December 10, 2020
Smoke signals reminder of Whakaari power
Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi says Whakaari-White Island will continue to cast a huge shadow over the people of Mataatua iwi.
Mr Waititi attended yesterday’s commemoration in Whakatāne of the one year anniversary of the eruption that killed 22 people.
He says in Te Whānau a Apanui lore, Whakaari was cast out by the maunga Tihirau and told if she wanted to go to her new lover Pūtuaki she had to get there before the sun rose – which she failed to do.
She is watched closely by his Te Whānau a Apanui iwi for guidance on things like whether to go fishing.
"If the smoke is heading right we know it's a westerly. If it's bending to the left we know it's a northerly. If it's blowing straight up we know it's a southerly and that's a good day for fishing for us. It used to be a place we collected muttonbirds, but we know her might – like any Māori woman you never underestimate her power or her ability to make change," Mr Waititi says.
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