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Te Tangi o te Poraka – The frogs’ song.

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In Cram, F., Hutchings, J., & Smith, J. (Eds.), Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua: Māori housing realities and aspirations. Bridget Williams Books., , 217-232

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This chapter explores the journey of the Matekuare whānau of Ngāti Whare-Tūhoe, affectionately known as ‘the frogs’, in re-establishing their papakāinga at Tāwhitiwhiti.

The narrative documents the family’s profound connection to their ancestral land, which was compromised in the 1930s when it was taken over by the Māori Trustee and subjected to environmental degradation, including the draining of Poukura Lake. The chapter highlights the enduring impacts of colonisation on land ownership and the subsequent social and economic challenges faced by the Ngāti Whare whānau, particularly in the model village of Minginui established post-World War II. The restoration of Tāwhitiwhiti and the reclaimed Poukura Lakes symbolises not only environmental rejuvenation but also the reinvigoration cultural and spiritual ties of the whānau to their whenua. The authors detail the community’s efforts in wetland restoration, the return of the native frog population as a sign of ecological health, and plans for sustainable housing development as part of their broader vision for a rejuvenated homeland. Through communal agriculture and involvement in the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, the Matekuare whānau’s story is presented as a beacon of resilience, hope, and forward-looking action in the face of historical dispossession and ongoing challenges. This chapter underscores the intrinsic link between the health of the land and the well-being of its people, and how these foundational elements are critical to the realisation of Māori housing aspirations.

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