Nō wai ahau? Nō Patu Koraha, nō Ngati Kahu, nō Ngati Hine ahau, ko Deb Cole ahau.
As part of Deb’s employment for Te Pīhopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau in the position of Kaituitui o Kāhui Wāhine o Te Tai Tokerau, she has been tasked with gathering the faith stories of wāhine from Te Tai Tokerau and collating these into a book: “Hikoi Whakapono”.
In setting out to interview our kuia, in researching for this, Deb has discovered that the voice of wāhine in Te Haahi Mihingare o Te Tai Tokerau is almost silent. There appears to be no research that offers, through narrative, a window into the faith and involvement of our whaea tūpuna. And yet these kuia speak about their nannies, aunts, mothers and the roles they played in their lives, in the development of their faith journeys. Deb says; “As kuia are the backbone of Te Haahi, and in fact the backbone of our communities, it is important to gather their stories now. This book is to celebrate their lives, their faith and how their faith is lived out in their lives”.
In the light of the silence that exists, this book is a first; it is an important strand in the story of the growth of Te Haahi Mihingare o Te Tai Tokerau.
It is Deb’s hope, that the voices of these kuia will not only karanga to young wāhine of today but to those wāhine who are yet to come... that these stories will inspire and encourage whilst providing a wonderful snapshot of a way of life that is all but disappeared. Haere mai whaea.