National Film Unit, 1951
(Aroha as narrator) There is nothing that Māori people enjoy more than a great gathering and we like to welcome any visitors to our home marae. It was my wedding day and as my father is the chief of the tribe, there were many guests in the big meeting house but there was a time when I wondered if my way was to be with my own people.
I had had a disagreement with the old Māori healer and in Māori communities the young people do not openly disagree with their elders least of all with the tohunga.
It all started when I was in Wellington, in my second year at varsity. I was enjoying myself and felt that I was finding broader interests and a fuller life than seemed possible in the small community in which I had lived.
(Friend) Aroha, mother says you can have the room starting this weekend. You will come, won't you?
(Aroha) Oh it's kind of your mother. It'll be on Monday though, I'm going home see my father this weekend.
(Friend) Oh, that'll be fine. I must rush.
(Aroha) Me too.
(John) Are you going now?
(John) Can I see you home?
(Man) Won't do you any good, Aroha has already got a boyfriend.
(Aroha) That's what I tell you.
(Aroha) Well, here we are. This is where I live.
(John) Are they all Māori girls here?
(Aroha) Yes, it's a Māori girls' hostel.
(John) All as pretty as you are?
(Aroha) Oh much prettier.
(John) Well now--
(Aroha) And I must hurry in to dinner. Goodbye and many thanks John.
(Wahine 1) It's printed in America but it's really an old Māori design.
(Wahine 2) This is the rafter pattern from a meeting house, see Aroha?
(Aroha) It's like the pattern used by our tribe, our big meeting house at home has this pattern.
(Wahine 1) It's supposed to be selling very well in New York.
(Maku) Hello, what's this? Aroha interested in Māori design?
(Wahine 2) Why shouldn't Aroha be interested in the kōwhaiwhai?
(Maku) She's going to live amongst the Pākehā now, she's deserting her Māori friends.
(Aroha) Don't be silly, Maku. Why can't I have Pākehā friends too?
(Maku) And what will the elders of the tribe say? They may not let you leave. The daughter of a chief should stay with her own people.
(Aroha) But I'm not leaving my own people, I don't forget the people who gather on the marae but today we're living in a Pākehā world. Some say we should keep apart but we can't grow up as two separate races in the same country.
(Maku) So you want to become a white Māori?
(Aroha) So I want to learn all I can. It's no use being silly and narrow as you're being at the moment.
(Wahine 2) Yes Maku, you are being silly. When are you going Aroha?
(Aroha) After the weekend, when I get back from seeing my father.
(Aroha) Thank you, very much
(Kuia 1) Haere mai e hine, haere mai
(Kuia 2) Haere mai e hine, haere mai
(Man) That okay?
(Tahu) Yeah Aroha, I didn't expect to see you. How long you here for?
(Aroha) Just the weekend. Oh, it's good to see you Tahu.
(Tahu) How's your dad?
(Aroha) He's all right, I think, why?
(Tahu) Will I be seeing you sometime?
(Aroha) Yes, let's go the pictures tonight in town
(Tahu) Or there's a dance at the pā here tonight.
(Aroha) Oh good, let's go to that. It'll be fun to see everybody.
(Man 2) Never mind about the dance, how's about the customers?
(Aroha) See you later!
(Wahine) Tēnā koe!
(Aroha) What are you doing here?
(Girl) We came with the other people because you're father's sick.
(Aroha) What's wrong? No one told me he was ill.
(Aunty Rīpeka) It didn't seem anything to worry about it at first but I'm glad you've come, Aroha. Your father's very sick.
(Aroha) But what's wrong with him? Has a doctor been?
(Aunty Rīpeka) Yes, he says it might be a brain tumor and that he can't make him better here in the pā.
(Aroha) Of course, he won't go to hospital.
(Aunty Rīpeka) Well, the doctor can't expect him to leave his people when he is ill and he might die among strangers.
(Aroha) Well, I suppose you got the tohunga then?
(Aunty Rīpeka) Yes, in there.
(Aroha) He could die here too you know, Aunty Rīpeka.
(Aroha) E Pāpā, shouldn't you be in the hospital?
(Pāpā) No, I'd rather stay with my people.
(Tohunga) Many people die in the hospital.
(Aroha) But he needs proper nursing and medical care.
(Aunty Rīpeka) We can look after him all right.
(Tohunga) He'd be better with his own people.
(Aunty Rīpeka) Yes Aroha, he's better here. There's a dance tonight, a farewell to the teacher who is leaving the school. I'll have to look after your father, you must go to represent the family.
(Aroha) Alright Aunty Rīpeka. I'll see you again when I have unpacked.
(Tahu) Maybe you worry too much about doing things just as well as the Pākehā. I reckon you should forget all that stuff and stick to the old Māori ways.
(Aroha) Old ways! Easier ways, you mean. If we can't be bothered learning to do things, well we'll just have to put up with the jobs no one else will have and the houses no one will live in. Is that the future for the Māori people?
(Tahu) We've done a good bit in the past.
(Aroha) That's fine! We can sit around and talk about the past, that's a great future for our people, that is.
(Tahu) I don't just sit around. I've got a pretty good enough sort of job.
(Aroha) Tahu, you're a petrol pump attendant and now you're going to be a taxi driver. You went away to college, now is this all you ever want to do?
(Tahu) It's not so easy to do anything else. I'd have to learn a trade, but how could I do that?
(Aroha) Well, what about your cousin Tama? Didn't the Māori Affairs Department help him study in Wellington?
(Tahu) Well, I wouldn't mind being an A-grade mechanic but I don't know I like it here with my own people. We could be pretty happy here.
(Aroha) But I don't just want to stay here and be pretty happy. Why should I bury myself in the country because I'm a Māori, there's no need to. Māori's are not kept out of anything.
(Tahu) Oh I suppose you're right. Anyway, we'll talk about it tomorrow.
(Girl) Aroha, your father. He is pretty sick and the old people say maybe now he really is going to die. They want you to be with him now.
(Tohunga) Your father commences a journey to the departing place of the spirits.
(Aunty Rīpeka) Before he leaves he will grant you his last wish. The thing that you want most of all. It is a Māori custom, you know. Aroha, tell your father your wish.
(Aroha) My wish is that you let me take you to a hospital.
(Pāpā) All right Aroha, I'll go to the hospital. If the doctors say I'm going to die, take me to my people.
(Aroha) Of course but you won't die you e papa, you'll walk back into this house. Tahu, bring the car around to the door.
(Tahu) The doctor's a long time.
(Tahu) When your father's better you will have great mana with our people. That's how it should be being the daughter of a chief, it was easy for you to stand up to the old people.
(Aroha) Not very easy. It isn't easy to go against the things you've been taught to respect.
(Tahu) But you did it. You stood up to them.
(Aroha) Yes but supposing my father should die here in hospital after all, how will I feel then? What mana will I have, if I have to call my people to my father's tangi. The old tohunga won't let me forget then.
(Tahu) Perhaps you shouldn't have done this but you seemed so sure that you wanted to bring your father to the hospital.
(Aroha) Don't worry Tahu, I'm quite sure. I know that here they have the knowledge to make my father better and it's sensible for us Māori's to make use of that knowledge.
(Tahu) Yes but sometimes it's very hard to remember that.
(Aroha) But we must remember it all the time especially when we're afraid. Even if my father should die now, we must remember that this was a sensible thing to do.
(Tahu) Yes, I know you're right. I know you're right that I should learn a proper job too. I've been thinking that's just what I must do and then perhaps I'll go back to the pā.
(Aroha) Then perhaps we'll go back together.
(Doctor) Miss Te Waharoa?
(Doctor) Your father will be all right.
(Aroha as narrator) But that night in the big meeting house as we watched the dancers, I knew that the old people had accepted me again. I looked at the Pākehā guests and knew they didn't really understand how much this meant to us. What it means to belong and feel a part of your tribe and your people. The security we feel in the old things that have been handed down from the past to this generation.
My father made a long speech in welcome and told everybody how he had been cured by the Māori tohunga and by the Pākeha doctor and that these things helped to bring our races together.
For the old people, things will never be any different but they'll be different for Tahu and me and for our children. I thought that we had so much that was good of a Pākehā world and so much that was good of our own.
I was very happy that night, in the big meeting house.
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