unveiled the headstone of their late beloved mother.

He acknowledged the previous Kauono, Turuariki Rangatira Anthony Brown, for all the work he had done, the Rangatira, and all the Ngati Tamakeu families for their support.

In particular, he noted the great help from his Arorangi tribe for preparing food for his investiture and his mother’s unveiling.

Heather was also pleased to see students from the schools of Titikaveka College, Te Uki Ou, and Papaaroa College, whom he had invited to give the kids the opportunity to witness a traditional title investiture.

Api Rangatira, Parau Enjoy Williams, was also invested with her title on the day and the role of Kauono for Tamakeu Mataiapo.

“I’m blessed, humbled and honoured to be Api Rangatira and the Kauono of Tamakeu Mataiapo, titles that were held by my late mother,” said Williams.

“Despite of the challenges in every family, you expect the indifferences, that’s the reality.

“It was a joyous occasion and the same time we remembered and reflected on our ancestors who were the pillars and strength of the Ngati Tamakeu tribe and who have made it possible for us and the generations to come.

“I will do my best to ensure their legacy lives amongst the Ngati Tamakeu tribe.”

Makea Karika George Ariki, Makea Vakatini Phillip Ariki, Tou Travel Ariki, Tinomana Tokerau Ariki and Pa Marie Ariki attended the investiture.

George Ngapare – Kauono o Puati Mataiapo conducted the Koperepere and the master of ceremonies was Titikaveka MP Sonny Williams.