Some descendants believe Tūhoe's goal for self-determination will be a major challenge.
Paki Nikora from Ngāti Rongo says, “They say self-determination lies with the tribe. But to me, there are two issues, self-determination of sub-tribes and self-determination of tribes as a whole. Which one takes precedence?”
Te Uru Taumatua (TUT) is the governing body for the tribe and is responsible for managing the tribe's assets. TUT Chairman Tamati Kruger says the tribe wants to take over welfare payments, schools, healthcare and housing within its tribal area from Whakatāne south to Lake Waikaremoana.
Merehake Waaka from Ngāti Tawhaki says, “My message for descendants living outside of the Tūhoe region, you need to get involved with issues regarding your hapū and contribute ideas through that avenue because they have the authority.”
At this festival, there has also been a strong push for the retention of the tribe's dialect.
“Those who raise their whānau in their language, their children will grow up surrounded with something beautiful and wonderful. Perhaps this is what's needed to retain our language,” says Taiarahia Black (Ngāti Koura, Tūhoe).
In the past, Tūhoe self-determination may have only been a dream but today the hope is it will become a reality.
Mere Mclean has performed at the festival for over 20 years and she spoke to Rahia Timutimu this afternoon about the final results.