Te Waikoropūpū Springs
Te Waikoropūpū Springs
Te Waikoropūpū Springs was a very special place to visit on our list, en route to Collingwood. Not far from the main road we entered the car and this was what greeted us, the most lovely information ‘station’ yet. Richly coloured Māori carvings, a big green touchstone and beautiful glass panels. This blog is from the Māori spiritual angle.
The sacred, clear, fresh waters of Te Waikoropūpū are said to be healing waters, used by tōhunga around the motu in ceremonies.
The carvings on the Pou – posts, of this wharenui represent many significant wahine figures in Māori mythology, interwoven with their own respected wāhine toa – women of strength and leadership. The legends and roles of wahine have been depicted in the Te Ao Māori – the beautiful Papatūānuku the earth mother; Hine Ahu One the first mother of the land; Hine Titama the dawn maiden; Hine Nui Te Pō the great lady of the night; Hine Tū Ahoanga kaitiaki of Mōhua and of sandstone; Hine Huriawa kaitiaki taniwha of Te Waikoropūpū; Hine Waikoropūpū the keeper of all springs water; Hine Te Iwaiwa kaitiaki of birth and rebirth; Hine Pūkohurangi the great ancestress of all states of water; Hine Kōrako the keeper of springs and water; Hine Mania kaitiaki of the river plains; Hine Moana kaitiaki of the tides; Matariki representing the Māori New Year; and the sisters Raukatauri and Raukatamea, kaitiaki of music, games and dancing.
The kaitaikitanga – guardianship, of Te Waikoropūpū is a taonga tuku ihi – a treasure from these ancestors, passed down from generation to generation,to protect and ensure that the matauranga – knowledge and legends, and ahora – love, of the sacred place is not lost.
The green kōhatu – stone, in the centre of the wharenui symbolises the Mana and Kaitiaki role of Manawhenua Ki Mōhua and was sourced from the Awa of the sacred Parapara maunga. Green is the symbolic female colour and relates to the pounamu of Te Tai Poutini. Pounamu is a stone of significant for Te Waikoropūpū. At the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Manawhenua Iwi controlled the Pounamu – greenstone Trials and to this day they control Mōhua. Pounamu is the opposite of sandstone. Sandstone is seen as an enemy of pounamu because it can grind pounamu down. Yet grinding pounamu reveals its inner beauty. In a parallel way, water has worn away the subterranean world of passages that lead to and from Te Waikoropūpū Springs.
The Legend of Kokowai: Kokowai, the tapu red stone, is located on Parapara maunga – Parapara Peak in Mōhua – Golden Bay. It is said that when Ranginui – Sky Father and Papatūānuku – Earth Mother were separated by Tāne and his brothers, Ranginui’s arms and wrists were torn. The blood from his wounds dripped down onto Papatūānuku and this formed kokowai. Tāne created the first woman Hine Ahu One out of this sacred stone, and she became known as the first Mother of the land.
Kokowai was seen as the protector stone, ground up and mixed with oil to become deep red paint and used to cover and protect buildings, clothing and people. It is a source highly prized by chiefs and tohunga for its sacred red-ochre colour and used in special ceremonies. The bloodthirsty taniwha, Te Kaiwhakaruaki, was assigned to protect and guard the kokowai that is found in the Parapara inlet and Parapara maunga. Te Kaiwhakaruaki was defeated when warriors scared him by throwing a red stain of ground kokowai over the water then killing him with their weapons.
Te Waikoropūpū Springs Wai Ora – Water of Life.
Life cannot survive without wai – water. For Manawhenua Ki Mōhua, water is the source of all life and the waterways carry the lifeblood of the land. Manawhenua iwi believe that all things including people are descendants from ngā atua kaitiaki – the spiritual guardians and therefore have their own mauri or life-force. The atua kaitiaki are at the centre of all iwi relationships. These guardians are responsible for all aspects of life, including the health and wellbeing of the people. The interrelationship of Māori mythology, the natural world and ngā tangata Māori are intertwined through whakapapa – genealogy and reflects the spiritual connection between Te Waikoropūpū and Manawhenua. The waters of Te Waikoropūpū represent the lifeblood of Papatūānuku – Earth Mother and the tears of Ranginui – Sky Father.
Pūpū ake te whenua
Pūpū aka ko nga wairoa waikoropupu
Ngā puna wai o Takaka
Ngā puna roimata wairua
Bubbling waters from the throat of the spring Bubbling waters from the throat of the spring
Forever bubbling from the land
Forever bubbling for the health of the people and the spring waters
The spring waters of Takaka
The tears of the spirit ancestors
Bubbling waters from the throat of the spring. Bubbling waters from the throat of the spring
The Sacred Home of Huriawa.
Kia tupato ki a Huriawa! – Be mindful of Huriawa!
Kia rangimarie ki a koutou katoa ki tenei Wahi Tapu – Be peaceful in this sacred place.
To Manawhenua Ki Mōhua, Te Waikoropūpū Springs is the playground of the kaitiaki taniwha or protective guardian ‘Huriawa’. Why is Te Waikoropūpū so sacred? The catchments and waterways of Te Waikoropūpū stretch for miles both underground and far out into Te Tai Tapu – Golden Bay. The underground caverns are made of sandstone. This is the domain of Hine Tū Ahoanga – the ancestress of stone, who also presides over the prow of the Waka Uruāo of the great explorer Rākaihautu, which was placed ceremoniously at the mouth of the Waitapu River, once named Ngā Waitapu o Uruāo.
Rākaihautu called forth Huriawa the kaitiaki taniwha – protective guardian from her resting place on Parapara Maunga. Huriawa is well known for her bravery, her wisdom and her gentle nature, and she was placed to guard and protect the prow of the waka and be caretaker of the myriad of waterways.
Huriawa uses her special powers to dive deep into the land and sea to clear the many underwater caverns made of sandstone. Atop the land she tosses fallen trees and tangled vegetation from rivers to free the flow. She warns of earthquake danger when Ruaumoko turns Papatūānuku, by sending messages through the surge and lift of the waters. Huriawa travels out to sea where the clear waters rise up and bubble at the surface. She reaches all the waters touched by sandstone and travels to the deepest caverns in the very centre of the waka. Huriawa’s children rest here and help care for the place while the taniwha is off on her protective travels.
The Māori “See the springs as part of the wider system of the Takaka River catchment – everything from the underground source to the sea, all the small tributaries and all the springs that bubble up into the ocean. Because the physical and the spiritual are inseparable, the health of the whole system reflects the well-being of our community”.
The spiritual and physical survival of all things is dependent on the maintenance of the mauri – life force, wairua – spirit, mana – power and tapu – sacredness of wai. Water has different qualities and Te Waikoropūpū Springs falls into the category of wai ora – water of life.
Wai Ora is the purest form of freshwater. It gives and sustains life, can rejuvenate damaged mauri – life force and counteract evil. The waters of Te Waikoropūpū were used by tūpuna – ancestors for cleansing and spiritual healing.
“We view the springs and the tracks leading to them as marae. There is respect and ceremony around visiting this place. It is part of our tradition that we take forward into the future to maintain the continuity of life”.
Ka hikoi tatou ki whakapono me te Aroha ki te rangimere – May you journey with Faith, Peace and Love.
ALL IN ALL A VERY SACRED PLACE TO VISIT
YOU CAN FEEL YOU ARE IN A SPECIAL PLACE