Glistening Taranaki greeted Māori gathered at Hui Aranga

hui aranga

About 1,800 people gathered at the TSB Hub in Hawera for the Hui Aranga over Easter.

‘Hui Aranga’ means ‘Gathering around the Rising of Jesus’. It is the Māori Catholic celebration of the Easter message.

The Hui Aranga began at Ōtaki at Pukekaraka in 1946.

This year the hosts were Taranaki, Ngā Pekanga (Waitara) and Araukuku (Hawera).

The visiting groups were hosted at local marae and travelled to the Hub each day.

People came from Māori Catholic clubs in Whangarei, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay, Whanganui and Wellington. Some people even came from Australia.

The focus is on celebrating the Easter dying and rising of Jesus in a Māori way.

The Easter message was incorporated in every activity; the kapa haka, the religious quiz, the oratory, the sacred solo.

Even before the Sports Day Procession and sports on Saturday, an oath is repeated to ensure the correct spirit in playing against one another.

A highlight of the Hui is the ‘massed choir’ when all clubs come on stage to sing at the end of the Easter Sunday Eucharist.

There was even a Disco for the more lively participants.

Marks are given for all activities and taonga are awarded to the successful teams.

While they may appear to be just like normal cups and shields, the taonga represent the tipuna who presented them and who encourage the spirit of the Hui Aranga still.

Often a Club will begin its bracket with a song to those who have died in the last year.

This is a moving tribute as they hold their photos as they sing.

A big part of the Hui is the opportunity to catch up with people. Shared meals are important because they give people a chance to chat and support each other.

The bishop of Palmerston North, Charles Drennan attended the Good Friday service.

The members of the local parish were invited to Good Friday and Holy Saturday services. Their parish priest, Fr Craig Butler, came with them.

There was a group Kaumatua and Kuia who proudly watched their mokopuna participate. They embody the tradition of past Hui.

Next year the Hui will be hosted by the Wellington region. This includes Te Waiora (Manawatu), Tu Hono (Porirua) and Ngā Karere (Wellington Central).

At the end of the Hawera Hui, members of the Wellington Clubs received the symbols of the Hui.

These include a large wooden Cross and a statue of Mary. Mary, or Te Whaea, is the patroness and  inspiration of the Hui Aranga.

Between now and next Easter this statue will make the rounds of homes, schools and marae in the wider Wellington area.

Families and groups will pray the Rosary asking blessings on the Hui Aranga.


Supplied: Pa Piripi Cody

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