Karaitiana Ripaki-Tamatea describes the importance of the river. The River is an important resource – not only for kai but also for socialising. Activities such as waka ama can be used for getting the whānau together. Karaitiana is a university student living outside the Waikato region.
The history of Ngāti Korokī Kahukura with the river and their relationships with the living species within the river showed the importance of us to play important role in looking after the health of the river but also the experience of knowing what locations to look for the eels. And also, most of my uncles and my aunties own a lot of land around Karāpiro, so it was a bit more passive for us to access these specific lands.
From stories that I’ve been told, the river was a means of resource for kai, also a side of socialising as well. So I guess in a way, the river has looked after us and our ancestors back in the days, and I guess it’s our turn to return the favour to the river.
Particularly with my whānau, we have the Kara reunion – Kara whānau reunion – which happens every 4 years. It started off when I was 3 years old, and just recently, our Kara reunion was based in Maungatautari, so we took it back home, which was awesome, and what I mean about socialising was kind of encouraging our whānau to get into waka ama. So we took the whānau out. My whānau and I are quite highly… well, I guess waka ama is pretty much a part of our lives, so we took it upon ourselves to run the whānau and take them out for a paddle and have a lot of fun. So that’s what I mean about socialising.
So with the regatta and the Regatta Koroneihana and all those Māori events that are important to Waikato-Tainui, our whānau try and get together and participate in that.
The Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development acknowledges the financial support given by the Waikato River Cleanup Trust Fund which is administered by the Waikato River Authority.
The Waikato River Cleanup Trust does not necessarily endorse or support the content of the publication in any way.