WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Ngāpuhi Iwi visit the Home of Compassion

WelCom May 2018:

“E te tuahinee Peata … to wairua e whakatopatopa ana i runga o te whenua – Peata…your spirit soars above the earth” – Matua Awene Solomon, kaumatua, Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi


Ngāpuhi elders arriving at the Home of Compassion. Photo: Lance Lawson Photography

Henare Walmsley

A bright morning, Tuesday 3 April 2018, greeted manuhiri from the northern tribes of Ngāpuhi to the Home of Compassion at Island Bay, Wellington. Ten collectives of Ngāpuhi Iwi had gathered in Wellington to outline to the government their strategies for moving into the future. A whirlwind visit to the Home of Compassion was a prelude to a memorable day for Ngāpuhi and friends of Home of Compassion.

A ‘mauri’ stone from the Waitangi River was presented to Srs Margaret Anne Mills and Sue Cosgrove by the manuhiri to cement the ties between the groups and to acknowledge the life-long bond of Peata with Suzanne Aubert, Meri Hōhepa. Peata was the first Māori nun to be professed in Aotearoa by Bishop Pompallier and she – along with many hapū throughout the country – helped Meri Hōhepa obtain rongoa Māori or native herbs for medicinal purposes. Peata also taught Meri Hōhepa te teo Māori and tikanga Māori.

Canterbury schist from the Waitaha river off the west coast of the South Island has been used for Meri Hohepa’s tomb representing her most southerly post/visit to Westport. Photo: Annette Scullion

Peata was the niece of the great Ngāpuhi rangatira, Rewa. Rewa was a long-time friend of Bishop Pompallier whom he confided in during the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Ngāpuhi kaumatua (elders) Arvid Solomon, Raniera Tau and Rautapu Stevens said that the stones of the Waitaha and Waitangi awa (rivers) will always be together. Canterbury bedrock or schist is from the Waitaha river off the west coast of the South Island and has been used for Meri Hohepa’s tomb representing her most southerly post and visit to Westport. The Waitaha river flows from Mount Aorangi.