Welcome to the Ahipara School Website
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Cultural identity is the characteristics that make up the culture of a particular society. It is something that is passed down from generation to generation. It is taught to you by your elders by the telling of stories, songs, language and tradition.
Cultural identity is inherited from our Tupuna; it is our way of life passed down to us through generations and includes our values, beliefs, traditions and knowledge about various subjects that govern our life. i.e. genealogy, whakapapa, and where we originated and how we came to New Zealand.
- Te Paa Whanau
Language, traditional art patterns and pictures by the Maori. By learning Maori words and understanding and learning how to speak the language.
A cultural identity is the culture that you identify with, and you get one by being born into a culture or being adopted into one. You can get a cultural identity by knowing the history of your family and where you came from. This can be learnt by sharing information through song, stories, and taught tradition and language.
Our cultural identity is about who we are and where we come from concerning our culture, customs, and ways of living.
A cultural identity is knowing who you are and where you come from, and which race you belong to.
Culture refers to the customs, practices, languages, values, and world views that define social groups such as those based on nationality, ethnicity, region or common interests. Cultural identity is important for people's sense of self and how they relate to others. A strong cultural identity can contribute to people's overall wellbeing.
- Hammond family.
Helping us learn the history of Ahipara, and know about the important places like our mountain, Whangatauatia.
Accepting students for who they are, and their culture.
Have someone come talk to the school about Ahipara. Encourage things like speaking their language with their class and the school, by telling stories, doing dances and through singing songs eg. kapa-haka, kolo dancing.
The school can help by teaching people to accept other's cultures.This helps everyone to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
You can help children by teaching them to study their culture and compare it to other ways of life.
By inviting parents from different cultures to come and speak about their child's or children's culture.
The original name was Ahiparapara, the reasoning behind this was because there were always a lot of fires burning around the bottom of Whangatauatia.
- As told by the Te Paa Whanau
Ahipara was a landing spot for Maori settlements, plus it was a highly contested area - there were many confrontations.
- As told by Robbie
Ahipara means 'sacred fire' after the ancient fire that was kept burning at the original Maori settlement where the school now stands.
The first descendents to this area came on the wake Tinana. They landed at Tauroa to the south of the reef past Shipwreck Bay.
- As told by Becky
Ahipara is in the tribal area of the Te Rarawa people and the waka Tinana (later renamed Mamaru) carried the first of these people here from the Pacific with the captain who was called Tuamoana.
- As told by Amber
Ahipara means 'fire in the fern roots'.
- As told by Saraya
A chief was walking along one day with his companion, and they came across some men who were cooking fish on hot rocks like a barbeque. This form of cooking is 'para'. 'Ahi' means fire, cooking on hot rocks, or barbequing, hence the name Ahipara (original name Whaaro).
- As told by Renee
Ahipara's first school was built in 1872.
- As told by Hannah
How Ahipara got its name: When the chief Paro died there was a huge tangi. Many people travelled from all over the North Island to attend this. The Te Rarawa people hosted them very well. There was a certain type of cooking that involved fire (ahi). This type of cooking was used so much to prepare kai for the visitors that the name Ahiparapara was used for this area. It stuck and replaced the name that used to be used, which was Whaaro. This must have been in the first part of the 1800s. Over time Ahiparapara became Ahipara.
- As told by Jye
Ahipara's first church and school were built in 1872 and the town of around 1000 supported several stores, post office and boarding house. In the 1950s the market for gum fell away and so did much of the population. The township is now a popular place to live and has around 1100 residents.
- As told by the Hammond family
The ancient name of Ahipara is waro. Waro refers to the old Maori way of measuring distance which consisted of lying face down on the ground marking out the land from one finger-tip to the other with one's arms outstretched. The name was given to the distance between the Ahipara cliffs and the sea shore.
- As told by Maiah
Whangatauatia was named after the wife of the Maori chief of Te Rarawa, Poroa whose name was Whangatauatia.
The tribe used to reside on Whangatauatia, where the fortresses enabled the tribe to see the enemy and everyone coming, they could see way up the beach and beyond.
War strategies were made from this maunga.
- As told by Te Paa Whanau
How Whangatauatia got its name: Years ago, there was a big battle near the mountain. One of the tribes won and was about to kill the other tribe's chief when a lady called Whangatauatia threw herself in front of the chief to stop him from killing her chief. He liked the courage of this young woman and made her his wife and named the maunga after her: Whangatauatia.
- As told by Samuel
Our maunga is called Whangatauatia. Whangatauatia was named after a chief's wife. Whangatauatia is the last resting place for the dead before their final journey to Spirits Bay. There used to be a tunnel that went through Whangatauatia.
Whangatauatia is a very tapu mountain, there is an old burial ground on Whangatauatia.
- As told by Destiny
The maunga in Ahipara has had three names. It has been called: Te Puke Whakaraup-a-Ha, Morehurehu, and also Whangatauatia.
The last name comes from a brave warrior woman who fought for Aupouri and threw herself on top of the dead body of her uncle Chief Te Kaka. Poroa was so impressed with her bravery that he married her and named the Ahipara maunga after her. That is why the maunga is called Whangatauatia.
- As told by Samantha
As a result of Poroa staying at the Pa on Whangatauatia, there are sayings relating to that mountain and the ancestor who stayed there. Today it is said:
Ko Whangatauatia te maunga - Whangatauatia is the mountain.
Ko Poroa te tupuna - Poroa is the ancestor.
Ko Karirikura te moana - Karirikura is the sea.
Ko Wharo te one - Wharo is the beach.
Ko Roma te marae - Roma is the marae.
Te Ohaki te Whare Tupuna - Te Ohaki is the ancestoral house.
- As told by Waimakere
At the back of Whangatauatia there are abandoned caves where old people were buried.
- As told by Maaka
Ninety Mile Beach/Te Oneroa a Tohe
Te One Roa a Tohe or Ninety Mile Beach is a source of food for the local people. Recently a pouwhenua was erected on our foreshore. It marks our traditional relationship with Te One Roa a Tohe and the spiritual and cultural values handed down by our ancestors.
- As told by Somer
The beach stretches from just west of Kaitaia towards Cape Reinga along the Aupouri Peninsula. The name Ninety Mile beach is a misnomer - it is actually 88km (55 miles) long. The reason for its name is unknown, although several theories exist.
- As told by Waimakere
Shipwreck Bay/Te Kohanga
Shipwreck Bay is named as a reminder of the many unfortunate ships which lost their battle with mother nature here.
Parts of one ship, 'The Favourite', can still be seen at low tide. These days Shipwreck Bay is renowned for great swell, attracting surfers from all over Northland.
In the past, Shipwreck Bay was the point where bullock teams would cart kauri gum gathered from the nearby gum fields and transported to Auckland.
- As told by Drheme
Shipwreck Bay isn't its real name. It's Te Kohanga - the nest, and that's where people stay. It's called Shipwreck Bay because a boat sank there.
- As told by Tristan
Shipwreck Bay was not always called Shipwreck Bay. It's real name is called Te Kohanga (the nest) because people thought it was a safe place to take children. Shipwreck just came from the wrecks that have turned up on the shore.
- As told by Angus
Lake Waimimiha is a special place because where the stream leaving the lake crosses the beach there are good tuatua, and at night often good flounder, and in the lake lots of good eels and mullet. Kai moana, yum!
- As told by Kate
Reef Point/Tauroa was named after something that happened. After the Tumoana canoe arrived, the young people wouldn't listen to the old people. The chief Toaaki took the old people back to Hawaiki, where they came from. For long years the young people waited for the kaumatua to return, So the place was named Tauroa - 'the long years'.
- As told by Mackenzie
Dalmation settlers made their living digging kauri gum. At their peak the gum fields supported 2,000 people, three hotels, and lots of shops. Bullock teams carted the gum to Shipwreck Bay, for ships to take to Auckland.
- As told by Leighton
The Ahipara gum fields supported 2,000 people and it also sold a lot of gum all over the world to make money.
- As told by Ella
From the 1800s -1950s Croations were migrating from Dalmatia , and Maori were losing much of their land. All were looking for work. They came together on the gum fields of the Far North, digging up kauri gum resin for export. Many intermarried and now form a unique community of their own.
- As told by the Hammond family
The Monument of Poroa
This monument is at Paripari on Ahipara's foreshore. It is of Poroa, a rangitira chief of Te Rarawa and he was known as a great peacemaker.
There is a plaque underneath that says: "This pouwhenua was erected by the people of Te Rarawa to mark our traditional relationship with Te Oneroa a Tohe as guardians of the spiritual and cultural values associated with the spirit pathways handed down by our ancestors for the benefit of us all."
- As told by Amber
There are two marae here, these are of great significance to the people. They are places where people come together for many different reasons. The marae are also special places where kaumatua and kuia share their knowledge and many stories from the past. A cultural identity is formed here by connecting with our ancestors and their origins.
- As told by Somer
Te Arai is a significant place near Ahipara. It is at the top of the Herekino Gorge. Maori people believe that this is where spirits rest on their way to Spirits Bay.
In recent times, Helen Clarke (ex Prime Minister) visited Te Arai after she had walked through the Herekino Forest.
Te Arai is part of the Te Araroa or the Long Pathway - a system of walks that extend along the length of New Zealand.
- As told by Brody
An ANZAC memorial is at the entrance to the rugby grounds to commemorate the soldiers that died in the war. These monuments are important because they relate to the past, present, and the future of who and what we are today.
- As told by Somer
The Story of the Ahipara Women's Fire Brigade
In 1963, three busloads of men were bused to Kaitaia to work. Their main jobs were to help build new state homes in Worth Street. They left the women and children at home with nobody to fight the fires. This is how the Ahipara Women's Fire Brigade was formed.
There were 15 women in the fire brigade. They were trained by an 18 year old, Rodger Beatson, and his dad, Garth Beatson, who was the Fire Chief. The women created a roster system to look after all of their children. Basically it was whoever was off duty would have to look after the children.
When the siren went off, the women would run or cycle to the fire brigade, get their uniforms on and hook up the trailers to the trucks. These trailers had hoses, pumps, generators and ladders on them and some of the women jumped on the trailers as well. As quick as a flash they were fighting the fire. They mainly fought scrub fires.
Women were involved in fire fighting up to 1974 when they disbanded. These brave ladies formed the first women's fire brigade in New Zealand.
- As told by Katrina
My great-nana was in the Ahipara Kapa Haka that won the competition in Waitangi in 1945. Ahipara's Kapa Haka team was the only group from Northland to ever win a national title.
My great-nana used to take Princess Te Puea fresh veges and milk when Princess Te Puea stayed at the old Berghan's house which still stands today opposite the toilets on Foreshore Road.
- As told by Te Ao Marama
Before Foreshore Road Was Built
In 1945 my poppa, Johnny Matthews, came to live in Ahipara in an army hut. Three army huts were built in sections and were purchased at the end of World War Two. There was no Foreshore Road at the time and the sections had to be carried from the beach through the lupine bushes and up the hill to where they were located.
The beach road ended at Tasman Heights and the school bus had to come along the beach and up the Gum Fields road to collect children that lived in the Gum Fields.
- As told by Christian
Why We Have the Houtaewa Challenge
E kore e mau i koe, he wae kai pakiaka - A foot accustomed to running over roots makes the speediest runner.
The legend: Te Houtaewa was the fastest runner of his day and played many pranks on his people's enemies. One morning his mother wanted kumara for the hangi (earth oven) and asked Te Houtaewa to go to the gardens at Te Kao, a short distance away. He agreed to fetch kumara and told his mother to prepare the hangi
Instead of going to the nearby gardens, Te Houtaewa set off for Ahipara as he wanted to annoy some Te Rarawa people who lived there. Carrying two large baskets for the kumara, he ran like a hare, completing the journey over the hard sands of TeOneroa (Ninety Mile Beach) in the few hours it takes a good hangi to heat up properly. On reaching Ahipara, he went straight to the people's kumara pataka (storehouse) situated at the foot of the hill Whangatauatia.
While Te Houtaewa was filling his baskets with kumara he was spotted stealing the kai (food). He was immediately recognised. "It is he, Te Houtaewa. Catch him, and we will make him a slave to work for us." Te Houtaewa stood up with one kete in each hand. Looking up he saw a line of people blocking his way to the beach. Quickly he ran the other way up the hill; the people, not knowing his intentions, ran after him.
As he ran, the blockade which had been formed against him was broken and the ranks were opened. So he turned and waited for the oncoming host. As his pursuers drew close, Te Houtaewa rushed past them back down the hill, sending them sprawling as he headed for the beach. Te Rarawa people were so astonished that they forgot to reform their barricade and before they could do anything to stop him, Te Houtaewa, still bearing his baskets of kumara had reached the beach and the road home.
Te Rarawa were very angry at being fooled by Te Houtaewa. They sent their best runners after him, calling on him to stop. But Te Houtaewa continued to speed along the hard sand, even though he was slowing down under his heavy load. "Yes, he must be tiring carrying those heavy baskets of kumara." his pursuers thought as two of their fastest runners seperated from the band and drew close to the wily thief.
Te Houtaewa put down his baskets of kumara and prepared again to face the enemy. On every occasion he outwitted his foe. When he reached home, Te Houtaewa found his mother waiting with the hangi ready. She did not know what her extraordinary son had been doing during the time he had been away.
- As told by Jo
Ahipara Boarding House
The boarding house was built by my great, great, great grandfather James Work Reid in 1865.
In those years the boarding house was used for guests who arrived on schooners from the ort of Auckland. The policy was safe arrival and departure, so guests were looked after and protected. The Rarawa tribe were guardians. The boarding house provided all meals and a safe place to stay.
The locals from the Far North district also holidayed at the boarding house (they arrived by horse and cart). There was no Foreshore Road then, so they traveled on the beach. The boarding house was built with kauri timber and was the only two storey building of its time. It had 10 bedrooms and a large dining room. In this room was a huge kauri table that was set with stiff starched tablecloths, silver cutlery, and English china.
- As told by Arli
Driving the Seaweed Truck
In 1956 my great grandfather Johnny Matthews was a driver for Kaitaia Transport. His favourite job was to drive around from Ahipara to the seaweed pickers to pick up their bales of agar seaweed.
Three families lived there permanently and when my poppa arrived they welcomed him with open arms, as very few vehicles came around there in those days. You had to be an experienced driver in the old days as they did not have the high-powered vehicles with 4 wheel drive like they have today.
Agar seaweed is a special kind - and mainly they had to go to the rocks at low tide and pluck it off the rocks, carry it back to the shanty where they lived, sort it, then dry it for a few days, so it was a big event when the truck was coming.
He would arrive with all sorts of supplies, timber, building materials, etc. they had ordered. The pickers always had a big feed ready for him, plus mussels, paua, and sometimes crayfish for him to take home.
The biggest load of agar seaweed he ever picked up from there was 22 1/2 wool bales which he would deliver to Awanui wharf to be shipped to Auckland to Davis Gelatine.
He became a close friend of those families, and still is today of the younger generation. The families were: Maria and Johnny Collings with their three young children, Michael, Robin, and Minnie; Tuku and Bert Boyce; Minnie and Tom Tuki; and the Ngawhaka family.
- As told by Terry
An Angel at Ahipara
A Christchurch man called Christopher Blake wrote a piece of music called 'Angel at Ahipara' which was inspired by a photograph taken out at Ahipara.
There is a tiny white church on a hill in Ahipara with a graveyard, and there is a gravestone with the name Emery Nopera on it and the day he died. Above this grave is a statue of an angel, and this is the angel that the music piece is written about.
This piece has been played by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The photo has also been used for the cover of an album by the Muttonbirds.
- As told by Amber
The Dalmations arrived in 1880 in New Zealand from what is now called Croatia. The Dalmations worked a lot in the gum fields in Northland and in Ahipara.
The word 'Tarara' means 'fast talkers' and is the name given by the Maori of the Far North to the Dalmations.
- As told by Amber
Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri
On many occasions battles were fought between these two tribes over seafood. When the chief Kaha was killed a war started with Te Rarawa and Ngapuhi joining forces to defeat Aupouri. To avoid furthe bloodshed, Te Rarawa chief Paroa drew a line in the sand saying Te Aupouri own the north of the line, Te Rarawa own the south of the line. This imaginary line gave peace to the area.
- As told by Samantha
We learn about the history and legends of Ahipara from local elderly people, both Maori and European.
Our historians are the elderly people who live in our community, our parents can tell us stories of our history or we can go look in the local museum or library at old articles or stories held there.
My friend Eddie lived in the Blue House when he was a little boy in about 1949. They would ride their horses to get to school, he would often be late. He and his brothers would have races, and if they fell off they would have to walk home. His Dad worked in the Gumfields. He would take a cart up to his Dad and give him supplies of food. His Dad would stay up and work for the week, and would come back on the weekend.
- As told by Kalani
In 1945 Mr. Wills was the headmaster. He was 6 foot 6 inches tall and could use the leather strap exceptionally well. Mr. Greensmith was another teacher and he was exceptionally strict - you would get a peach stick around your legs. My poppa Johnny respected the teachers exceptionally well.
- As told by Christian
A friend of ours who went to Ahipara School about 50 years ago told us that at the end of each term they had to clean the whole school, including toilets. They also had to clean their old wooden desks which were covered in ink stains. They used a piece of glass to scrape everything off.
- As told by Rebecca
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