A Feeling for the Forest

I te wā o te noho whakamohoao, i whakapau kaha ana ngā kaimahi o Ngā Taonga ki te whakarārangi i ngā kōrero maha i te hōtaka reo irirangi o Spectrum. E whai nei ko tētahi tuhinga nā Kahu Kutia, e kōrero ​ana mō te pūrongo A Feeling for the Forest. Ko te pūrongo nei nā te hōtaka Spectrum ka whai i ngā kōrero a te kaumātua Tawhao Tioke e pā ana ki ngā mahi ngahere, te rongoā, me te whakapono. Pānuitia ana kōrero, whakarongo mai ki tēnei pūrongo ataahua!

Over lockdown some of our staff undertook a huge project cataloguing hundreds of episodes of the historic ‘Spectrum’ radio series. One of the cataloguers, Kahu Kutia, wrote about A Feeling for the Forest, which features Tūhoe kaumātua Tawhao Tioke speaking of bushlore, rongoā and faith. Read about what she learnt and listen to the complete recordings.

One of the perks of working in the Archive is when I get to work with taonga that relate to my own people – Ngāi Tūhoe. Whether it’s a chance to see familiar faces or learn parts of my history that I didnt know before, there are treasures in the collection that help me learn more and more about my own Tūhoetana.

In the midst of the lockdown I volunteered to take part in the Spectrum project: providing in-depth catalogue notes for the long-running radio series. The two episodes of A Feeling for the Forest were the first to catch my eye. Tawhao Tioke was a Tūhoe kaumātua, and a minister who spent a large part of his life in Te Awakairangi, Wellington. In these recordings, Tioke shares with presenter Alwyn Owen some of his knowledge about the forest.

Te Urewera National Park, looking towards East Cape. Credit.

While half the country was baking bread at home during lockdown, Tawhao Tioke talks about the traditional “bread” our people made from the hinau berry. Baskets and baskets of the berry needed to be collected and beaten in to a dough. The dough was mixed with honey and water, wrapped in young mauku leaf and baked in hāngi pits.

Another handy tip he offers is that chicken baked with miro berries has a similar taste to kererū, and that tawa berries make a delicious summer beverage when boiled with sugar and water.

Hearing Tioke talk about the multitude of resources to be found in the bush, and in the wake of national lockdown, I am reminded more than ever of the ways that our people lived with and off the land. In place of not being on our ancestral land, Tawhao had formed a deep connection to the urban forests somewhere in Upper Hutt. I learned so many new things and was reminded that there are ways to remain connected to my Tūhoetana even while I live away from home.

A Feeling for the Forest Part One

A Feeling for the Forest Part Two

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