Rangitiaho Mahuta outlines the need to practise traditions and activities along the river, such as whitebaiting, collecting harakeke, picking kiekie, collecting kaimoana, waka ama or rowing. Such activities cause you to live and experience the river. Without them you lose part of who you are. Rangi affiliates from Te Pūaha o Waikato to Rāhui Pōkeka.
As long as I believe, or Waikato believes in the power and the healing in the water, my river will never die.
Whitebaiting, going to get harakeke, pick kiekie and all the rest of it, because it’s within those activities that lie your tikanga. It’s in there. If you lose the activity, you have no more use for the tikanga. So that would be my biggest concern is that we no longer participate in those activities, whatever they may be.
It’s not just about the fishing. Even if you’re just going to get kaimoana, if we don’t bother and just go to the shop and buy it, well we lose that tikanga too. So when you lose your tikanga, you lose a part of who you are, your culture. You lose a big chunk of yourself.
If you can find yourself an activity – whether it be waka ama, rowing whatever – take it up, go out on the water, experience it, live it, and then I think when you start to live it and experience it, you start to understand. I think that’s what I would say to them.
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.