Chantelle (Tui)

“I te taha o tōku koroua;
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Ōhako te marae
Ko Ngāti Ruapani te hapu
Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi

I te taha o tōku kuia;
Ko Makeo te maunga
Ko Waiaua te awa
Ko Mataatua te waka
Ko Waiaua te marae
Ko Mokomoko te whare tupuna
Ko Ngāti Patumoana te hapu
Ko Te Whakatōhea te iwi

Ko Tui tōku ingoa, nā Riki Manuel tōku kauae tehe i tā mokohia.”

As a descendant of Ngāti Porou and Te Whakatōhea, my artist Riki Manuel put koru in each part of my kauae tehe to represent where I come from. The mangopare pointing down represents that I am the youngest of five siblings.

Many people know what I have, to be a moko kauae. The traditional name for it is a tā moko, however I was told by Pāpā Riki to call it a kauae tehe; woman with chin moko. 

I’m the first in my family for a few generations to bring this taonga back. For my mum, the Māoritanga wasn’t really around as it was a time when it was knocked out of them. 

My mum put my two sisters and me into Kōhanga Reo when I was six months old. Back then you had to have a Māori name, so my Dad gave me the name Tui. Ever since then everyone knows me by the name Tui.

After kura, I went to University to study Māori and Indigenous studies for half a year and then went straight into teaching Kapa Haka in mainstream schools around Christchurch, which is what I’m still doing to this day. If it wasn’t for my parents, I don’t know where I’d be, to be honest. If I’d still be connected to my Māoritanga. So for that, I am forever grateful.

My kauae tehe was revealed on Matariki, the reason being why I wanted it then was it’s a time of rebirth, of turning a new page, and a time for everyone to be around each other. Just before sunrise, a lot of my close friends and whānau gathered at Ōhikaparuparu – the river mouth in New Brighton where we done a pure – a pure is like a baptism. For the middle of winter, it was one of the warmest days we could ask for. The sunrise was so beautiful. Tamanui-te-rā really put it on for us. 

After the pure my closest friends and whānau came with me to receive my kauae tehe, as it was a small space I couldn’t have everyone there, however with it being a time of whakawhanaungatanga, we met back up with everyone after for a big kai tahi, songs and speeches.

It’s interesting walking around and getting different kinds of looks but to have people interested when this had been suppressed for so long is the coolest feeling.

One of our school kids – she is about eight years old – said, ‘it’s like it’s always been there.’ That’s what some of my friends say too; that I’ve always worn it, and now other people can see it.”


– Chantelle (Tui)

Charity registration number: CC57701