Waka Huia 2016 Tipene Rangihuna  how martial arts and Māori culture can save your life.


Tūmatauenga (God of War) is me
and I am Tūmatauenga. ‘The gardens of Tū (God of War)
and Rongo (God of Peace) – if you are struck by one
you have a peaceful death, if you are struck by the other
you suffer a bloody death.’ My father was Tiwana Rangihuna but I don’t really remember him. What I do remember is my brothers telling me
that our father had passed away. They told me that he had fallen
down a mountain. He went to buy a goat. The tree was here
the goat was there. He went to catch the goat,
the tree broke and he fell. He fell down to the river
and hit his head on the rocks. He died three days later. I remember him lying in state. That’s the only
memory I have of him. From then on
life was hard. Mary Rose Brooking
was my mum. There were 15 of us.
She raised us on her own. She’d ensure we were
on the right track. My mum told me I was mischief. But my older siblings
took me under their wing. She’d say things once. If you didn’t listen
you wouldn’t be fed. You’d be strapped
or hit with a stick. You weren’t to tell fibs. You must be truthful. You weren’t to talk back like my kids do today.
Goodness me. I joined the army I learnt about
military operations. I went to the
army office and enlisted. I followed in the
footsteps of my uncles who joined the Māori Battalion. They went overseas to fight. I knew deep down
I wanted to join as they did. I travelled to Singapore. We trained there
to fight in Vietnam. One night at 10pm
our Sergeant Major called us into line
on the parade ground. We were happy, we were off
to Vietnam the next day. We stood there.
The Sergeant Major called: ‘Attention!’ We stood there,
proud of ourselves. This time tomorrow we’d be off. Then the Sergeant Major said to us: We threw our
guns on the ground. Some even urinated
on the parade ground Afterwards, many got drunk
and smoked marijuana. I was fortunate enough to be the pupil
of a Japanese man. In 1970, I met a karate master. His name was Hideo Kame. As soon as I met him
I stayed with him. I followed in his footsteps
learning karate and I continue to
practice karate today. I learnt about the many
elements of Tūmatauenga. It was invigorating. My older siblings would knock me
around when we were growing up: ‘One day I’ll get you back.’
I thought as I was getting beaten. I didn’t learn karate
to hurt people. My thinking had changed by then. Hideo always reminded me
to remain calm. Sometimes that
isn’t easy for Māori. But I observed Hideo Kame. I asked him: ‘What’s the difference
between karate and boxing? He said to me:
‘There is no difference. Both fighting styles
stances begin here. Boxers move forward but karate fighters
stay in one place. As they age,
boxers stop practising. For karate fighters
it is a lifelong endeavour. I asked him: ‘Why isn’t karate
part of the Olympics?’ He only had one
thing to say about that: ‘The victor will receive a gold medal
the loser will receive a silver coffin.’ You just needed to look at him
to know he was an expert. I returned home and
acquired my black belt in 1975. This is my daughter
Te Ama-Rere Tai and her partner
Pitiera Tiopira. I have three families;
this is the third family. In the first family; my partner was a Mumu
from Kakariki on the East Coast. We had three children. Then I gazed over the fence and the grass
was greener on the other side. So I jumped the fence
and married into the Winitana family. We also had three children. Then I saw another fence
and looked over and I jumped here underneath the
skirt of this Kahungunu. Now I’m locked down.
I can’t jump around anymore. It might come back
to bite me in the butt. Now there are grandchildren
going around saying: ‘That’s my granddad.’ ‘No, that’s my granddad.’ I’m surprised my first and second
wives haven’t plotted to kill me yet. My fair-headed daughter,
Te Ara Ripeka, She is truly Hinekairākau
(Goddess of Weaponry). Tūmatauenga is me and I am Tūmatauenga. Richie Luke from
Waiwhetū visited me. He asked me to be part of
the Kōhanga Reo movement. I asked him:
‘Who are the teachers?’ ‘A Tūhoe, a Waikato
and one from the wider Tainui area.’ I asked: ‘Where are the
Ngāti Porou teachers? I don’t want my children there
if there are no Ngāti Porou teachers.’ Then the old man said to me: ‘One day
Ngāti Porou will teach in the movement.’ So I took my kids to Kōhanga Reo. I became the first male
to teach in Kōhanga Reo. In 1984 I went to the Sacred Island of Tinirau,
Mokoia Island to learn Māori weaponry
under Mita Hikairo Mohi. I didn’t go there
to learn Māori weaponry exactly. I actually went to support five of
our boys from our Kōhanga Reo who were of age to start school. We were in Rotorua when Mita Mohi came to get us. We were taken to Mokoia,
The Sacred Island of Tinirau. Mita’s nature, if you put him
next to my Japanese tutor their hearts would be the same. I joined the Māori weaponry academy. Mita said to me:
‘You can help out the cooks or you can pick up a weapon.
It’s your choice.’ I thought: ‘What if these boys
end up going back to Waiwhetū? Who will help them? So I picked up a weapon. Mita was a leader
a true leader. He conducted weaponry
seminars all over the country from Te Oneroa a Tōhe
(90 Mile Beach) to Murihiku (Southland). We travelled together. I channel Mita all the time; along with the teachings he shared. He’d say: ‘These teachings aren’t our own.
They have been handed down. If you can’t perform a task.
don’t expect somebody else to do it.’ Exponent in warfare expert in weaponry. To liberate my mind
I ride my horse. We gallop together as one.
Our spirits let loose. They are set free. The wind blows on my face. Not a care in the world,
my spirit is free. I practise karate, Māori weaponry
and steel weapons. I must change my mindset each
time so I don’t injure myself. I need to focus on the
particular art I’m practising. My daughter Lizzy
is an equestrian competitor. It’s me and my horse
against the world, with our spirits running wild. My heart is liberated,
I don’t have a care in the world as the wind blows on my face. I have appeared on TV shows
and movies such as Toa o Aotearoa, 10,000 BC and The Last Samurai. When I spoke to them
on the phone they asked: ‘Do you have a bridle and a saddle?
Do you have a horse?’ If not, you’re wasting our time.
We don’t have a role for you.’ ‘Oh hang on! I can ride a horse
without a bridle and saddle.’ ‘OK. You’re in.’ Through my ups and downs my horse is my dear friend. I think back to my first family when my son Buster passed away. He was only 16. That was the most
painful thing in my life. He was a good boy
with a soft nature. My son passed
away in a car accident. When my son passed away the pain remained with me
like a stab wound. I am not one to feel pain but when he passed there was no
greater pain in my heart. I’ve been diagnosed
with prostate cancer. It is irremovable. I vow that I will keep
fighting no matter what. I remember visiting the doctor
the news wasn’t good. ‘You have prostate cancer.’ The main thing is
that I’m still alive. My brother died from
this type of cancer also. The doctor said to me: ‘It will be fine
they know where the cancer is.’ I went back to Palmerston North for a second operation. But they were unable
to remove the cancer. They said to me: ‘You can go home after a week-long stay in here.’ After two days, I discharged
myself and went home with my stitches still intact. I still rode my horse
and I still did my work. I came home on a Thursday and I went back to work
on Tuesday. Those boys are prisoners. Some are confident others are quiet. But no matter what
I do not judge them. One only has one arm. They practice Māori weaponry even the man with one arm. He said to me:
‘Oh, I’m a bit embarrassed.’ I said: ‘Don’t be embarrassed. The main thing
is that you are still alive.’ The times I went out drinking
was a waste of my time. I was once in a place like this. Therefore, I cannot
judge these men. I was like them. But I changed. So I give all my love
to lift them to a higher place so that they can stand proud
when they go back to their families. There is nothing better
than the Māori way of doing things. The Māori influence. Although tribes have
their own beliefs I believe that incorporating
a Māori influence uplifts people. Even those who
have been in the wrong or have fallen into darkness. That’s the secret a Māori
influence and a prayer Support is imperative.
Family, tribal and sub-tribal support. I pass on my knowledge to my children
and others who cross my path. I help people. ‘The gardens of Tū and Rongo. if you are struck by one
you have a peaceful death. if you are struck by the other
you suffer a bloody death.’

5 thoughts on “Waka Huia 2016 Tipene Rangihuna how martial arts and Māori culture can save your life.

  1. An inspirational story, cancer is the scourge of modern society. The time Tipene spent in our world will persist forever as time is eternal. God bless.

  2. After watching this I thought, this gentleman is inspirational and a true treasure to this world.
    Would have been a amazing person to meet.
    Much Respect.

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