Sandy Morrison (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Maniapoto; Ngāti Rārua ki te Tau Ihu, Ngāti Tama ki te Waipounamu) and Aimee Kaio (Ngāi Tahu, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue and Ngāpuhi) speak about their research that aims to document Māori narratives of voyaging and knowledge of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
According to the tribal narratives of Ngāti Rārua and Te Āti Awa, the first human to travel to the Antarctic was the Polynesian explorer Hui Te Rangiora.
Hui Te Rangiora sits aloft the meeting house Tūrangapeke, at Te Awhina marae in Motueka. He gazes out in his continual search for new lands, and in this way his journey is remembered and honoured. Te Rangiora also adorns the Pou at the entrance to the Riuwaka Resurgence in Kahurangi National Park. At this place, he took rest and prepared himself spiritually and physically for his journey into the Southern Ocean.
This is one recorded version of Māori journeying into the Southern Ocean. But what other stories are held by hapū and iwi – especially those from Te Waipounamu (the South Island) and Rekohu (the Chatham Islands)? How might these stories frame our ongoing relationship with the Antarctic and our responses to climate change?
In this project, we’re working with hapū and iwi from Te Waipounamu and Rekohu to better understand the extent and nature of the relationships Māori had with the Antarctic and Southern Oceans, and to identify local challenges associated with climate change through both tribal stories and contemporary living arrangements.