Tom Allan provides this story from his personal recollection of the conversation with Menehia Tahana (also known as Menzies).
Many years ago, I was listening to Uncle Menehia Tahana speaking at the Matihetihe marae. As one day I hoped to aspire to become a great orator (I am still waiting). I asked Menehia, “E Matua, how did you start to whaikorero?”
“Well,” Menehia said “it was like this. I asked the same question of Takou Kamira. I was about twenty two years old at that time.”
“Takou said, ‘You will know when the time is right, because when you stand to speak, the knowledge of your tupuna will enter the base of your spine and exit from your mouth.'”
“A few months later there was a hui at the marae and I thought, ‘Aha … time to stand up and speak.’ I stood up and opened my mouth ready for the words to come forth. I looked around the whare and everyone was looking at me but no words came out of my mouth.”
“For about eight years I stood up to speak at the marae and nothing. People would say to my father Moa Tahana, ‘whats wrong the that boy of yours? Is he gone in the head or something?'”
“Then low and behold one day words just came flowing out and I haven’t stopped since. Takou was right but I didn’t think it would take so long.”