"Kua whakatuuria e ahau teenei kaupapa hei whaangai i te pouaru, te pani me te rawakore, he kuaha whaanui kua puare ki te puna tangata me te puna kai"
- Kiingi Taawhiao"I have instituted this gathering to feed the widowed, the bereaved and the destitute, it is a doorway that has been opened to the multitudes of people and the bounty of food"
This saying by King Tawhiao in 1884 to start the Poukai at Whatiwhatihoe in March 1885 and later spread throughout the region, including Okapu Marae.
Tawhiao hoped it would encourage people to return to the home marae at least once a year. Poukai means to feed the people, and so it is on this day people are fed, entertained and a forum opened up for those who would not otherwise have an occassion to speak in the presence of the Maori King. It gives an opportunity for the King to be made aware of the local issues pertaining to Aotea Harbour by the local tangata whenua.
Every year Okapu Marae holds its Poukai on the 14th of March and it is indeed the one time of the year where our people return home to gather and support the kaupapa. We recently celebrated our 100 year Poukai, providing traditionally prepared patiki (flounder) and mango maroke (dried shark), kaanga wai (rotten or water corn) and many other delicacies from the past.
Below is some video footage of past Poukai held at Okapu Marae. Hopefully it would give you a sense of the atmosphere and tradition of the annual Poukai.
Copyright Moana Rahui o Aotea