Newsletter Issue:

Introduction to Māori Culture a talk by Piripi Kingi Waretini

DATE: Friday, April 14, 2023


SPEAKER: Piripi Kingi Waretini with Simon Leeming

Register in advance for this webinar:

This webinar session introduces some key aspects of Māori art and philosophy by artist, teacher, translator, and actor Piripi Kingi Waretini, a member of the Waikato Maniapoto Māori tribal confederation in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Waretini will illustrate various ways of what “being Māori” means, as part of an “old and new world” and participating in consciousness-identifying relationships to each other and our environment, Te ira tangata, te rangi me te whenua. Simon C. Leeming, a New Zealand lawyer involved in Māori culture and histories, will introduce Waretini.

Piripi Kingi Waretini (Waikato Maniapoto tribal confederation) is a certified translator with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) whose translation work ranges from complex legal documentation and Pushkin’s poetry in iambic tetrameter to several movie scripts. Piripi was the inaugural kaiwhakahaere Māori Advisor to Parliamentary Service and The Office of the Clerk. He and his wife Angela own a business teaching accelerated te reo specializing in the corporate marketplace. In addition, they deliver to whānau Māori and marae (Forums) via the social enterprise arm of their business, intending to “Repopulate the Paepae”—the traditional Speaker’s platform. Piripi is a poet, writer, and musical composer and, amongst other things, was the former Wellington Chair of Ngā Puna Waihanga (NZ Māori Artists and Writers).

Simon C. Leeming, MNZM, is a fifth-generation New Zealander living in Wellington. He has practiced law for 40 years in the US and Aotearoa/New Zealand. For 20 years, he was New Zealand’s Honorary Consul to Boston and the New England region. In 2013 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contributions to New Zealand/US relations. Simon has a BA in English Literature from Boston University and the University of Wales and a Doctor of Laws from Suffolk Law School, Boston. He is currently working towards a BA in Māori Art and Design at Massey University, New Zealand. He has been a wood carver for over two decades and has been tutored by established Māori carvers. He sits as a Trustee on two regional Māori trusts and is consulting with an iwi (Māori tribe) on claims relating to the Treaty of Waitangi.

The following is a traditional chant from Warenti's people of Ngāti Maniapoto that is one of preparation and clearing when entering any unknown territory or circumstance.

Takahiahia tai ki ā e where (Move in stealth towards the house) / E kuhu aue noko (Upon this intrepid journey into the unknown) / Whai tāua, whai tāua (Let us move together, united) / Tara tū, tara tū (Valiant, vigilant) / Tara rongo tara whēwhē (And alert) / Ū a kaha ki te Uenuku tāheke roa (Adhering to the eternal progeny of Uenuku) / Ko te ihu, ko te ai, whiria! (Disseminate all contingencies) / E kaha tōna tinitini (Allowing prolific growth) / E kaha tōna manomano (And propagation) / Tōna mate e whawhai (As we journey onward into eternity) / E taka atu rā, e taka atu rā (Ever forward) / E taka nei e (We come now to this place) / Ū ko te pō winiwini (Of eternal intensity) / Ū ko te pō wanowano (And other worldliness) / Ko te hau o tītī whakamaua kia tīnā! (Let the winds of unity combine us!) / Haumi e, hui e…taiki e! (United as one, under a common cause!).

This webinar is hosted by the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA).

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