Out in the hills of Waimarama, Mātai Whetu (a star compass) sits. I was amazed when I got this picture on my DJI Mavic Mini (Senu). It was one of my first times using my drone for the purpose of making a video to be displayed at my whaunau whakapapa hui, as it is where my ancestral background starts. I love my home with all my heart and after visiting Hakikino, a place I hadn’t been in years, it definitely made me realise how lucky I was to grow up in such a magical place. The celestial stars had an essential role in the Polynesian expansion across the Pacific Ocean. The waka tapu (sacred canoe), Tākitimu transported this ancient knowledge as well as the old Gods to this land. When the waka arrived at Waimārama, four tohunga (priests), elected to leave the waka and establish a school. They chose the site for their new school with great deliberation. High on the Maraetotara plateau, the school at Paewhenua gave them a clear and unobstructed view of the heavens. The school also served as a Mātai Whetu - a place to view the stars, an observatory. The actual site of the archaic school is now lost to mystery, history and legend but stone-faced guardians remain. They dot the ridgeline, their flinty gaze fixed upon the fortress beneath - Hakikino, home of the mother of the tribe, Hinengatiira. A carved totem celebrates her genealogy a whakapapa that binds us to those early priests.
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