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Poropiti

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
This was the text on the red ribbon marker placed in the pages of the Ringatū covenant1 in the time of Rua Kēnana Hepetipa.
Shepherd and sheep are symbolic in many ways in relation to Rua. He was the theosophical shepherd, the Mihaia (Messiah) of his sheep, the Ihiraira (Israelites) at Maungapōhatu.
There were literally 357 sheep2 sold (amongst many other things) in order to fund the defence of the illegal arrest of Rua (and others) in the infamous raid on Maungapōhatu, 1916. Members of Ihiraira, through lack of employment alternatives, worked as labourers on dispossessed Tūhoe land under control of Pākehā, land both purchased and confiscated, upon which sheep grazed.
There are the metaphorical sheep, the flocks of Pākehā whose responses were hysterical and hostilie to any incidents involving property, and any attempts by Māori for sovereignty and autonomy.
Rua the political shepherd by unique means and methods, devoted his pacifist life to the restitution of land for his people. Such was his devotion he prophesised to return by resurrection three days after his death. His prophecy was figurative, an assurance to his flock that God their shepherd, who seemed to have abandoned the Tūhoe people, would return and the people be restored to the land3.

1 Binney, Judith Mary Caroline., Chaplin, Gillian., Craig Wallace. 'Mihaia: the Prohet Rua Kenana and His Community at Maugapohatu'. Wellington, Bridget Williams Books 2011:126
2 ibid. 2011:88
3 Elsmore, Bronwyn., 'Like Them That Dream – The Maori and the Old Testament'. Auckland, Reed Books 2000:188

Poropiti
in Te Urewera Conversations
Whakatāne Museum & Gallery, Te Whare Taonga o te rohe o Whakatāne
Boon Street, Whakatāne
24 November 2013 - 19 January 2014


Te Urewera Conversations exhibition information
Whakatāne Museum & Gallery, Te Whare Taonga o te rohe o Whakatāne
Boon Street, Whakatāne
24 November 2013 - 19 January 2014

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