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12 Mahuru (September) 2010

"Me mate ururoa, kei mate wheke."
Die like an octopus or a hammerhead shark.
This week's whakatauki was explained by Te Kāhautu Maxwell nō Te Whakatōhea

Joe Potangaroa has a keen interest in the life span, and more importantly, the conservation of eels. After seeing a stuffed eel on his daughters school trip, he was inspired to study the fish. As a result, with the assistance of the Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Rangitane o Wairarapa, he published Tuna Kuwharuwharu - The Longfin Eel.

Not only does the book feature facts about the longfin eel, as part of his research Joe talked to local Kaumatua who told him some of their childhood memories about tuna in the Wairarapa region, which are also shared in the book.

"Those eels up the Kaiwhata (river) were scary looking things, they were huge with big horns on the front of their heads. We used to be too scared to get in the water." - interview with Mere Kerehi 2001.

Joe Potangaroa talks to Maraea Rakuraku about the local purākau (Māori stories) about tuna in the area, and with extensive knowledge of the local history, he explains how Eketahuna got its name.

Wairukuruku Maere, nō Tainui waka, was honoured at this year Te Waka Toi awards (Creative New Zealand), as one of the recipients of the Taa Kingi tohu for her outstanding contribution to her community in the Hawkes Bay in which she has lived for 80 years.

At 91 years old she volunteers at the local health services in Bridge Pa, enjoys playing the ukulele, and recalls her time spent jet skiing in Utah! Justine Murray spent a morning with Wairukuruku she shared some of her memories including how she got her name.