Te Ipukarea

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  • 14 August 2011 - Panui,

    Taku Manukura e rere rā!
    Taku Manukura e rere rā!

    Eulogy to Sir Paul Reeves

    This eulogy was written by Jason King of Te Ara Poutama.

    Poroporoaki are eulogies, or farewell speeches to the dead, and contain beautiful language and express people’s grief. Metaphoric language and allusions to the tribal connections, geographic places of significance, traditional places that the spirits of the dead are believed to travel to, and the status and work of the deceased, are a feature of poroporoaki. For these reasons they are difficult to translate so that the full meaning is expressed in English. Poroporoaki are delivered as though the person is alive, as the belief is that the wairua (spirit) remains with the body for a time before burial.

    There are obvious allusions in this poroporoaki to Sir Paul’s work and status in the Church as well as his importance and contribution to AUT University. Some explanations have been included in parentheses. The language that Jason has used is befitting of such a great man and of the legacy that Sir Paul has left for the University and the country.

    This is the translation of the full eulogy that appears on the website of Te Ipukarea, the national Māori Language Institute at www.teipukarea.maori.nz.

    In the beginning was the word and God was the word
    God was also the source of the word in the beginning
    It was God who made heaven and earth
    He is my shelter and the reason why we emerged into the world of light and the living
    It is the sneeze of life, so pay attention!
    There was once no light and day!
    The ebbing tide which flows to a distant place from whence Māori originated
    The seas of Waiū Matakamokamo and Waitematā are turbulent
    Crashing against the cliffs of Rangitoto! The blood flows (a reference to the lava flows and the blood that flowed when Tamatekapua, captain of the Te Arawa canoe, was wounded at Motutapu, an event which resulted in the name Rangitoto).
    You will pass to Taka-ā-runga and Taka-ā-raro (volcanic peaks near Devonport)
    And turn to the world of death
    Where you will be splashed with water as you travel and disappear
    Our Chancellor and distinguished leader, our precious treasure that adorned our University
    You have descended from the heights of Mount Eden
    And landed at the stockade of Albert Park
    The waters of Ngā Wai o Horotiu stream are troubled and disturbed (also referring to the University Marae)
    And the umbilical cord of Te Pūrengi (the University meeting house and the woman nursing the baby at the base of its centre pole) is severed
    Oh, our leader and guide, we cry in anguish!
    Tāne’s speakers make a loud noise as they gather to express their grief for you who has fallen And Hine-nui-te-pō, the ancestress of death, is proud that our distinguished leader and
    Chancellor has joined her as an adornment to clothe her
    Sir Paul, here we are, the fledglings of the Auckland University of Technology, calling in anguish for you to return to us
    Our noble treasure, our precious greenstone ornament
    Our illustrious greenstone ear ornament, our guardian who protected us
    What can we do to end this anguish that tears at our hearts?
    Our love bites at our heart and soul
    No matter what profound words we use you will never return to us
    So lie in peace and let it reign everywhere
    Soar to the summit of your sacred mountain Taranaki
    The plumes of Puketapu (Sir Paul’s hapū and an allusion to the white feathers the people place in their hair) continue to cry
    A burning fire has been extinguished
    And it is felt in the west, groaning day and night.
    Our Chancellor and distinguished leader, you have been silenced by the will of your God.
    So dwell in God’s comforting embrace
    The servant of God
    Sleep the long sleep.

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