Ngāti Rānana just before a TV performance in the UK called Songs of The Maori, which was presented by New Zealand actress Barbara Ewing.(Standing, from left) Timoti Karetu, Lindsay Hounsell, Hemi Wiremu, Tom Russell, Freer Crawford, Gavin Clark (a TV director), and Barbara Ewing. (Kneeling) Margaret Smith, Marie Morehu, Louie Tawhai, Phyllis Komene.
TE HĪTORI O NGĀTI RĀNANA
The history of Ngāti Rānana
In 1958 a group of fellow travellers would meet once a week at Putney Pa to exchange London experiences, to share news from home and to korero Maori while learning the latest action song (sic), poi or haka from home. The group’s first engagement was with NZ House, assisting the Public Relations Officer in hosting his guests one evening.
Meeting people from other countries became the prime motivation to embrace all peoples into the group regardless of race, creed or colour, their wish being to learn Maori culture.
In Dec 1958 the group represented NZ at the annual International Dance Festival at the Royal Albert Hall with an audience of 5000. And being given the Green Room as a dressing room, were the VIP group of the concert. And so the Maori Group came of age that day in Dec 1958.
Sixty years later these groups of dancers continue to meet at Cecil Sharp House in Regents Park and Ngati Ranana continues to share their annual concert.
In 1969 the Cinema in NZ House became the club Marae, a Constitution was drawn up and the group became Ngati Ranana.
The uniqueness of Ngati Ranana is that whilst it does have a strong kapa haka teaching/learning role, it remains a purely voluntary, non-political, non-profit making cultural group - a global whanau in a non-Maori environment - an outpost 2,000 miles from Aotearoa and therefore having to rely mainly on its own resources.
Another aspect of Ngati Ranana is that it offers two-way comfort of family (Whanaungatanga),
and caring (Manaakitanga)
Firstly Ngati Ranana does have a whānau that is resident in London and they do have turangawaewae rights that should be respected. At the same time they benefit from the wealth of knowledge and teaching that new arrivals bring with them which commands respect too.
Therefore transient members benefit from having a ‘home away from home in London; whilst the whānau in London benefit from the knowledge of te reo and taha Māori that our young travellers bring with them.
Club tikanga, kawa, mauri and Mana... are of paramount importance and members would benefit from frequent Wananga.