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  • Writer's pictureBrent Kerehona Pukepuke-Ahitapu

Hongi's Hikoi launch a success

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

On Saturday, 18th June, a beautiful Poihakena day saw us facilitate a successful launch of our Hongi's Hikoi series of bicentennial commemorative events and educational initiatives, at the prestigious Chau Chak Museum, in the University of Sydney precinct.

All images copyright Kris Kerehona (2022).

Our event comprised three sections, as follows:

1) Whakatau (Opening ceremony), which included a wuyugil (Aboriginal smoking/cleansing ceremony) conducted by Dr John Hunter (Gamilaraay and Wiradjuri mobs) and Josh Sly (Biripi, Worimi, and Wiradjuri mobs) which asked for a safe passage for us to walk on and present our kaupapa; a powerful karanga (call of welcome) by Whaea Tahi Gage (Tainui) and Barbara Pugh (Te Whanau-a-Apanui) to welcome us into the museum space; a waerea (recitation of whakapapa or genealogy) truly befitting of rangatira such as Hongi and Waikato, by Sam Rerekura (Ngapuhi); a beautiful karakia or prayer by Archdeacon Malcom Karipa (Ngai Takoto); a whaikorero or official opening speech (including an acknowledgment of the Gadigal people) by Brent Kerehona Pukepuke-Ahitapu, followed up by an absolutely stunning waiata or song He Kakano Ahau by Te Oranga Nolan (Ngapuhi and Tainui) and Tommy-John Herbert (Ngati Toa).

2) Kaupapa (Presentation), which included the Hongi's Haerenga lecture focusing on Hongi Hika's 1814 journey to Australia; the debut of short film Hongi's Hikoi: A Trio of Travellers focusing on Hongi Hika's 1820 journey to England; the Hongi's Kakahu: Rangatira to Royalty lecture focusing on the meeting between the two chiefs and the King, the practice of tuku or reciprocal gifting, with a detailed description of the gifts exchanged between the two dignitaries; with exceptional kapahaka performances by Sydney-based roopu or group Te Hoe Ki Matangireia during the transitions between each presentation. Copies of our Hongi's Hikoi: Trio of Travellers/Te Hikoi a Hongi: Tokotoru ratou children's books, published the day before) were presented to all actors who were part of making our short film, as well as gifts given to our official party, who played roles during our whakatau.

3) Whakamutunga (Conclusion of event), which included nga mihi or acknowledgments; korero whakamutunga or closing speeches; karakia whakamutunga or closing prayer; and a hakari or communal feast.

We would like to acknowledge and thank the Chau Chak Wing Museum, the University of Sydney, Dr Jude Philp, Rebecca Conway, Craig Barker, Maarama Kamira, Beverley Ruha, Myles Maniapoto, our official party, and all our amazing guests, for contributing to a wonderful experience and a successful event.

Our Hongi's Hikoi kaupapa now travels across the Tasman Sea, to Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa New Zealand; where a number of workshops and presentations will be facilitated in schools, museums, and libraries.

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