“It's a heavy stone that we've brought here all the way from the sacred cave of Taratoa to acknowledge our shared heritage,” said Mauke historian Tinokura Auru Tairea.
According to tradition, the Mataatua vaka made landfall in Aotearoa over 800 years ago and now rests in the Tākou River, in the Far North. The origins, however, are subject to much discussion.
Chairperson of Mataatua Marae in Mangere, Pouroto Ngaropo said the ancient history was once known.
“It is recorded that we originate from there (Mauke) by historians like Hamiora Pio. That knowledge was known to them, however, it has since been forgotten and lost to us. Today we aim to revive that knowledge.”
It is also believed that the vaka Horouta came from Mauke. The people of Mauke and their ariki Paikea are believed to be the ancestors of the Ngati Porou tribe from the East Coast of Aotearoa.
The ceremony formalises the relationship established between Mauke and Mataatua Marae six months ago. Since then, the people of Mauke residing in Auckland have played a big part in the activities of the marae, including welcomes and funerals. “We've given them an opportunity to participate alongside us under the mantle of kinship and love for each other,” said Ngaropo.
They plan on holding a series of meetings throughout the year, with hope of eventually retracing the footsteps of their ancestors in the islands from whence they came.
“They're discussing when they will return to the land where my heart rests, to Mauke,” said Tairea.