Regional | Che Wilson

Ngāti Rangi creates digital tangihanga resource for descendants

A new resource kit has been launched to assist Ngāti Rangi descendants in times of grief. Che Wilson says, "We were compelled because some whānau are burying their dead alone."

Ministry of Health tangihanga restrictions prohibit whānau from holding tangihanga. Allowing only the bubble of the deceased to accompany their loved one to the funeral home and then to the urupā.

"Our whānau are already grieving when a loved one has passed. Added to that, they must navigate cultural practices alone and some simply don't know what to do," Wilson says.

At the request of Ngāti Rangi elders the tribal body researched, composed and compiled a digital resource to sent out to the tribes 2500 descendants.

Wilson describes the contents of the resource:

"We collected short incantations, prayers, hymns, karanga and haka for all of our descendants to access and practice."

Whetu Moatāne: Chairman of Ngāti Rangi says:

"Our elders wanted this resource because they are unable to carry out their cultural obligations and support whānau in their time of grieving, because of the lockdown."

Wilson says that the resource is an avenue for development. It will help many of his people strengthen their reo as they use it.

"Most of our people aren't competent in te reo Māori. Most don't have the confidence to read te reo Māori let alone, karakia or hīmene."

Online tutorials started last night via social media to properly equip whānau with explanations of various items, allowing them to practice safely. Che says that many of the participants were ringa wera, or kitchen workers. Ringa wera are often unable to participate in the ceremonies of tangihanga because they are too busy preparing kai.

"Our late Aotea tohunga always said, in depth there is simplicity, in simplicity there is depth. Although we have distributed this material to our whānau, it's important that they understand the true meaning of what they will be doing," Wilson says.

Ngāti Rangi have also made the resource accessible to others who are looking for a helping hand.