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  • Writer's pictureBrent Kerehona Pukepuke-Ahitapu

Moka's message of sovereignty shared across the seas, in Kariponia.

Purakau Productions was both honoured and humbled to have been provided with the opportunity to deliver an academic presentation focusing on the role and actions of Ngapuhi chief, Moka Te Kaingamata, regarding the Treaty of Waitangi; at the NZ Consulate-General's Official Residence in Los Angeles.

This presentation encompassed the director's personal journey and research process, as he determinedly set out to confirm whether Moka was a signatory to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or whether he refused to sign as a matter of principle, as a result of his understanding of the agreement.

At the conclusion of our presentation, we were honoured to have been able to koha (gift) a kakahu (handwoven cloak) named Kariponia, a California-inspired garment of prestige; which we had woven specifically for the NZ Consulate in LA. The colours are based on the colours of the Californian State flag, with several designs and patterns which represent places and people of this area. Deputy Consul-General, Saskia McCulloch, accepted this taonga on behalf of the NZ Consulate Los Angeles.

Purakau Productions would like to acknowledge and thank the following people for their assistance and support, in enabling this event to occur:

Mona Recalde - Commissioner of the Native American Indian Commission (NAIC), and is a member of the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians; who attended and welcomed us, and our guests onto Tongva lands. This was particularly meaningful, as it is our personal belief, and Maori practice, to seek permission from the tangata whenua (people of the land) to stand on their ground before speaking or engaging in any planned kaupapa (projects). Not only were we blessed to have Mona and her husband Tony attend, and to be able to share some common experiences held by indigenous peoples during the process of colonisation; but we have been extended an invitation to return and engage in a cross-cultural exchange with the Gabrieleno/Tongva people.

The Honourable Saskia McCulloch - Deputy Consul-General, NZ Consulate, Los Angeles; who graciously hosted us at the Official Residence; and whose manaakitanga (hospitality) toward our delegation, was exceptional. We felt an authentic and genuine sense of hospitality from her during our visit, and we appreciate that Kiwi aroha (love) immensely.

Tina Hellier - Executive Assistant/Manager NZ Consulate, Los Angeles; for all of her planning and administration work behind the scenes. Her assistance is very much appreciated.

Jackie Alixander - President Kiwis in LA; for her assistance and support in helping enable this event to occur, and for being the liaison between the NZ Consulate and the Kiwi community here in California - and for disseminating the information far and wide, ensuring a capacity audience..

To our wonderful guests on the night, it is for you, Maori, pakeha, and tauiwi, that this research has been undertaken and presented. As uncomfortable as some aspects of history may be, it is incumbent upon us to learn, and address the shared histories of our nation - if we are to move forward together as a united people.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people

Finally, to our mokopuna (grandchildren), thanks for joining us on this haerena (journey), we do this with the hope of exposing you to the highest level of Maoritanga, so that you are all able to connect with, learn about, and find yourselves in this modern world - with the strength, pride, and sense of belonging in your heritage.

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