Eruera Tirikatene addresses the gathering at Uepohatu marae in 1947.
At the time he was member for Southern Maori and for the Executive Council representing the Native race. He was also chairman of a parliamentary committee overseeing the Maori War Effort Organisation.
The marae hosted events held on the 12th and 13th of September that included cultural competitions with local school children and the opening of the Uepohatu War Memorial Hall. The hall was built to commemorate East Coast soldiers who died during the two World Wars.
At an investiture ceremony held on the second day, seventeen decorations were presented to servicemen and women who had served abroad and on the home front.
The gathering was an important one, attended by thousands including the Prime Minister Peter Fraser, the Leader of the Opposition Sidney Holland and other members of Parliament. Sir Bernard Freyberg, the Governor General opened the hall and unveiled two memorial tablets inside.
Ngati Porou, Te Tairawhiti, tena koutou i te ra o to tatou kaumatua a Apirana na na tatou i whakahuihui mai i te ra nei. Ka nui te ora o te ngakau ka waimaria taku tae mai ki konei.
[recording cuts out briefly]
… te huamaria ko te kaihanga. Ko te whakaarotanga o te aroha ko nga huihuinga, o nga whakaaro, o roimata, o ringaringa, a me te aroha. He kupu ki te hunga kua moe, kua huri atu ki tua o te arai – haere nga mate, haere ki te kainga tuturu. Hoki wairua mai e tama ma, hoki wairua mai a i runga i ta koutou marae, te huihuitanga o nga waka.
E taku matua, papa, e Api, tena koe. Korua ko to tamaiti e tieki, e Ngati Porou, Te Tairawhiti – tena koutou, tena koutou, te ahuatanga o te hunga kua moe.
Tena koe e koro, e mihi nei, e tangi nei koe ki nga waka o te motu kua tatu mai i roto i tenei ra. Koia ka hono atu tenei mea te aroha, a ki ou kupu, a me te mihi ki nga waka o te motu, nga reo kua tae mai i roto i tenei haora o te Tai Hauauru, Tai Rawhiti, Te Waipounamu, Whare Kauri, nga hau e wha – tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou me o tatou mana.
Koia e Api, tena koe, i roto i tou kaha ka tu ano tenei pou whakamaharatanga ki a tatou tamariki kua huri atu i roto i nga marae o te riri. No reira te mihi atu kia koe me te inoi ano kia koe, a kaua e wareware ki to whare, kua whakaritea, a kia whakatungia he pou whakamaharatanga ki o tatou toa i runga i nga marae o te Waipounamu. Nau ano i timata, mau ano e whakaoti. Tata nei ka nukuhia i roto i ou marae o te Waipounamu. No reira, kei te inoi atu awhinatia mai tera taha i ou iwi e noho mai ra i roto i te Waipounamu te ahuatanga o to ratou haere. Ehara i te mea he mea he aha, engari he tohutou hei whakatika kia tu ano tetahi ahuatanga penei i runga i era marae kainga o tou.
Koia kati nga mihi i konei, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa kua hui mai te whakanui, i tenei ra i roto i te kaha o nga mahi o to tatou kaumatua, to tatou matua a Api a me ona kaitautoko hei hapai i roto i tenei tikanga.
Just a brief word - Sir Apirana, to my Lord the Bishop of Aotea and to the elders of our maraes here of Ngati Porou and the East Coast. It is very gratifying indeed to always be able to look at the work from which you’ve started and how you’ve completed them. These tasks are not easy, they are married with many different feelings. But it is worthy of great congratulations when we find that its completion is always a most complete one. And I convey here and to the children who are competing, early greetings from the Prime Minister who has instructed Mr Ormond and myself to arrive here early in order to convey his greetings and message of good wish to your programme from which you have been rendering and will be throughout the day. He himself personally, with the leader of the opposition Mr Holland will be here this evening. I would like to say this Sir Api, in conclusion that the memorial that you commenced in the exhibition of Wellington is still waiting for you to associate yourself again with it, in its final completion on those other maraes of yours in the Waipounamu.
My Lord the Bishop of Aotea it is very pleasing and gratifying always to be able to meet you, irrespective of what circumstances they are, providing they are the assembly of Maoridom – aroha, roimata and tears. We are always able to meet you on those occasions.
Mr Dean, with the footballers – I wish you luck as you go on, on your mission. And I know that as you travel through and after you leave, ah the East Coast here you’ll be fully primed up to take on other opponents that are awaiting in the South Island. I understand in Timaru, next Saturday you will be playing there. I wish you all the success in your tour, but remember you’ll have to give and take a little so that we will be able to encourage other players to be able to stand in the same stead as the days present itself.
In conclusion – tena koutou, kia ora huihui ano tatou katoa, e tieki me ou rangatira, me o iwi, a taua iwi e hui nei i roto i tenei haora
Sound file from Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero.(43115). Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright.
Image: Portrait of Eruera Tihema Tirikatene. S P Andrew Ltd :Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-018923-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22376677