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He taonga tuku iho - Gifts of our ancestors

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Title: He taonga tuku iho - Gifts of our ancestors
Authors: Edmonds, Katarina
Issue Date: 05 Mar 2017
Description: I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to document the hand written writings in Māori of some of my ancestors of Rutaia, a subtribe of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui of the Eastern Bay of Plenty New Zealand. These writings provide an insight into the late 19th and the early 20th century when the Māori language and its attendant culture was alive and vital to the community. Of great significance in this documentation is the availabiltiy of a living granddaughter of one of the ancestors who provides an oral annotated commentary that gives the sites and events meaning in today’s context. Another set of writings of that time has been offered for modern documentation because the caretaker family wishes to have it documented accurately by a native speaker from within the tribe. This documentation coincides with the impending centennial celebration of a tribal meeting house that represents the eponymous ancestor of our subtribe. Therefore the methodology used to gather the information includes not only the transcription and editing of the old written texts but also the live commentary of people who not only knew the writers, but also tribal speakers who provide oral histories of the times. Furthermore, the centennial has prompted other caretakers of knowledge to share some of their histories as recorded by their ancestors. This sharing has included lively discussions often with much debate, critique and humour. The privilege of documenting our histories is not an easy process. In this paper I also allude to the necessary cultural protocols and modern day protocols that have ensured the safety and wellbeing of the knowledge as well as those of the informants. Other sources of knowledge include the Māori Land Court records that changed the nature of Māori langd ownership resulting in the discontinued use of place names, loss of language, culture and local history. While the research provides an insight into historical events and their impact on today, it also provides a wealth of language and lingustic repertoire that would revitalise the the language of yesteryear for the wellbeing of the tribe’s descendants and the Māori language in general. It is an exciting journey that has already identified language and discourse structures that is waiting to be re- awakend.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42009
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)



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