Mamae Takerei outlines the significance of the river to her identity. From it comes the life force and the sustainable livelihood of the people. She exhorts people to respect the river. Mamae connects to Te Pūaha o Waikato and is very knowledgeable of the local history and mātauranga of the River.
The river is and continues to be my whole life existence. We know as Waikato people that from it we take our name, from it comes the mauri, the life force, from it comes the sustainable livelihood of our people here.
Everything we believed in, the whole ethos of our existence was moulded around the river – karakia, inoi, kai, the lot.
It’s so easy to throw plastic containers in the river, so easy to leave your rubbish lying around, and as much as I support the sportsmanship and the whole idea around wellbeing and health, tikanga must prevail.
The river is not just about sport. It’s about the return of the bounty of food, it’s about remembering where you come from and who you are, it’s about the ethos, the mauri and the spiritual connotations that it brings with it. It’s about the accord relationship and the tikanga of the whanaungatanga of Kīngitanga to Tūwharetoa. It’s about lifestyle, it is about wellbeing but it’s also about being absolutely responsible as custodians of the river.
I challenge you and everyone out there to do your part and continue to care and be responsible for the river. We take what the King said, Kīngi Tūheitia said on the 13th of September 2012. “The water is ours, the river is ours.” What he means is that we must look after it.
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.