The Hui Aranga or Easter Gathering celebrated 75 years of life this year. This is the Māori Catholic celebration of Easter. It began in 1946 at Pukekaraka, Ōtaki.
Māori then travelled from various parts of New Zealand to gather and celebrate their Faith in a Māori way. This included waiata (sacred songs); kapa haka (action songs); poi (songs accompanied by poi action); whaikōrero (oratory); religious processions and Eucharist; religious discussion and quiz!
Another aspect that challenged the different clubs involved sport. Back then people stayed in large tents with straw on the floor and shared meals and prayer in a central building.
That tradition of gathering at Easter has continued for 75 years. There have been very few years when people could not meet together – over 1000 on some occasions. Two of those times have been the last two years where potential risk of Covid infection has stopped the large meeting.
However, local groups have carried on ‘in their own ‘bubble’: Hastings (Waipatu and Te Waiora from Wairoa); Whanganui River (at Ranana); Ohakune (Ruapehu); Wellington and district (Ngā Karere); TuHoe (Ngāputahi).
At the Wellington gathering, people met during the day and returned home at night. The group met for Good Friday, highlighted by bringing photos of the recent deceased to Te Kainga in Kilbirnie. Sports occupied much of Saturday. Sunday was highlighted by a Mass at the Home of Compassion Chapel, Island Bay.
Mass was led by Fr James Lyons, Chaplain at the Home of Compassion, accompanied by Pā Piripi Cody SM. The Eucharist was largely in te reo Māori with power-point translations.
The Mass was enriched by the baptism of Tāwhirimātea Morehu Martin Nepia-Elvy. He and his family wanted to gift him with the Faith that has sustained their family and the group as Māori Catholic down the years.
The day lived up to Tāwhirimātea’s name as it was windy and wild! However he was very much at home.
Jubilee for Ngā Karere
This was a special year for Ngā Karere as they have now completed their own 50 years of life and sharing.
So two sets of cakes and candles – and Easter eggs – were present! The hākari after the Mass was a hangi enjoyed by all.
‘We give thanks for these two special milestones’, said Pā Piripi Cody.