Why does the Tupuna have to be female?

When Hapu claim their tupuna to be a male, we can never be sure that that particular tupuna is authentic to the region because they could be a traveller passing through.As one can appreciate, when a mother gives birth to her child or children, we know that regardless of their gender, male and female, they belong to that region and therefore hold the mana whenua as hereditary right passed down by their bloodline.

As the girl grows up, she is likely to remain within her territory and never leave the homestead. If she is to take a husband, it will most likely be from within the Hapu or to a travelling visitor looking to expand his genealogy.

As the boy grows up, he is more likely to  venture out into other territories and make offspring with wives of other Hapu, expanding his heritage and namesake.

In respect to both scenario’s, it is obvious that the girl, now a woman in her own right, holds the mana to the whenua because she has resided from whence she was born. The boy, now a man in his own right, holds the mana to the whenua if he remains within this region of birth. If he ventures beyond his region of birth, he now takes with him only his mana of his bloodline, mana-tangata.

If the chosen tupuna is male, we must then question, was he a travelling visitor to a foreign region, where he made family with a wife and laid claim of mana to that region because of his union to that woman. In this case, we are unable to accept a male as the preferred tupuna because he does not hold mana to the whenua, rather than, as above, he holds mana-tangata. We can not accept mana-tangata as an authority to the whenua.

If the chosen tupuna is a male who remained within the region of his birth, then we can accept that he holds mana-whenua as well as mana-tangata. We can not accept this male as a tupuna for selection because his inherent mana-whenua is passed down to him through his mother line as the resident mana. Because his mana is derived from his mother, it is once the woman (the man’s mum) who holds the mana ki te whenua and it is her who should be the chosen tupuna. From our experiences with setting up authenticating Hapu, it is the woman who holds the mana ki te whenua and it is the female that we must recognise as the chieftain line and find it difficult to recognise the male as such.


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