Welcome - Haere Mai
Professor Tom Roa helped us with a traditional story that could be used to welcome people to the Environmental Research Institute Webpage. This story is about our region and about how the environment is fundamental to sustaining a vibrant healthy human population on Earth.
Nō ngā rā o nehe noa atu te kōrero mō te awa nei, mō Waikato, kāore anō kia puta te ira tangata. Tērā ia ko Maunga Taupiri, i pāngia ki tētehi mate nui. Tahuri ana ngā whakaaro ki tana tungāne ki a Maunga Tongariro, ka tukuna ai e ia tana karere, he mōkai kurī, mā te tungāne hei tuku he wai, e ora ai te tuahine. Ka tukuna mai, engari i tahuti kē ki kō o Hauraki. Nā te kurī i whiu kia haere tika mai ki a Taupiri. Nō te taenga mai ka whai ora ai a Taupiri, ā, ka tukuna te wai kia rere ki tōna pūaha, ki roto o Te Tai o Rehua. Nō reira he wairua, he whakaora, nōna nō Waikato, ka kiia ai e ngā tūpuna, mē he mate, 'Haria ki te wai!'
This story about the Waikato is from ancient times, before humans existed. Mount Taupiri became very unwell. Her thoughts turning to her brother Mount Tongariro for help, she sent her pet dog to him, for him to send some healing waters to succour her. The waters were duly dispatched, however the river began to go astray and headed for the Hauraki. The pet dog drove the waters back and they eventually arrived at Taupiri, bringing their healing powers to her. She then sent them on to Port Waikato, into the Tasman Sea. So there is a spirit of healing in the waters of the Waikato, and our old people say if someone is unwell, 'Take them to the water'.
Tainui kaumatua Tom Roa also gifted the Environmental Research Institute a ingoa Māori: Te Tumu Whakaora Taiao. It translates to “We are a place, a collective centre of activity, where we encourage others to work together and with us to restore and reinvigorate our environment.” This name draws inspiration from significant Tainui places. Te Tumu Korero, at the residential home of the Kiingitanga (Waahi Pa), and Te Tumu o Tainui, the final resting place of the Tainui waka in Kawhia.
This name is meaningful to us as our members support caring for our environment through our research.
Co-Directors Charles Lee and Tim Manukau
Charles Lee is an Associate Professor of microbial ecology and genomics, and Tim Manukau (Tainui) is a Senior Research Fellow, funded by the Waikato River Authority to support mātauranga, freshwater teaching and research.