Picture: Ngāti Maru tamariki attend wānanga, 2016
It isn’t easy to stay connected from a distance, yet Ngāti Maru uri and Runanga trustee Karl Burrows and his whanau who live in London remain fiercely connected to their taha Māori. “I’ve managed to stay in touch with my culture through the Maori Culture Club (Ngāti Rānana) that I started with my wife in London.”
Manaia-a Maori performing arts company-with a vision of educating people about their culture on a global platform, was founded by Karl and his late wife. It enables the sharing of his culture overseas and speaking in Te Reo Maori to his children helps Karl to remain connected to his homeland.
“If people can understand who they are and where they are from it gives them a stronger sense of their place in the universe, place in the community, and place in their iwi”. In future, Karl hopes that Maori can have an understanding of what happened in the past, and be proud of who they are and what their tupuna endured through. He says the Settlement process is key, as it allows tangata Maori to enhance their mana and find a sense of their identity. “The process can enable us to find out what happened to our ancestors, it is important to know where we have come from as it gives us a basis on which we can move forward into the future.”
In 2016, Maori are not often brought up on their whenua. This could illustrate why only a few of a vast number of Maori peoples are actively affiliating with their iwi. This is particularly the case for Ngāti Maru iwi. “The last Ngāti Maru family left in the 1960’s. That was from my marae that doesn’t exist anymore. They all left the coast and went into Te Ati Awa, Whanganui, Waitotara, Taumaranui, and Hawera”. Karl says the challenge is to somehow regain our connections with the land our tupuna lived on, so that the land becomes meaningful to all Māori once more.
He urges more people to get on board and register with Ngāti Maru. “It is exciting for our iwi to go through the Settlement Process as we have watched other iwi involved in the process and we can see the benefits…only good things can come from getting involved. Everyone’s contribution can only enhance the mana of our iwi and add to the growing sense of identity we have as Ngati Maru.”
Be sure to register your whānau with Ngāti Maru. Visit www.ngatimaru.co.nz/register or email email@example.com