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  • Ngaputiputi Akapita

Whakapapa – a generational kōrero


Puti's extended whānau at their recent family reunion

I’ve been thinking about how generations work within our whānau, after we had our huihuinga ā whānau reunion at the start of January at Waiokura Marae, Manaia. This is one of many marae that our whānau connect to within Taranaki; we are uri whakatupuranga o Parata Kato rāua ko Ngawai Kaukau Luke, who are uri of Taranaki. Koro and Nanny had 15 children and my mother is the youngest, hence this generational kōrero of mine.

 

Many of our whanaunga find the generational expression of tuakiritanga (identity) difficult to comprehend within our whakapapa, and how it works. When I say how it works, I’m talking about where each generation sits within our whakapapa, from tūpuna to children to mokopuna to mokomoko to cousins and so on.

 

In the line of our first cousins, my eldest cousin is in his seventies. He is the mataamua, while I am the second to youngest cousin in our generation. In between us are 50 or more of our cousins and then one more cousin below me who is the youngest of us all.


Ngaputiputi with her mum, her niece, and her four children.
Ngaputiputi, right, with her mum, her niece, and her four tamariki

I am cousin to cousins who are older than my mother. I am an aunty to nieces and nephews who are old enough to be my cousins. I am a nanny when I’m only in my thirties.


I have many nannies and koro. A few more mums and dads. Heaps of aunties and uncles. I have been brought up with whānau members who I call my brothers and sisters. My children are cousins to whanaunga who are way older than them, aunty and uncle to their children. I know it sounds confusing, but I find it to be beautiful and I am not afraid to express my generational status within my whānau.


I was told we express our generations like we do because it keeps our whakapapa stronger and everyone understands which generation they branch off in the whānau tree, lineage, reanga.


It won’t be confusing if you walk it, breathe it, learn with it every day.


Mō ngā mokopuna te take

Mō te āpōpō te take

Mō ngā whakakitenga te take


We as Māori are unique, let’s be unique.


Nā Ngaputiputi Akapita

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