Ngā Hapū o Waimārama whakapapa dates back to pre-migration times. Descent can be traced back to the original inhabitants, Kupe, Paikea, Tara, Whatonga, Tara and Toikairakau. Many of our key place names originated from these early origins (Te Whanganui-a-Tara). The Takitimu canoe anchored at Waimārama with the anchor being called Te Taupunga o Takitimu (which is the name of our Wharenui). With the arrival of the Takitimu waka, four Tohunga disembarked at Waimārama. Tunui and Taewha were the most well known of the Tohunga and established the whare wananga Rangiteauira and the Whare Maire Paewhenua respectively. These wananga helped build the repuatation of Waimārama as a key focal point for the population of the time. By the time Ngāti Kahungunu arrived in the Hawkes Bay generations later, Waimārama was already well populated by Ngāi Tara, Rangitāne, Ngāti Awa and Muaupoko. Taraia had given authority to occupy lands south of the Tukituki river to his general Te Aomatarahi. This brought conflict between the Kahungunu and Rangitāne tribes with key battles at Hakikino, Matanginui and Karamea. In the end it was the marriage between Te Ao Matarahi’s youngest son Rongomaipureora and the Rangitāne Chieftiness HineNgātira that brought peace to the area. The descendants of this marriage became the new aristocracy.
Later Te Karaha was invited to live in Waimārama. His brothers were also placed in other parts of the wider territory, Te Kikiri at Waipukurau and Te Orihau 1 at Te Hauke, with Hawea in Heretaunga. Intermarriage further enhanced the mana of Nga Hapū o Waimārama now with direct links to Te Rangikoianake, Te Whatuiapiti, Kahungunu and Tamatea Ariki Nui. Tiakitai had direct links to this line through his grandfather Te Karaha and also to Tūmapuhiarangi and HineNgātira through his mother Hinekona. Tiakitai was a key figure in the Heretaunga invasion by powerful interior tribes. Unlike many of the Heretaunga chiefs, Tiakitai chose not to migrate to Nukutaurua under the protection of Te Wera Hauraki and Te Pareihe. He and his Waimārama Hapū maintained the ahi kaa roa of Waimārama and greater Heretaunga and fought to protect their people at key battles, Te Whiti o Tu, Te Pakake, Roto a Tara 1 and 2 and others. His reputation for maintaining the Ahi Kaa was heralded throughout Ngāti Kahungunu and was greatly mourned at his death. His younger brother Harawira Te Tatere Mahikai inherited his leadership role and was also one of the chiefs that signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Descendants of these Rangatira included Te Teira Tiakitai, Horiana Te Wharepu, Airini Donnelly, Morehu Te Amohaere, Wi Te Maangi, Mohi Te Atahikoia, Wi Turoa and others. All maintained the mana of Waimārama and encouraged the Hapū not to sell land. This history demonstrates the long and close association between nga Hapū o Waimārama and the land and coast.
The Waimārama Māori Committee is the committee that handles the affairs of Waimārama marae. It is made up of 13 volunteer, elected committee members including a chairperson, secretary and treasurer. The committee is mandated to provide for the cultural, social, health and economic needs of whānau belonging to the Waimārama hapū of Ngāti Kurukuru, Ngāti Whakaiti, Ngāti Urakiterangi and Ngāti Hikatoa. Waimārama marae values the health and wellbeing of its whānau, and has been proactive in promoting healthy lifestyles to its whānau. Over the past ten years especially the marae has worked extemely hard on a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support whānau wellness.
Waimārama marae is member of Ngā Kairauhii, a collective of six Hawke’s Bay marae that collaborate to improve the health and wellbeing of their whānau. In 2007 the collective of marae undertook a research project in an endeavour to understand if marae-based health delivery was a viable option considering the many factors contributing to whānau moving away from their marae/ hapū base. The research identified that whānau felt a sense of strength and connection to their identity as Māori and that health services should be available at marae. This research provided a solid foundation for Waimārama marae to commence a journey that captures the vision below:
Ko te tangata te kaupapa – Our people are the reason
Ko ngā tikanga te tuāpapa – Our culture is the foundation
Ko te marae te matatiki – Our marae are is the resource!
In 2001, Waimārama Marae developed its 25 year Māori language strategy. Over the last 14 years the marae has worked hard with partners such as Te Taura Whiri, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and others to revitalise Te Reo Rangatira in our community. One of these initiatives has been Te Kura Reo o Waimārama which has been operating annually for over 25 years.
Over the past five years Waimārama Marae has been working in partnership with others to realise its health aspirations, including the development of a Marae Health Plan in 2013. One of the first projects undertaken was the development of a Marae based nursing clinic. This clinic was opened in 2013 and has been very rewarding with whānau appreciating these services being offered at the Marae. In 2014 we had whānau certified to deliver the Stanford Long-term Conditions course which empowers whānau to self manage long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease etc.
In 2014-2015 the marae in partnership with EIT, ran a marae trade training course. This focused on training rangatahi to be builders and using the marae and its many buildings to ply their trade. Buildings have been upgraded and new structures erected under the programme. We also had five local rangatahi complete the programme. In 2016 we are looking to continue this partnership with EIT by delivering a Horticulture course at the Marae. The focus of this being to replant the recently re-diverted Waingōngoro river and its ecosystem with native trees.
Kaitiakitanga of our local environment is also an important kaupapa for the marae. In October 2015, the marae realised a 50 year dream to return the Waingōngoro river to its original path past the marae. Again this has only gained traction through a partnership arrangement with Hastings District Council and a desire to work together to achieve mutual outcomes.
Waimārama marae is excited to contribute as a Strategic Partner within the Takitimu Ora Collective. We look foward to working closely with our partners and others to collectively improve the outcomes of our whānau.