Two very important women inspired Tanemahuta and Teakaraupo Pakeha-Heke when they wrote and performed ‘E Tū Whānau’, the song that won third place in the Rangatahi section of the 2019 E Tū Whānau Song Competition.
One inspiration for the song was their mother, Talla Pakeha, who died nine years ago. She and her boys had all experienced domestic violence. The other was Tania Mataki, a well-known advocate for all in the Ōtautahi rohe and a staunch supporter of the E Tū Whānau kaupapa. Tania passed away 18 months ago.
Healing from the trauma of their mother’s death was a long journey for the boys and their whole whānau, a journey helped by the aroha and awhi of Tania and her husband Daniel.
“They surrounded us with awhi and showed us that it was always ok for us to talk to them about it,” says Tanemahuta.
“We wrote this song in memory of Whaea Tania.”
It was written under the kaupapa of Tupono Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau, a strategy for stopping violence developed by Ngai Tahi. Their song is about about empowering tamariki and rangatahi to stand up and say, “No more violence, we are your children”.
“That’s something we, as Twin Harmony have been doing throughout Aotearoa since the age of 10,” says Tanemahuta
Under the guardianship of their nana, the twins have dealt openly by speaking publicly about the trauma of domestic violence. They’re recognised as role models for other rangatahi, winning awards for their steadfast commitment to ending domestic violence and inter-generational healing.
“We hope that our song will encourage other tamariki to speak out on the effects of witnessing and experiencing violence in their homes.”
The heartfelt kupu that the 14-year-old twins chose to express their determination to end domestic violence in their whanau are simple:
“No more violence.
We are your children.
No more violence.
Listen to the children.”
This is the fourth year we have held the E Tū Whānau song competition. It is based on the idea that no matter how big or small, we can all make a difference and be responsible for creating positive change within our whānau, hapū, iwi and community.
Entrants are invited to write an original song inspiring positive change, and incorporating one or more of E Tū Whānau’s values; Aroha, Whanaungatanga, Whakapapa, Mana/Manaaki, Kōrero Awhi, and Tikanga. You can read more about the E Tū Whānau kaupapa here.