Two beautiful korowai, representing the legacy and growth of kaupapa maaori, were presented to the St Paul’s Collegiate School Te Kaea prefects at a special Chapel Service.
The korowai were commissioned at the Matariki Service after being previously blessed by Kaumaatua Taki Turner. The prestigious cloaks, now part of the school’s taonga, will be worn by the two Te Kaea prefects on special occasions. This year’s prefects, Roimata Callaghan-Bristowe and James Milroy, were integral in the planning. Roimata says, “The korowai will create a lineage that demonstrates the continuous hard work to uphold Te Ao Maaori at St Paul’s.”
Each korowai is carefully and symbolically named; the yellow one is Te Kura Tuku Iho. Roimata says, “Kura (feathers) surround the beholder and make up the main part of the korowai. Tuku iho represents the very taonga (treasure) that this korowai is and that this kura is yet to make its own story. Tuku also means to descend or pass down, symbolising the passing down of this treasure to future generations of Te Kaea prefects.”
Roimata chose the colours of yellow and black which signify her tribal colours of Te Whaanau a Apanui and reflect the colours of St Paul’s. “This representation of the journey of leadership acknowledges the ancestor of Te Whaanau a Apanui, Apanui Ringamutu, as well as the adventure that is yet to arise.”
The black korowai is named Te Waotū-a-Murakareke, the colours represent the kereruu bird and it stands for Te Waotuu-nui-a-Taane which is the domain of Taane. James says, “The colours also represent my iwi Ngaai Tuuhoe. Murakareke is an ancestor who is well known for naming the forest where I come from ‘Te Urewera’ and is also an ancestor of the Tuuhoe people.” James also explained the significance of the cloak to those who have been to Tihoi. “It represents the journey that boys take at Tihoi where they are surrounded by kereruu and one day, the Tihoi graduate and bearer of the korowai will wear the colours of the kereruu in which they lived amongst at Tihoi.”
Roimata says, “The korowai are an embodiment of the continuously growing kaupapa Maaori at our kura as well as the lineage and legacy of Maaori prefects at St Paul’s Collegiate.”