Recollections by Nelson Rangi (Rangitakaiwaho)
The wisdom of age that characterises Masterton resident, kaumātua Nelson Rangi (Rangitakaiwaho), shines through his unique humour, grace and warmth. His recollections span nine decades, from early school years at Pirinoa and experiences as a young man working on south Wairarapa farms. Nelson vividly recalls hearing “barking eels” during the tuna heke at Onoke, a hangi in the 1940s that brought Māori and curious Pākehā together, and the former extent of the wetlands that spread inland to Kohunui Pā. Returning to Wairarapa in his later years, Nelson reflects upon changing social and environmental attitudes, and considers his identity as Māori—learning te reo Māori in his 80s and countering racism in the community.