Tukau Legacy Clothing derives from the wisdom of our tupuna who signed He Whakaputanga - the Declaration of Independence in 1835, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi - the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti were both resounding declarations of the chiefs, to the world, that hapu and rangatira authority would continue in force. The legacy for descendants is to hold fast to our rangatiratanga, that is, our capacity to lead our own lives in accordance with our own tikanga.
KO MATOU KO NGA TINO RANGATIRA
Ko matou ko nga tino rangatira – We are the sovereign chiefs
In 1835, when our tupuna signed He Whakaputanga, it was hapu and their rangatira that had the paramount authority over the land. This authority was represented in He Whakaputanga by the words “Ko matou ko nga tino rangatira”. The chiefs were saying, “we are the ultimate chiefs of this land, therefore the sovereignty of it lies within us, not anyone else”. Today, we seek confidence and strength in the foresight of our tupuna to protect our ability to govern ourselves and our lands.
HE WHENUA RANGATIRA
He whenua rangatira – Our sovereign lands
This phrase has different meanings. In the context of He Whakaputanga, it represents a declaration by the chiefs that they had the ultimate chieftainship over their lands. It also denotes the underlying ancestral, spiritual, strategic and economic significance of the land. To us, our whenua represented sustenance, wellbeing and prosperity for all. This endures today, hence the phrase “He whenua rangatira”.
MANA I TE WHENUA
Mana I te whenua – Authority from land
Many interpret the phrase “Mana I te whenua” in He Whakaputanga as “our authority for these lands.” Your rights and obligations to the land come from your mana I te whenua. The ultimate authority and responsibility belongs to the hapu with mana I te whenua. These words, along with tikanga, survive to remind us that we must use the land in ways that provide for and sustain our current and future generations.
TE TINO RANGATIRATANGA 1840
Te tino rangatiratanga 1840 – The authority to make and enforce laws.
When our tupuna signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi with the British Crown on 6 February 1840, the agreement guaranteed to them, and us as their descendants, our Te Tino Rangatiratanga. Tino Rangatiratanga is an authority akin to sovereignty and involves self-determination and the right to make and enforce laws. The legacy to us today is to hold fast to te mana o Te Tiriti and our rights that are guaranteed under the sacred document.
Tangata Whenua – Nga tangata whai mana ki te whenua
He Whakaputanga, and Te Tiriti were assertions of the mana, rangatiratanga and independence of those who signed, to ensure that no foreign law or government could be imposed on them. Chiefly authority and rangatiratanga was theirs to exercise as tangata whenua.
TAONGA TUKU IHO
Taonga tuku iho – Divine gifts from our tupuna
Our tupuna intended for us to receive taonga, and they protected our taonga under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Taonga enhance our experience in this world and the lives that we live. Children are “Taonga tuku iho” – divine gifts from our tupuna. Our responsibility is to care for and nuture our children. We give them our best, so they can do their best, hence the saying “Taonga tuku iho”.
1835. 1840 NGA KAWENATA TAPU
Erima Henare describes he Whakaputanga me te Tiriti as "nga kawenata tapu" or sacred covenants - "here ki te rangi, here ki te whenua".
By the he Whakaputanga of 1835 the rangatira declared that these were sovereign lands, he whenua rangatira, that they were sovereign cheifs , ko matou ko nga tino rangatira, that they have authority from the land and to the land, mana i te whenua and that no other person had the authority to make and enforce laws over their lands and people.
Te Tiriti of 1840 was a resounding declaration of the chiefs, to the world, that hapu and rangatira authority would continue.
KIA MAU PU TE RONGO 1835
While our rangatira were determined by meritocracy and their capacity to lead in the realm of Tumatauenga, they were also peace makers, and responsible for the maintenance of harmony. "kia mau pu te rongo" in he Whakaputanga was a declaration by the rangatira that under their authority they would maintain peace.
The preamble of te Tiriti reads: kia mau tonu hoki te rongo ki a ratou me te atanoho hoki". Patu Hohepa speaks of "atanoho" as the continued desire of the rangatira to maintain peace and tranquillity over our land.
The legacy for descendants as embodied in he Whakaputanga me te Tiriti is to hold fast to our mana and rangatiratanga, that is to lead our own lives in accordance with our own tikanga.