FEATURED: Whakapapa

Whakapapa (Māori pronunciation: [ˈfakapapa]), is a fundamental principle that permeates the whole of Māori culture. It is a paradigm of cultural discourse and provides the basis for establishing, enhancing, and even challenging relationships between individuals, whanau (families), hapū (local tribal entities) and iwi (regional tribal bodies)

My iwi – Ngāti Kahungunu

Ngati Kahungunu means ‘descendants of Kahungunu ‘ (a famous chief who lived mostly in what is now called the Hawke’s Bay region).
Ngāti Kahungunu trace descent from the Tākitimu canoe. Ruawharo, a senior tohunga (priest; expert in traditional lore; person skilled in specific activity; healer) on the canoe, settled at Te Māhia.
The legend is told that Tākitimu left Hawaiki because of a quarrel over gardens named ‘Tawarunga’ and ‘Tawararo’, and that the canoe was built at a place named Whāngārā. The commander was Tamatea-arikinui and the canoe landed at Tauranga, where Tamatea disembarked. Others then took it to the East Coast landing and left settlers at several places, including the Waiapu River, Ūawa (Tolaga Bay), Tūranganui (Gisborne), Nukutaurua (Māhia), Te Wairoa, the Mōhaka River and Pōrangahau. Tamatea later went overland to Māhia and Tūranganui, naming various places as he proceeded.

My Maori people come from the Mahia peninsula. The Ruawharo marae is located in Ōpoutama, Māhia. Its principal hapū are Ngāti Tama and Rongomaiwahine of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.

Ruawharo(picture complements of google earth)

Ruawharo gave the name Te Māhia to the peninsula because it resembled a part of his tribe’s original homeland, Te Māhia-mai-tawhiti (the sound heard from a distance).
Ngāti Kahungunu are New Zealand’s third largest tribal group. Stretching down the North Island from the Māhia Peninsula to Cape Palliser, their territory is divided into three districts: Wairoa, Heretaunga and Wairarapa. (ref)

I’ve had a yearning for some years to visit the marae. I have no particular reason. All I know is I need to go there.
I have no plans to meet my natural father or siblings. I have been told my father lives in Napier. I have never met him and I understand his wife and my 1/2 siblings have not been told about me. I find it hard to believe that in such a small and close-knit community, someone hasn’t let the baby out of the bag.

The story of Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine
Kahungunu had heard reports of Rongomaiwahine’s beauty and high birth, but when he arrived at Nukutaurua, on the Māhia Peninsula, he found that she was already married to Tamatakutai. In an attempt to impress her people, he gathered enormous quantities of fern root, tied them into bundles with vines, and rolled them down a hill. Such were the quantities that it became like a landslide, blocking the doors of the house.
Kahungunu then went up onto a hill and watched the karoro (shags) diving. He practised holding his breath, counting ‘pepe tahi, pepe rua, pepe toru …’ (count one, count two, count three . . .) until the birds reappeared. Then Kahungunu went diving, holding his breath for as long as the shags had done. He filled several baskets with enough pāua (a type of shellfish) for all the occupants of the village. When he surfaced from his final dive, he had covered his chest with pāua, and everyone was very impressed. The hill has since been named Puke Karoro.
Having gained the approval of Rongomaiwahine’s people, Kahungunu set out to create discord between Rongomaiwahine and her husband Tamatakutai. One night he surreptitiously broke wind near the sleeping couple, causing an argument between them. In the morning Kahungunu joined Tamatakutai in the sport of surfing in a canoe. After several trips Kahungunu took over the steering, and capsized it on a particularly large wave. Tamatakutai fell out and, unable to swim, was drowned.
Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine marry
One day Kahungunu asked Rongomaiwahine to dress his hair for him. As she was fastening his topknot, the tie broke. Kahungunu took from his plaited belt some flax that had been grown at Kawhainui, near Tauranga. After softening the flax in water, Rongomaiwahine used it to tie his topknot. Kahungunu then stood up, and facing north said:
“E te pūtiki wharanui o Tamatea i mahue atu rā i runga o Tauranga.”
Here is the binding broad-leaved flax of Tamatea that was left at Tauranga.

It was from this remark that Rongomaiwahine and her people finally knew the true identity of Kahungunu, and he became her permanent husband. They settled at Maungakāhia, their pā at Māhia, where Kahungunu eventually died.
Many of Rongomaiwahine’s descendants on the Māhia Peninsula identify themselves as Ngāti Rongomaiwahine rather than as Ngāti Kahungunu: they believe her to be of superior lineage. (source – http://www.teara.govt.nz)

Mahia(picture complements of google earth)

I’m off to New Zealand in a few weeks to connect with my Whakapapa. I sent off a letter requesting permission to visit the marae this week and apart from booking our flight, have made no other plans and will wing it when we get there.
Poor MM (my man) is coming along for the ride but seems a little anxious. I didn’t realise how anxious until he said “So what am I suppose to do while you’re away in a wigwam for god knows how many days smoking the silly pipe with your ancestors? Are they like, head hunters there?” Gee honey, we need to get you out of Brisbane. Firstly, we are going to New Zealand not a Cherokee reservation in America. Secondly, It’s not the 1800’s. I think they might prefer MacDonald hamburgers to MacDonald the local white farmer. Just don’t look at anyone and you’ll be right. (That’s my little wicked sense of humour having a lend of him. Maybe I’ll let him stare at his boots for the first day before telling him I was joking)

Rangitane song welcoming expatriates back home

Original Article: http://fluidicthought.com/2015/11/06/whakapapa/

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FEATURED: LONDON UNDERGROUND: Getting deep under the skin of the UK’s capital – #Halfeatenmind News

(c) Londonist

VIJAY SHAH via Londonist

A major city, a former industrial metropolis, with a population of eight million, London has become famous for its high-rise buildings filling the air. The Shard, the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, it is a hangglider’s veritable nightmare. But less of a thought is given to the city’s growth in the opposite direction. Famed for its Underground trains, many of which run deep below the busy roads, homes, offices and tourist attractions of the city, London has plenty of other subterranean secrets too, as explored recently by local online magazine Londonist.

The clay and soil beneath London’s mean streets are home to a bewildering number of tunnels, obsolete Tube stations, bunkers and basements of all sorts. It is pretty much a subterranean maze below Londoners’ feet, and enough to rival the mass of roads, walkways and cycle paths above ground. The average London sewer is only four feet under our feet, while the Lee Tunnel, which runs under East Ham and Stratford in east London and stores and runs out effluent and sewage from the Abbey Mills Pumping Station, is the deepest at around 60-70 metres. There is even a mail rail for letters used by Royal Mail which moves parcels and birthday cards around unhindered at a depth of 21 metres. Probably too much for Postman Pat. His cat would turn out completely black from all the soot, we reckon.

Other down-below surprises include deep-level emergency shelters (30m down), the London Power Tunnels, which help keep the capital’s electricity flowing at 35m, and the new Crossrail service, which chugs around happily at a depth of 25 metres. The city is also home to secret tunnels, underground passageways and bunkers, many built by the government during the war years. Add to that the forty or so disused Underground stations such as Down Street, Aldwych and others, some which may be converted into underground shopping centres if plans get the go-ahead.

Sadly, as much as London is a city of firsts, the deepest human-made structure is not directly underneath your local boozer or primary school. If you consider true depth, then that accolade goes to the SG-3 borehole in Russia, part of the greater Kola Superdeep borehole. SG-3 was excavated by the Soviets in the far eastern Kola peninsula between 1970-1989 in a test to see how far humans could go beneath the surface.

Londonist writer and illustrator Matt Brown has produced a special infographic with a distinct city vibe, that visually explains the different underground features, and has also assembled an informative guide to many of these earthly delights, featuring Wikipedia articles, official websites and the magazine’s own exclusive video ‘Secrets’ of many of London’s grandest tunnels. You can view all these at the Londonist article in the Sources section of this blogpost.

SOURCES:
Londonist, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Londonist-18658326042/?fref=ts
“How Deep Does London Go?” – Matt Brown (M@), Londonist/Londonist Ltd. (27 October 2015) http://londonist.com/2015/10/how-deep-does-london-go?utm_content=buffer158a2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#
“Kola Superdeep Borehole” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole
IMAGE CREDIT:
“How Deep Does London Go?” – Matt Brown (M@), Londonist/Londonist Ltd. (27 October 2015) http://londonist.com/2015/10/how-deep-does-london-go?utm_content=buffer158a2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#
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Original Article: https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/london-underground-getting-deep-under-the-skin-of-the-uks-capital/

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FEATURED: ‘ Power Plant Secrets Found During Daily Mail Run ‘

Originally Posted on November 2, 2012:

Mid-July of my fourth summer as a summer help at the Coal-Fired Power Plant in North Central Oklahoma in 1982, Stanley Elmore came back from the office area while I was working fixing a flat tire in the garage. He shook his head as in disbelief… which was Stanley’s normal way of saying that he either had some interesting news to tell you, or that he was playing a joke on you and was about to set you up for something. He told me that I was one lucky person. I had been chosen to do the Mail Run each morning for the rest of the summer.

What this meant was that each morning about 8:30 I would drive the Plant Manager’s pickup truck to Red Rock about 5 miles away to get the mail from our Post Office Box there. From there I would drive to Morrison, 23 miles away to go to the Post Office to pick up the plant mail at our box there, and then to the Morrison Bank to cash checks for Petty Cash and make any other transactions that were needed at the plant. After that, I would drive the 17 miles back to the plant. This 45 mile journey along with the stops each day lasted about an hour.

This meant 1 hour each day, I wasn’t chopping weeds, or picking up rocks, or emptying the trash from the cans at the park, or fixin’ flats. I was driving a company truck from place-to-place running errands. As a Catholic, this gave me time to say all three sets of Mysteries of the Rosary (there were only three sets at that time) each day while on the job. A month and a half later when I became a janitor, it was decided that I would keep delivering and picking up the mail each day. Which suited me fine. I enjoyed the drive, and after I became a janitor, Pat Braden told me how to take the back road (County Road 170) from Red Rock to Highway 64 on the way to Morrison, which was a pleasant drive through the countryside.

After a couple of weeks of doing the Mail Run, it was decided that I could also be used to make runs to Oklahoma City once each week for the Warehouse to pick up parts at various locations throughout the Metro area. I was proud that I was being trusted to do this while still being a summer help. I was given a booklet of POs (Purchase Orders), which I found out was like a book of blank checks from the Electric Company that gladdened the hearts of vendors when they looked at me warily while they asked me how I was going to pay for the parts I was picking up. They would gleefully reply, “Oh! You have a book of PO’s from the Electric Company!”

I was 21 years old at the time and had a Commercial Chauffeur’s license, but I looked closer to 16. So, vendors were surprised to see that I was carrying the cherished book of POs for the Electric Company. To them it was better than cash. With it, I could have a vendor load a $20,000 item onto the back of the flatbed truck by signing a slip of paper, tearing it out of the booklet and handing it to them. I was honored that the company trusted me with this job.

This was a long time before GPS systems were in cars, so I relied on Dick Dale and Mike Gibbs to give me directions and tell me the most efficient routes around Oklahoma City to go to the various stops on my route. These trips also took me to various plants in the area. I was able to go to the Power Plant north of Mustang on the West side of Oklahoma City

Mustang Gas Fired Power Plant opened in 1950

and the plant at Horseshoe Pond (or was it a Lake?) on the East side of town.

Horseshoe Lake Power Plant Turbine Room in 1924

I even made a trip to Konawa once to the Power Plant there.

Seminole Power Plant at night outside of Konawa Oklahoma. This picture was found at: http://www.redbubble.com/people/harrietrn/works/1425122-seminole-power-plant

But enough about my own enjoyment. I know you really want to hear about the secrets I learned. They aren’t really secrets as much as they were insights or observations. You see, each morning I would go to the front office before I left to take lunch orders from Linda Shiever, Joan Wheatley and sometimes from Linda Dallas and Carolyn Olbert.

Linda Shiever

Linda Shiever

They would have me stop by the diner in Morrison to pick up an order for lunch. I would stop by the diner on the way into Morrison and give them their order, then on the way back out of town, I would pick it up. Then I would have to smell the aromatic food the rest of the way back to the plant.

While waiting for Linda and Joan to decide whether they wanted the Chicken Fried Steak, or the Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, I would stand there listening to the conversations that were taking place in the front office. Having grown up around my mom’s Italian family in Kansas City, I had learned to listen to 3 or more conversations simultaneously while pretending not to be paying attention to any one of them.

So, I could hear the plotting and scheming coming from Jack Ballard’s office each morning. He was the head of HR. He was usually trying to figure out how to implement the latest dictate coming from the Plant Manager. So, he would be throwing out suggestions about how to go about them. This used to stick in my craw, because nothing enraged me more at that time than to have management treat their employees in an underhanded way. I had my reasons for the rage that I felt, and maybe I’ll go into those some time in a later post.

One particular topic I remember was when Jack Ballard was trying to figure out how to keep employees from taking any time off for Christmas. Eldon Waugh (or did it come from Corporate Headquarters? Yeah… right), had an edict that no one could take vacation around Christmas because if they did, they would probably leave town, and if they did that, and the plant had an emergency, then there wouldn’t be enough people available to call.

I didn’t understand that reasoning, since OD McGaha had spent almost his entire life within a 3 county radius around the plant. Sonny Karcher would be right down the road decorating a little Christmas Tree in his front lawn. Actually, most everyone would just like to stay home and spend some quiet time with their family. If some of us wanted to take a trip to go visit family, well. So Be It.

This was before I had realized the full extent that Eldon went to make life miserable for his worker bees (see the Post “A Halloween Power Plant Election Story” for a more complete understanding of “Worker Bees”). Eldon (or was it Corporate Headquarters) had already declared that no one was able to use vacation the last two weeks of the year.

So, what was the problem? The problem was that we had something called, “Floating Holiday”. It used to be used for Good Friday in the earlier days, but then later was changed to one Floating Holiday, which meant that you could take it any time throughout the year. This included some time during the last two weeks of the year since it wasn’t “technically” vacation. Which was once too often for the Plant Manager and Jack Ballard (the head of Human Resources at the plant).

I guess that either they didn’t think that the employees would buy the idea that Corporate Headquarters would make a rule that said you couldn’t take your floating holiday around the time of a real holiday (Christmas), so they had to come up with a way to keep the employees from even having one extra day during those last two weeks, in case we would get it in our heads to drive to Oklahoma City to do some Christmas shopping. So something had to be done about it.

Luckily (or maybe not so luckily), Linda Shiever was taking her sweet time that day coming up with the money to pay for her lunch so that I was able to hear a good 5 minutes of the conversation between Jack Ballard, Sharon Lance and Linda Dallas as they brainstormed a way to prevent the atrocious act of worker bees thinking they should have more than the one or two days allotted them for the Yuletide season.

You see… Vacation usually had to be scheduled well in advance, so a frugal, hardworking Power Plant Man will naturally save his floating holiday for an emergency. Just in case something comes up and they have to take an unplanned day off (or he has to go save his wife from their burning house and the plant manager won’t let him use black time — oh. That wasn’t this Plant Manager). So, when it came down to the end of the year, and the floating holiday was still floating out there waiting to be taken, then the Power Plant Man would take it during the last 2 weeks of the year rather than lose it altogether. This just made sense. So, Jack had to come up with a solution that prevented this. (This was a number of years before vacation was allowed to carry over for the first 3 months of the following year).

The final solution was that Corporate Headquarters would come up with a Policy that said that the Floating Holiday had to be used first before vacation could be used. — No. I’m not kidding. That way the Floating Holiday would not be available at the end of the year. I heard this being formulated from the mouth of Jack Ballard. Once he said it, it was like a window in the ceiling of his office opened up overhead and a ray of sunshine shown down on his desk and you could hear angels singing, “aahhhhhhhh”. They knew they had found their solution.

I think this policy lasted a couple of years before someone forgot that they had made it, and things were back to normal. It just fascinated me to hear how easily this band of vacation time bandits could manipulate the employee’s benefits on a whim. This type of time thievery (as I alluded to above) enraged me.

Time Bandits

Those of us that were at the plant during that time know to what end this group finally met their fate. I will discuss it in much greater detail in a later post that involves someone that the plant employees referred to as “The Snitch” (See the post: “Power Plant Snitch“). This story about the Floating Holiday is just a minor prelude of things to come in the following years.

On a more humorous note:

One morning when I went into the Plant Manager’s office to pick up the Pickup Truck Key, Bill Moler, the Assistant Plant Manager, entered the office with a big grin on his face and said that he finally found out why Indian Electric kept sending us an electric bill. Of course, Bill wasn’t paying the bill. Why would one Electric Company pay another electric company, just because they kept sending them a bill?

The answer came when the electricians had traced the sudden loss of electric power to the street lights in the Park areas on the south side of the lake. The power had been disconnected at the electric pole. The fuses had been removed. Upon further inspection, it was found that the electric poles did not belong to this Electric Company, it belonged to Indian Electric. They had turned off the electricity because our Electric Company had failed to pay their Electric Bill!

That is a funny irony that was not lost on Bill Moler. He was laughing about it all morning. An electric company that had their power cut off because they failed to pay their electric bill. How embarrassing is that?

Other interesting things happened on my trips to the Post Office and the Morrison Bank. Each morning I would arrive at the Morrison Bank just as they were opening at 9:00. One bank teller would be telling the other bank teller about her new boyfriend (around September). This later turned into a fiancee (in October). Then for a couple of months she would be discussing the impending wedding that was going to take place at the end of the year.

Cool Panoramic view of Morrison Oklahoma. Click this picture to see a blow up of it. Click the Back button to return to this page

Naturally at the end of the year, the bank teller was missing as she was on her honeymoon for a couple of weeks. I think it was a Carnival Cruise or a trip to Branson to go to Silver Dollar City (No. That was someone else. I wish I could put a smiley face here). Anyway. A couple of weeks after the New Year the bank teller returned, and as I followed them into the bank (as I did every morning), the one bank teller asked the newly married bank teller how everything went. The newlywed teller said that her new husband decided after about a week that he didn’t like being married so they decided to get a divorce.

Ok. I have to smile when I think about that one. There must be a punchline to a joke here somewhere. Like how many times does an Okie get married over Christmas? More times than they can take vacation…. Or something like that.

Original Article: https://powerplantmen.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/power-plant-secrets-found-during-daily-mail-run-2/

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