Today I went to the tangi of the matriarch of a family I know.
It was emotionally poignant to sit in the wharenui and to see the grandchildren and great-grand children. The ones I used to know.
She was a tiny woman who produced 11 children and several grand and great-grandchildren. In fact there were 5 generations in the house today. I went for the sisters.
Amongst the great grandchildren is a young man with learning issues.
After the speeches in te reo Maori and English he took the floor. He spoke in confident and assured te reo and sang his own waiata. His grandmother and aunt and I cried. I think his uncles did too.
It was a moving and eloquent tribute that enabled him to state his whakapapa and acknowledge his great gran. It’s not just about te reo Maori but about confidence and identity.
There were others from his generation who played significant parts in the ceremony.