Wahine Rongonui: Dame Whina Cooper

This year I've been studying Te Reo Māori, the Māori language, through Te Wananga o Aotearoa. As we come to the end of the year we have to present a short speech about a famous person. I've chosen Dame Whina Cooper, known as the Mother of the Nation. She worked her whole life for the benefit of others, including leading the 1,000 Km Land March in 1975, when she was 79 years old. I was a mere 20 year old at that time, with no understanding at all of any of the issues.

We were given a template to use for our talk, but I had to crib a couple of sentences from the Te Ara Encyclopedia entry about Whina Cooper. The structure and sequence aren't how I would choose to organise things, but then that's one of the features of learning about another culture …

Today we have to stand up and present our talk, theoretically from memory, but I will be referring to the notes on my phone as I've had trouble memorising my talk all the way through. I can say it just fine, but am liable to forget which bit comes next.

Here's my talk, followed by an English language rendition.

Wahine Rongonui: Whina Cooper

E kore au e hoki i te waewae tūtuki, engari mā te ūpoko pakarū rā anō.

Kia ora e ngā hoa mahi kua hui mai nei ki tēnei wāhi ako ki te kōrero i ngā kaupapa reo.

Ka nui te pai mō to koutou manawanui ki te huihui mai ki te whakarongo i ngā pitopito kōrero e pā ana tēnei kaupapa.

Heoi anō ko tōku pepehā e pēnei ana.

Ko Kēti teitei tōku maunga. Ko Moana nōtā tōku moana. Ko Ngāti Pakeha tōku iwi. Ko Poi tāonewira tōku waka. Ko Deb tōku hoa rangatira.

Nō Rānana ahau. Kei Waikawa Beach ahau e noho ana. I kuraina ahau i Te Kura o Hine Waiora o Ōtautahi.

Heoi anō, i tupu ake ahau i Ōtautahi. Ko Miraz tōku ingoa.

Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.

Ko Whina Cooper, ko Te Whaea o te Motu, tōku wahine rongonui.

Ko Te Rarawa tōna iwi.

Ko Heremia Te Wake rāua ko Kare Pauro Kawatihi ōna mātua.

Nō Te Karaka ia.

I te iwa o Hakihea, i te tau kotahi mano e waru rau e iwa tekau mā rima tōna rā whānau.

I a ia e tamaiti ana, i tipu ia ki Te Karaka rāua ko Whakarapa.

I haere ia ki te kura tuatahi o te Kura Māori o Whakarapa.

I haere ia ki te kura tuarua o te Kura Māori o Hato Hōhepa.

I a ia e pakeke ana, i noho ia ki Hokianga.

He kaiako a Whina.

He ariki a Whina.

He wahine tātāriki ia.

Ko Richard Gilbert tōna hoa tane tuatahi. Ko William Cooper tōna hoa tane tuarua. Toko whitu āna tamariki.

Kei Hokianga tōna kainga inaianei.

I tōna wā …

He wahine toa a Whina Cooper.

He wahine manukura ia.

He wahine taiea a Whina.

I te tau kotahi mano e iwa rau e rima tekau mā toru, i whakawhiwhia a ia ki te hōnore a te Kuini, ki te MBE.

I te tau kotahi mano e iwa rau e iwa tekau mā tahi ka whakaurua atu a ia hei mema mō te Tohu o Aotearoa.

He tangata rongonui ia ki ahau nā te mea …

He kaihautū ia i whai hua ki te iwi o Hokianga.

I te hui whakaara i te Rōpū Wāhine Toko i te Ora i Hepetema o te tau kotahi mano e iwa rau e rima tekau mā tahi, pōtitia ana a Whina hei perehitini tuatahi.

I hīkoi ia i Te Hāpua i Te Hiku-o-te-Ika ki te Pāremata i Whanganui-a-Tara, hei tino whakaatu i te kaha hiahia o te Māori ki te pupuri i ōna whenua me ana tikanga, me te whakahiko ake i te Māori me te Pākehā hei tautoko i te kaupapa.

I mate ia i te rua tekau mā ono o Poutū-te-rangi, i te tau kotahi mano e iwa rau e iwa tekau mā whā.

Nō reira

Āpiti hōno, tātai hōno,

rātau te Huna Mate kia rātau,

Āpiti hōno, tātai hōno,

mātau te Huna Ora kia mātau,

tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātau katoa.

Important person: Whina Cooper

(Proverb): I won't be turned back by a stubbed toe, but only if you break my head open.

Greetings to all my fellow students who have gathered here in this place of learning in order to speak as part of our programme.

Thank you for your dedication in gathering here to listen to these talks for our studies.

Here is my pepehā (personal background and history).

Highgate is my mountain. The North Sea is my sea. My iwi (tribal group) is Pakeha. Port Townsville is the name of my waka (boat or ship). My partner is Deb.

I'm from London. I now live at Waikawa Beach. I went to school at Christchurch Girls' High School. I grew up in Christchurch. My name is Miraz.

(Proverb): do not credit me alone with these achievements, for they belong to all of us together.

Greetings everyone.

Whina Cooper, Mother of the Nation, is my Important Person.

Her iwi is Te Rarawa.

Heremia Te Wake and Kare Pauro Kawatihi were her parents.

She is from Te Karaka.

She was born on 09 December 1895.

As a child she grew up in Te Karaka and Whakarapa.

She went to primary school at the Māori School in Whakarapa. She went to secondary school at St Joseph's Māori School.

As an adult she lived in the Hokianga.

Whina was a teacher.

Whina was a chiefly person.

She was a leader.

Richard Gilbert was her first husband.

William Cooper was her second husband.

They had 7 children.

She is now at rest in the Hokianga.

In her time …

Whina was a powerful woman.

She was highly esteemed.

Whina was a prominent woman.

In 1953 she was awarded an MBE.

In 1991 she was made a member of the Order of New Zealand.

I chose her as my Important Person because …

She led the iwi of Hokianga to great success.

She became the first president of the Māori Women's Welfare league at their inaugural meeting in September of 1951.

She led the Land March from Te Hāpua in the Far North to Parliament in Wellington to dramatise Maori determination to retain their land and culture, and to galvanise Maori and Pakeha support.

She died on 26 March 1994.

So, (concluding words)

The lines are joined and linked,

they are the dead and remain with the dead;

the lines are joined and linked,

we are the living and remain with the living.

Greetings to you all.

Miraz Jordan @Miraz