Mixed Thoughts

I had written a whole post about another kaupapa (topic) before I wrote this and then I got really angry when I saw something on TV which made me want to talk about respect. Then I heard some other korero from a couple who were one of the first whanau to find out that their son had passed away as a result of the earthquake. SO! So many thoughts going through my mind at the moment…
koru hand painted rocks
Words such as healing past, respect, whanau, death and grief all coming to mind at this time…Perhaps I will leave speaking about those things for future posts…
But for now I honour life and birth and wish my sister a happy birthday!! She turns 40 today and this day is even more special because she just gave birth to my niece last night at 7.59pm! So a special day for all our whanau.
It seems like only yesterday that we were kids and she was trying to lock me in the wardrobe and was pulling faces at me around the corner. Time flies and before we know it we’ve grown up (hopefully) and we’re adults! My sister and I had our fair share of sibling rivalry when we were young, but at some point in our lives we do have to grow up and heal those relationships to fully embrace life and live. Ra whanau ki a koe sis, ka nui te aroha ki a koe…

Community

A short post from me today but an important one about community. I’m overwhelmed at the amount of support coming in to Otautahi from the rest of Aotearoa and around the world but I love seeing how the community of Otautahi have rallied together to clean up, feed themselves, help each other and rebuild their lives.
koru hand painted rocks
I listened to Mark Soloman this morning on Marae speak about the importance of community as has Bob Parker the mayor of Otautahi (who I think should be Prime Minister!!) and it is times like this when community is most important.
It’s easy for me to talk about this from the comfort of my own home, miles away from where all the action is but its hard to disconnect yourself from this. Aotearoa is a small country, when something as major as this happens, the whole community is affected.
But community is important even before disaster strikes so why does it take a disaster before people actually realise the importance of community? That beneath race and religion and all those things that distinguish us from one another, we are all human and if we were to work together every day in our communities, imagine what could be achieved? Not as easy as it sounds but worth thinking about…
I think this is why this rock today is a burst of colour! Seven colours in total! And I’m not into the habit of painting flowers or painting in this way but this is how it came out! This stone is also a very rough stone with lots of texture…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo x
PS – I know there are a few of my FB friends and whanau in Chch at this time, would love to hear from them about what has been happening out in their communities…aroha x

Sacred Geometry

I’ve been trying to think of a way of describing my kohatu and the depth of their meaning for me. Last night at Pecha Kucha a woman came up to me and said, “I love your rocks, they are sacred geometry.” I almost jumped out of my chair (well actually I was sitting on the floor as I do lol) These words rang so true for me…
A lot of people look at what I do and say how much they love the Maori designs and I have to say now that my art, my paintings, anything that I create is not Maori art. I am inspired by nature, people, places and events just like my ancestors were but the symbols and markings that I make on my rocks are universal, they are not drawn on to the rock, they come out as I am painting. Yes the koru or spiral features in my work but this symbol for me is not just Maori, it is universal.
koru hand painted rock
When I was young, I was often lost in watching clouds float by in the sky, I would lay on the earth looking into the sky to see what shapes I could see. I used to wonder in the bush alone and make my home there, being with nature and the many life-forms and shapes around me. I see koru in water, in many parts of nature as I imagine other people do.
Someone asked me last night, “what kind of masking tape do you use?” I had a bit of a giggle to myself and thought what a cute question! If I used masking tape, I tell you now that it would be a disaster and I probably wouldn’t create the work that I do if I used it. To be honest, if I was to use masking tape, its because I don’t trust myself. I can draw and paint a straighter line free-hand than I can with a ruler – believe me I’ve tried!! And the one time that I tried drawing my design on to the rock before painting it, that was a disaster too!!!
I am not a trained artist or photographer and I am so glad that I never studied within four walls in an institution because I feel that would have hindered my creativity. I value education and I think it is important but creativity, art and anything that feeds our spirit needs to be uninhibited and free…
This rock is full of life and colour. It reminds me of the beautiful aboriginal art that tells stories of land and environment. We were talking about aboriginal artists last night to a woman living in Queensland who had come home to Gisborne to look after her mother, so perhaps inspired by this korero but also my anticipation for when I will be in Brisbane in June. The lines that I have created on the rock are combined with the markings made by nature. It is so easy to just paint over them but this time I wanted to leave them there…

Today’s rock is for Lina whose birthday it is today. Lina lives just around the corner from us and do you think that we have actually visited her yet? No! So now I have no excuse, I have to deliver this special kohatu to her today! Ra whanau ki a koe e hoa, great to see you last night. Arohanui, Jo x

Calm

This rock took me ten minutes to paint. It just came out and before I knew it, it was over. As I was painting it, it reminded me of the calm after the storm. It was very soothing and healing to paint which is perhaps why it just came out the way it did. It was good for me because I’ve been quite emotional over the past few days with what has happened down in Otautahi and feeling so grateful at the same time for everything I have. A very meditative and soothing kohatu.
koru hand painted rocks
I spoke at Pecha Kucha tonight and it was so lovely to share this rock a day project with everyone there. There were about 200 people which was fantastic for a small city like Gisborne!!! And the Dome Cinema is such an awesome venue and of course they run a pretty cool outfit there too. I had some wonderful feedback and I gave a rock away that I painted on the 18th of Feb to a woman who was sitting right next door to us who knew a family who had lost a child that was born on the 18th of Feb. So a very special gift for that whanau…
I love this rock. I know when the designs, colours and korero come out straight away, that this is a special rock…And the rocks are are all special because they come from the land and carry the mauri or energy of the land.
And this rock today is for Noeline and her husband who celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary but they’ve actually been together for 25 years! How cool is that?!
The colours of this rock are digeridoo brown, buffalo brown and purple. And I photographed this rock in amongst the daisies! Making daisy chains is a favourite pastime of mine, but also not that long ago when I was living in Opunake I used to purposely grow my grass long so that I could lie in amongst the daisies and dandelions and take photographs…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tumanako – Hope

It’s two days after the earthquake and I can’t help but base my korero around this.
As I write this, the rain is pelting down outside here in Gisborne and I think about the need for water in Otautahi, but at the same time I am so glad that it is not raining there at the moment…I can only ask that the elements hold off and allow rescue and recovery to take place so that people can either take their loved ones home or send them off in peace…
I have plenty of water here and all I want to do is send it down the line because the need there is so much more. The water that we have running out of the tap is SO precious and every time I turn the tap on I am reminded of this limited resource.
koru hand painted rocks
The rain also reminds me of Ranginui’s tears for Papatuanuku, his love for her being expressed, mourning their separation…and I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I believe this is Papatuanuku warning that if we continue to deplete our earth’s resources and disrespect mother nature this will continue…
Right now, I treasure and value all that I have and am grateful that I have my family, my friends and a roof over my head…and as my dear friend Marcia in Arizona has said moments ago in a comment on yesterday’s rock, “…hope is our way of looking at the future when we want a positive outcome. Love is our way of acting now to insure that evolution.” Thanks Marcia.
Much love and peace for our earth and our people.
Arohanui,
jo x

Te Wai Pounamu

It is the day after the earthquake and I’ve seen so many things today; loss of life, destruction, grief, but also hope. I don’t think there is anyone in Aotearoa who doesn’t know someone in Christchurch at this time and I can only say that our thoughts are with all especially those who have lost loved ones or still wait for news and hope that they are alive.
This rock is for hope, hope for the future and that we are resilient enough to get through this. There is overwhelming support from all around the world which has shown the strength of human nature to band together in times of need. We have seen proof that this is possible.
koru hand painted rock
The days and months ahead will be tough ones and the journey to rebuild lives will continue on for years. One thing is for sure, people will never forget, especially those that experienced first hand the full impact of mother nature’s power.
I use Te Wai Pounamu our Maori word for the South Island because it reminds us of how special this land is, how special this whenua is that we call home. And although we may not have felt the earthquake in other parts of the country we are all feeling the pain, the grief, the fear and the uncertainty of the people in Christchurch at this time. But we are a strong breed of people and will rise again from this event. Te Wai Pounamu – the healing waters of greenstone, will continue to flow…
Much aroha, peace and healing to all at this time,
Jo x

Ruaumoko

I don’t know what to say other than much aroha and thoughts of hope to all those in Christchurch at this time. I’m watching the news on TV and am seeing total devastation and loss of life that has come about as a result of this earthquake.
Mother nature is ruthless and I can’t help but think we have done this, human nature has done this and now Papatuanuku is responding.
koru hand painted rocks
When will be wake up people? When will we wake up?

When will we humans realise that we can no longer be disrespecting our earth?
When will we realise that drilling into Papatuanuku is one of the most cruelist acts of violence and disrespect? What fills that hole once the oil is taken? What stops the blood from flowing out of her? If we are constantly depleting our earth’s resources and injecting poison into the earth would this not produce a reaction?
I’m angry at human nature, at all of us and feeling sad for all those in Chch for what has happened.

What do we need to do to make people understand? Human life has been taken…I’m listening to media on TV say that the earthquake has ripped the heart out of Chch. We humans have also ripped the heart out of Papatuanuku.
Mother nature will always have the last say and if we humans think that we are in control, we better take a look at what is happening in the world and do something about it.
And this WILL continue people, this WILL continue…so we MUST MUST MUST change our ways…

Rangatahi

This rock is for my niece Robyn Erana who turned 19 today!! Her and my other niece Rexina just left this morning after spending the last few days with us here in Gizzy. It was so nice to spend time with them, to talk about life and have a good laugh!
koru hand painted rock
I’m so proud of my nieces – they have grown into beautiful young women who are caring and thoughtful. I see that they have learnt to appreciate the things that they have and their life experiences thus far have instilled a certain resilience that enables them to live the best way they know how. They have endured so much already in their lives and I honour them for that…
And Robyn, I remember when you were born and on your first birthday – you were so cute and beautiful!! And you’re still beautiful darling! I hope you’ve had a wonderful relaxing day after the drive home to Rotorua – I know your sister drives fast lol I’ll see you again soon! Arohanui, Aunty xx
And for everyone else, hei taua wā ano!
Jo x

Evolution

I decided to title this post “evolution” because this rock painting in its short lifespan has evolved into something different than what I originally thought was going to be the finish! So beneath the white paint is a totally different design! But thinking about this for my rocks and how they evolve and change over time has prompted me to write about whats been on my mind today! Evolution – what does this mean?
koru hand painted rocks
I’m still unsure about what my stance is on evolution, I don’t fully understand it either but I will probably contradict everything I say by the end of this post! Perhaps my whakaaro, my thoughts are still evolving!

But I wonder about our culture for example and how we’ve evolved over the years although we still hold strong to our tikanga, our values (or do we?) but is there a time when these change also? And does holding on to the things that we identify as being Maori actually stop us from progressing forward or does being strong in our tikanga actually help us to evolve? Its a bit of a different head space for me being analytical about all this but it has been very strong in my thoughts today!
And what of colonisation? Has colonisation affected how we as a people have evolved? And if reclaiming who we are as Maori can provide us with a positive pathway forward, is this evolution? I’ve heard many views from Maori and non-Maori about what evolution means to them and it’s probably a baited question for a lot of people but I’m open to hear what people think!
So these are not answers, just questions that I’ve had floating around in my head today! Its kind of random I know, but hey – I’m random sometimes!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Te Arawa e iiiiii e! Te Arawa e iiiiii e! Ko te whakaariki, ko te whakaariki, aaaa tukua mai kia piri tukua mai kia tata kia eke mai ki runga ki te paepae poto a Houmaitawhiti…Te Matarae – ka nui taku mihi kia koutou!!! Otira ki koutou i tu kaha i runga atamira. Kua puawai a Ngai Maori i nga rangi nei!! A big mihi to my Te Arawa iwi, to Te Matarae for their massive performance and to all of us as Maori who celebrated many many positive things about being Maori over the last few days!!

Milestone

It’s Day 50 – yay!! I think that my rock of the day kaupapa is well and truly in my psyche now! Lets see what it will be like at day 150, day 200 and day 365! – I think I’ll have to have a ROCK party at the end of it all!
So its a short post from me today as I head out the door to Reggaelution with my nieces who think their Aunty is SO cool, they want to go out with me lol And they’re trying to dress me up!! But I’ve got news for them -ha!
koru hand painted rocks
I painted my rock for today at Te Matatini and its a continuation of yesterday’s circles. I’m really liking them…It is also a reflection of all the Te Arawa teams that performed today and honours my grandmother, Arai te uru who is from Te Arawa, Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao…
I watched our wahine Maori on stage today and was in awe at the beauty and inner strength of these beautiful wahine! Again very grounding and feeling proud to be Maori!
Ma te wa – until then
Jo x

Simplicity

Day 2 of Te Matatini is over! Another wonderful day to be taking in some of Aotearoa’s finest kapahaka performers. Other than the amazing performances, I’m loving running into people I haven’t seen for ages and whanau who have come over from Taranaki – Yay Ria and Tamzyn, awesome to see you!! And – am looking forward to seeing all my whanaunga from Te Arawa on stage apopo…Te Arawa e!
The weather was kind of crazy though, one minute its hot as and then next minute its pouring with rain!! So if you’re coming tomorrow, be prepared!
koru hand painted rock
So I’m loving todays rock of the day! It took me 10 minutes to paint – very simple, but simple for me is beautiful. Often we forget the simple things and yet they are the most profound and meaningful. And this concentric circle form although simple has meaning that extends far and wide…
Koina taku mo tenei wa – that’s all from me for today!
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo 🙂

Te Matatini o te Ra

Kua pou te hau! I’m writing this late at night, very tired after a long day although its a good tired where I feel like I have achieved something. There was a lot of walking and meeting people on the way but the most exciting thing for me today was seeing heaps of Maori converge on Waiohika estate for what I believe to be the largest gathering of Maori in the world!
It happens every two years, Te Matatini o te Ra is Aotearoa’s ultimate in Maori performing arts where you will see and “feel” Maori culture expressed in a uniquely “Maori” way.
koru hand painted rocks
I was totally captivated today taking in the atmosphere and feeling very proud to be Maori. When the first roopu took the stage and started their performance, I got that warm fuzzy feeling inside, totally feeling the spirit of our people coming through in the waiata, it moved me to tears. It made me realise how special we Maori are and SO talented!
I haven’t been to many of these in the past but am SO glad I’m experiencing it this year…just to be around so many of your own people is such a special thing.
Other than the performances on stage, there are so many other things happening around the place. And one of the most important things for me for this festival is that the event is alcohol-free, drug-free and smoke-free and totally a whanau affair!
Need to catch some zzzzzs now but just want to finish by giving a big mihi to our two Taranaki roopu (groups) who performed today – i tu kaha koutou i te rangi nei! You all did us proud and I’m sure that our tupuna are smiling…
And am looking forward to watching my Te Arawa whanau on Saturday!
Po marie,
Jo x
PS – I had to find an alternative light source again this evening so what better place than in front of the bubbling algae…

Te Hunga Ririki

Day 46 – Te Hunga Ririki
Today’s rock is for Kiana who turns 5 today! Don’t you just love tamariki – they are so honest and in the moment! I’m posting some kōrero today that was shared via one of my rocks of the day by Tracey who is Kiana’s mum. Tracey and I used to go to school together not so long ago!!! My very first rock of the day for this year was given to Tracey and here is her response after receiving the rock in the mail…
koru hand painted rock
“Well I received my rock today much to my daughter’s delight, she sat in the back of the car talking to the rock and then gave it a big kiss, nö reira Jo, kei te tika öu körero, he wairua tö ënei kohatu hei hononga ki a Papatuänuku me mätou. (Jo, you are right. These rocks have a spirit that connect us to Papatūānuku, to the land..).

Then Kiana went on telling the kohatu that when she gets her’s (and I haven’t told her I have already penciled in her birthday!) that her’s will be pink with her name on the back!! Got to love it…. so the little kohatu has found a home for now and no doubt Kiana will take it for walks around the garden and give it different homes..for now it’s resting under the harakeke.” Thanks for sharing Tracey – look forward to hearing what she has to say about this one!
Rā whānau ki a koe Kiana! Happy birthday Kiana! Anei tō kohatu māwhero hei taonga ataahua mōu. Here is your pink rock, a beautiful gift for you. Arohanui, Jo x
Mā te wā – until then,
Jo x

Few Words

This is the first rock ever that I have used black paint on. Nearly 13 years of painting rocks and I have never used black paint!
I think black for me has always been a colour of darkness, death and sadness. And there is that association with tangi because when you go to a tangi almost everyone is dressed in black! So a colour of mourning although I do think that that is a colonial thing, but that is a personal whakaaro…
koru hand painted rock
But! I really like how it has enhanced the orange and pink on this rock. And I have used black in my other art, just not on the rocks… not sure why…
Not feeling like sharing many words today so will allow my photo and rock to speak for me. By the way, the photo was taken in amongst our kamokamo plants which have come away quite nicely in the backyard!
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

Mama

It’s my mother’s birthday today and she is 75! This rock is for her…
I am so grateful for my mother even more now that I am old-er (not old but old-er!) Sometimes I wish I could turn back time to when I was a teenager and show her the unconditional love that she has shown me all her life. I was such a rebel as a teenager believe it or not!
Two years ago we noticed a change in our mother, she was getting more forgetful and displaying unusual behaviors. A few months ago our mother was diagnosed with alzheimers. It was a shock for all of us but we have come to accept this and who she is now.
My mother is so special. I honour her for her resilience and her beauty. The alzheimers has changed her and even though we have lost the mother we once knew, we have a new mother who responds to affection, love and laughter. She is SO funny at times! And playing the guitar is her pride and joy! She is often up and down depending on what is happening around her but is easily persuaded into a song on the guitar. You can show her a photo from 50 years ago and she will tell you who is in it and where that photo was taken.
I rang her today at the resthome for her birthday and I was pleasantly surprised when she knew straight away who I was! Normally I have to say who I am. I sung happy birthday to her and I think she took the phone away from her ear lol but she responded with a, “I don’t feel 75 years old, I’m still young.” And she is! She looks SO well, she is active and alive 🙂
She inspires me everyday. I remember when I was young and she used to walk to work every day and walk home again. And it was not a short walk! I used to walk with her sometimes, we didn’t talk much on the way but I just remember her walking. She was so determined.
koru hand painted rocks
She was always there when we were younger, supporting us in everything we did. I remember when I was living in Auckland, she would ring me nearly everyday to see if I was alright and that the house hadn’t been robbed lol and that I was safe!
When I spoke to her today I told her I love her and she responded, “thank-you dear”, so sincere, appreciative and honest.
I love you Mum – you are my valentines and you are my queen – happy birthday.

Procrastination

The BIG P!
I want to write about this because I’ve been kind of (trying to make it not sound so bad!) procrastinating throughout the day! And I know I’m procrastinating because I get side tracked into doing other things! One of those things is cleaning the house – its a sure sign that I’m procrastinating and an even surer sign when the house is already clean!
Its something that I’ve been aware of for many years but awareness of something and actually changing it are two different things!!
koru hand painted rock
One of the reasons I think I procrastinate is fear. The things that I procrastinate the most are those pressing things that give me the most reward, that are the most interesting and satisfying projects to be involved with. They are things that actually move me forward on all levels, so why do I procrastinate doing those things??

Fear. Fear of my own successes or failures. Fear of actually being good enough to complete something. I know there are other reasons and they all stem from childhood but I am grateful for awareness, to catch myself in the act so I can change it! Also getting to the root of the problem has been great for working through an issue that is actually more complicated than it appears to be.
Perhaps that is why my rock for today is tiny – so tiny it is only 3cm wide. And it’s simple. But it is still a beautiful rock and has a lovely energy when I hold it in my hand. I felt like painting something tiny today…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow!
Jo x

Pass-i-on

Passion is doing what I love, not just some of the time but all of the time, without limitations or boundaries. Free and uninhibited. I believe everyone should be doing what they love every day of their lives!! We spend so many hours of a week in jobs that we don’t like, working for someone else, pleasing other people, fulfilling someone else’s dreams and passions…why can’t we be fulfilling our own dreams and passions?
koru hand painted rock
Passion for me is also having the desire to share who I am with others, passing on the joys and fulfillment of living a passionate and purposeful life!
PASSION = PASS-I-ON
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – So I’m at day 43 for my rock of the day project – so stoked I have come this far! The rocks are fully a part of my life now, on all levels – actually they have been for the last 12 years anyway!! I was listening to Deep Purple when I was painting this rock which is kind of random because I haven’t listened to them for years, I don’t even know where that CD came from! But it was great to hear a different kind of music instead of thrashing the same music!! At least I’m going to be ready for Reggaelution on the 19th Feb and I know my words off by heart – haha!

The Circle

I couldn’t stop painting this rock…I actually started painting another rock first and I just looked at it and thought naaaaah! That was not the perfectionist in me being judgmental either, it just didn’t feel right! And then I started this one and just kept going round and round with it, piling the layers on, it was quite soothing and meditative.
koru hand painted rocks
I managed to catch the last bit of light outside to take photos and most of them were out of focus – but when I looked at them on my computer I was pleasantly surprised…the photo being out of focus had for me revealed another layer that would not be seen otherwise if it was in focus. So here it is!
It reminds me of things hidden beneath the surface, the not so obvious things that we don’t always reveal about ourselves because of fear of what people may think, fear of being judged or not being good enough. Its like the mauri, the energy of the rock is revealing itself, exposing itself for all to see…
The circle is a universal symbol that can mean many things. For me it is direct connection to nature, balance, unity and infinity -it is without beginning or end. It is the perfection of nature that inspires me to paint the koru, to paint spirals and circles. The circle – I am always drawn to paint it, to create it, to surround myself with it.
Hei apopo – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Detox

Day 41
I’m detoxing right now and although its the first day, I can already feel the effects of it. Its like I’ve automatically switched into detox mode! But detox for me is not just about my physical body detoxing, its about detoxing my whole being – if that makes sense! Its like having a tune up and service for the car!
So 3-4 times a year I go through this process of internal audit which includes consciously eating foods that are good for me right now as well as emptying out mentally and emotionally.
koru hand painted rock
As I write this I remember the foods that we used to eat as children (like chocolate and sweet food!) and how my desire to eat them now would often be triggered by my emotions. Of course an emotional food for me! I LOVE chocolate, and I don’t think I will ever stop eating it, but now I am more conscious of when I’m eating it, how much I am eating and whether I’m actually eating as a reaction to something. And I’ve also found a ‘healthy’ chocolate that doesn’t give me headaches and has good ingredients in it!
I have so much to thank Vipassana meditation for. Although I am no longer practicing, the six years that I did practice really set me on the right path and I’m so grateful that it was at a young age. Vipassana was always a big ‘detox’ for me!

Now I’m using the Healing Codes which I think are very similar to Vipassana meditation in that they get to the root of the problem. They work with the energy in the body and I have had some amazing amazing results already with this healing system. So all this is part of my detox journey too…
People might think that I’m pretty hard out with my inner healing detox stuff and thats because I am. Believe me I’ve had a lot to detox and will probably be detoxing for the rest of my life. Life is one big healing journey for me…But I’ve also realised, everything in balance – I like to have fun too!!
And its SO nice to be doing yoga again and stretching out all the tightness that has been holding on over the past few weeks due to full on mahi and inspiration all around me that just kept my brain ticking over! And now I’m home in Gisborne, grounding myself again…until the next journey…
This rock is for Saul whose birthday it is today – Happy birthday Saul! When I was living in Taranaki Saul and Nikki were fantastic for helping me set up systems for my business. As an artist it was hard trying to tell myself that I needed a system to be more efficient because I was quite happy to just let my creativity ‘go with the flow’ lol. But it was the best thing that could have happened for my business. Anyway…giving a plug for Saul and Nikki here http://workflowgroup.co.nz Go check them out!
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

Feeling the Earth

Yay – a bit of rain today! I’m really appreciating the cooler weather after the last few days and I’m sure the whenua is too…
Today I was out in the garden and really enjoyed putting my hands in the earth again. It’s so good for my soul to be nurturing the land and to be getting my hands dirty! By the way, dandelion leaves are a good bitter food for salads and there was plenty of that in the garden today. And my feet! It’s so good to feel the earth beneath my feet too…
koru hand painted rock
I just want to say thank-you to everybody who has stopped by to leave comments and to share their own personal experiences. I also want to thank those who have sent me private messages to say thank-you and to let me know they have been following the rocks too!
I appreciate you all!
Its really encouraging to know that I am being supported in this venture and that connections are being made through these rocks and the korero being shared.
Thank-you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Boredom

I was swimming out at Makorori beach today and had this overwhelming sense of fear of this huge expanse of water that I was in and then almost in the same breathe I had this feeling of being at one with Tangaroa – like I had become the water. It was so surreal, I can’t really explain how it felt…
I’ve been lost for words lately, and I think its because I’m bored! Some days I have lots to say and then other days I really struggle to focus on saying things that really matter or things that have substance…so if this seems like its all over the place, its because it is!
koru hand painted rock
So I’ve arrived at a space of boredom, not that I don’t have lots to do because there is plenty of things to do, but you know when you just get bored with what you’re doing and you just want to branch out a bit and do something else, well thats me right now…
But this is not a new space for me, its a space that I always end up at when there are fresh ideas blooming (because I’m full of ideas!!) and fresh things on the horizon. Anyway…Its during these times where I start shedding some skin, I let go of things and invite new things to come in…you know that feeling of just wanting to break out and burst!
I also think I’m tired after the seven hour drive home to Gizzy…it always hits me on the day after the day I arrive home!
And while writing this post, I’m listening to some pretty awesome Aotearoa music! Aren’t Aotearoa musicians just awesome?? I’m listening to 1814, Six60, Katchafire, Kora, Che fu, Mihirangi, and Ardijah (and there are SO many more!!) and I feel like I’m in heaven…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo 🙂
PS – Day 39 – wow! Some people have been asking me where I find the time to paint a rock a day. I make time – I committed to this at the beginning of the year and now there is no turning back! And I’ve told the world, so now the whole world is holding me accountable – yep, committed now! But more than that, I’ve committed to nurturing my creativity and sharing my journey and stories with others…

Ko Rangi Ko Papa

Ko Rangi Ko Papa
Ka puta ko Rongo,
Ko Tane Mahuta
Ko Tangaroa
Ko Tumatauenga
Ko Haumietiketike
Ko Tawhirimatea
Tokona te Rangi ki runga
Ko Papa ki raro
Ka puta ki te whai ao ki te ao marama
Tihe i a mauriora!
koru hand painted rock
I just can’t get away from Rangi and Papa because Rangi and Papa is where its at! This is where I get my inspiration from in everything that I do, there is no purer love, than the unconditional love shared between Rangi and Papa and after everything is gone, done and dusted, there is still Rangi and Papa.
I am looking at everything that is happening in the world and am still wondering why people are not paying attention to all these natural disasters? Natural disasters that have been created by the hands of humans and Rangi and Papa are doing their thing I believe…enough is enough they are saying and if we don’t pay attention now and change our ways then there will be consequences…
Lets start now…kia puta ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama – tihe i a mauriora!

Rangatiratanga

So it is Waitangi Day today and many people all over the country and the world are spending time today in their own special way.
What does it mean for me?
Rangatiratanga begins with me. It is about me taking control of my life and being the master of my own destiny. I believe our tupuna were all about this and were great strategists who made things happen in their lives whether it was to feed their whanau or taking a long journey by sea or land…they were always ready, always knowing where they were going and being very in tune with the environment while living their lives.
So I believe in order for me to progress forward I need to take responsibility for who I am and where I am going in my life. And for me this is about finding out who I am – where I have come from and undoing the effects of colonisation on my life and honouring who I am within. I can blame others for my circumstances or the way that my life is but ultimately I have a choice, to either stay in that place of being victim or taking that risk to move on.
When I look at my parents and the lives they have lived, I respect and honour their resilience to live despite all their circumstances. I also realise that the effects of colonisation on their lives have been huge, so ingrained that the thought of actually changing these effects for them is non-existent. But, it is still possible for me to progress forward, to honour who I am, to heal me and to ultimately have an effect on those around me.
I often think about how the world would be if we all took responsibility for ourselves to heal our past. How awesome would that be to be able to just let go of all the ‘stuff’ and really live? That is rangatiratanga to me…
koru hand painted rock
This kohatu is going to the sista Leanne today. Hard case when we first connected on FB she reminded me about when we were in school and how we used to do athletics together! I couldn’t remember her and she reckons its because she always used to come second to me! I think she is being modest!
Hope you all had a fab Waitangi day and Raggamuffin looked like a blast again yesterday in Rotorua – now looking forward to Matatini and Reggaelution here in Gizzy soooooon – yus!
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo x

Something Old Something New

Just a short post from me today as I’m struggling to stay awake after a LONG day! I’m on the road tomorrow, a seven hour journey back home to Gizzy and am looking forward to planting my feet for another month at least before I head off on another adventure…not looking forward to the sweaty, sticky heat though! But swimming, beach, relax, Te Matatini and Reggaelution are all on in the next two weeks! Oh yeah!
koru hand painted rocks
I photographed a friend’s wedding today and it was wonderful! Very low key, simple and different. Different because the couple chose to have their wedding in their own special way without all the traditional hoo ha that goes on at weddings. Who said that your father has to give you away and walk you down the aisle anyway? Who said you have to be wearing all white? Who made up all those rules about how weddings are supposed to be? Anyway, much love to Lena and Chris on their special day, to their whanau x 2 and two gorgeous boys Kauri and Tio – was so lovely to be able to capture your day on camera for you…
And still on the note of weddings, this kohatu is for Ma whose wedding anniversary it is today – 11 years ne Ma? Too much e hoa!! Was so happy to be able to paint this for you!! This rock has lots of texture, holes and bumps – fitting I think for a love that has endured so many years. Arohanui ki a korua, otira ki a koutou ko to whanau. Am sending this to you!
So a new life of marriage has just begun and we acknowledge a marriage that continues…beautiful!
Ok off to bed now – not too bad just before midnight, thats early for me! Am so looking forward to putting my feet up, even just for one day, that would be nice!!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – There are actually four colours in this rock, white, yellow, red and buffalo brown which you can’t see, its hidden under the white. Also, when trying to come up with a name for this post all I could think of was ‘something old something new’ which is a play on the traditional weddings korero…’something old something new something borrowed, something blue’…but here, this talks about two loves, totally unconnected that have been brought together in this korero today!!

That was actually a long post after all!!! Po marie!

Forgive

I’m mindful that this weekend is Waitangi weekend and is an important time for many Maori in Aotearoa and around the world.
I remember the strength of my tupuna, my ancestors and their resilience to continue. I remember the loss of life, the sacrifices made by many of our people to continue a legacy of hope for future generations…

I also look to a new horizon in the hope that our efforts to move forward as a people are about living in harmony with each other and that we also remember our other indigenous brothers and sisters around the world who are also walking this path with us, to reconnect with who they are…
hand painted rocks
And I say now, I forgive all the wrongs done in the past, I refuse to allow the effects of colonisation to have control over me. I let go of that mamae, of that pain in the hope that healing may come for all.
It is a big risk to say this, but I believe it is through taking risks of exposing oneself that progress, change and growth can happen. I honor my tupuna by taking this pathway, and by being on my own pathway of tino rangatiratanga, of self determination because this is where it starts I believe, with me…

Stop, Breathe and Experience the Moment

I feel like I’ve been racing around like a maniac over these past few days, still slowing down from the past 2-3 weeks. My mind is full of ideas, things to do, planning for the future and yet I have to keep reminding myself to stop for a moment and breathe…
Sometimes we keep ourselves so busy, we don’t feel comfortable being in the moment because being in the moment means being with ourselves – not as easy as it sound! Often the easy option is to run away from what is right in front of us instead of dealing with it and being with it. That is how it has been for me in the past, constantly filling my life up with stuff, piling on layers of stuff, drowning myself in so many things to hide from a reality that I was not happy with…
koru hand painted rock
But I’ve learnt that the power IS ALWAYS in the present moment…and now I know this at an experiential level, (thank-you Vipassana meditation!!) I am not afraid to stop, breathe and experience the present…
Because it is a space where great healing can take place, if we allow it to…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS -This photo was taken on the window sill again in an attempt to capture the natural light – the colours are pink, buffalo brown and digeridoo brown, randomly chosen but a nice mix, I like them!…
…and this kohatu is for Reremoana who turns 23 today!!! Ra whanau ki a koe Poni!!! He whakaaro nui tenei ki a koe. Na te aroha te taonga nei ka tukuna atu ki a koe. Arohanui, na maua ko Papa xx

Appreciation For Life

We went to Onukutaipari (Back beach) today and there was this interesting mist in the air…it was quite unusual, very humid and almost surreal…
Whats been happening today?
Well, had lunch with Donna and Denis; dear friends and whanaunga who I haven’t seen for a LONG time. Was so good to catch up on the past three years!! And they said they seen me (is that bad english? oh well!) across the road at 109 Devon St while they were having a meeting – I saw a whole group of people over there but didn’t realise it was them! If I had of known, I would have gone in to the Powder Room to say hullo but probably wouldn’t have come out haha! For those who don’t know, the Powder Room is a bar! Anyway…
koru hand painted rock
I’m starting to wind down after the full on two weeks had on the art residency and so this rock is like the calm after the storm! Not like it has been a stormy past two weeks, but it has been full of adventure, learning and high energy! So this rock is perhaps a reflection of my desire to slow down, reconnect with self and relax into the next few days.
And I just want to say I appreciate life I appreciate everything that has been, up until now and am sending much aroha and tautoko to those over in Australia who are dealing with mother nature and cyclone Yasi. I would never wish this for anyone and am hoping for a miracle that the cyclone decides to just let go…but nature is so unforgiving sometimes…And it is yet another reminder of the importance of looking after Papatuanuku. Kia kaha koutou! Me tiaki tatou i a Papatuanuku, me tiaki tatou i a tatou ano! Kia kaha koutou i ou koutou kainga maha…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo x
PS – I very rarely take photos in the centre but this one felt like it wanted to be there. From bold, bright, earthy colours to purple and white…a dramatic shift…

Manaaki

Today, we went and watched a movie called Water Whisperers here in New Plymouth. It was about the importance of looking after our water not only for now but for future generations. It also talked about water as being the blood lines of Papatuanuku – our earth mother and if we stop that flow of life by damming or polluting our waterways, then we affect the health of our earth and ultimately ourselves. So we need to look after our planet and ourselves as well!
koru hand painted rocks
Manaaki is a word for me that is about respect and honour. Honouring the mana of another and so when we talk about manaaki whenua, we look after our land and honour our land as sustenance and life giving, something that is living and breathing just as we do. The same with manaaki tangata – honouring the mana of another person, honouring the person as a whole as being sacred and important.
Today I paint this rock for my good friend in Arizona whose birthday it is today! I remember when I travelled to Arizona nearly four years ago, I was treated with the utmost respect by all these beautiful people there who have become my dear friends. They honoured me by looking after me every step of my journey…
I am so grateful for that experience and for the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful spiritual land. I appreciate being able to exhibit my work in downtown Phoenix, spending time on Dine’ land with Eric, on Salt River Pima land with Vanessa and whanau, and all those who looked after me. Linda and friends, Wendy, Rachel, Bob, Roger and whanau, Salina and of course Cheryl whose birthday it is today!! I experienced manaaki tangata at its best on this journey…thank-you!
And thank-you Cheryl for being you and forever a strong support for me. Ra whanau ki a koe and sending you lots of aroha on your special day!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the colours of this rock remind me of the deep oranges, reds and browns in Arizona that add depth to the landscape. I was in awe when driving up North to Eric’s land, amazed at the rock formations that dominated the landscape and of course the canyons that were breath-taking! I hope to return one day soon…
PSST – and as Linda puts it 1/12 is done 11/12ths to go!! But whose counting – haha – me!