October 07, 2021
Tangi tikanga right for the times says Temara
A leading expert in Māori custom and practice says new tikanga is emerging for conducting tangi in a time of Covid – but the old tikanga will reassert itself.
Professor Sir Pou Temara says tikanga changes to cope with what is in front of the Māori people, and he has heard first hand stories from survivors of the 1918 influenza epidemic about tūpāpaku being taken straight from the house to the urupā for burial with no tangi.
He says as the late Tūhoe tohunga Hohepa Kereopa put it, sometimes tapu tikanga needed to be suspended so tikanga can continue.
“He’s talking about the tikanga that matters, the tikanga that keeps us alive, not the tikanga that gives us mana, and when we are in a position where we are strong enough, where we are clear of the problem, we then can go and take back our tikanga,” Sir Pou says.
Zoom tangi do raise questions about tikanga, such as whether or not people can have a cup of tea or food while they are watching online, but he doesn’t believe they will become the norm.