Kainga – Home

We came home to Gisborne today. It’s so nice to be home and grounded for the next few weeks before heading off again!
I often think about home and where I consider home is. Home for me is in my tribal area of Te Arawa where I was born, where I grew up and where I lived for 24 years. This is where my mother comes from and where my roots are. I also have special places in Rotorua that I remember and connect to…
koru hand painted rocks
Taranaki is my home. This is also where my roots are, my father is from here and I am very connected to the whenua, to the land here. I have also lived here with the land and it is a very special place for me…actually Taranaki was home for me even before I had lived there.
When I was living in Auckland, this was also home, but not home like Rotorua and Taranaki. My connection to these areas are different, a more spiritual connection…
And now I’m living in Gisborne which I also call home but home in a different way as being this place where I live. My whakapapa links are not directly here and I don’t feel the same about this area as I do about Rotorua and Taranaki. It actually took me a while to settle here, but now I’m settled and its almost like a ‘noa’ feeling for me, unlike the spiritual, sacred connection I feel to my ‘homes’ in Taranaki and Rotorua.
But I also feel at home in other lands overseas. There are some places that I have been to such as Arizona, that I feel I have a spiritual connection to the land, almost like I’ve lived there before. And other lands I’ve visited, I feel very connected to.
I also wonder about my Scottish and Cornish roots and how I would feel in these lands. My gut feeling is that I would feel at home in these places because of my whakapapa connections. Even though I have not lived in Scotland or Cornwall, I have a strong urge to visit these places and I imagine whenever I do, it will be a spiritual journey home for me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just meant to be

On our way through Waverley today, we stopped off at a glass studio. It was outside this studio that I painted this rock. And yes there was a glass studio in Waverley! Here we met a couple who are both artists working in a variety of mediums including glass, clay and sculpture. So there was an immediate connection…
But what was also cool was the fact that we had connected with people who knew people we knew, they had lived in the same places and knew people we knew in those places and they had many things in common including a passion for the arts and a passion for doing what they love for a living!
koru hand painted rock
Actually, I find these connections quite exciting and if you are open enough and on to it enough to see them, they are around us all the time! You know when you meet people and it’s just meant to be? You just click with them and end up talking like you’ve known each other for years!
So it was a nice part of our journey today, but of course every part of the journey is important and just meant to be, including the yummy feijoa ice-cream I ate tonight! Ha!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Te Pā Harakeke

Tūngia te ururua kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke…
Cutting back the harakeke at Puniho over the past two days reminded me of an internal detox, not just physical but an emotional and spiritual detox too…an emptying out and letting go of things that are no longer needed, making room for growth and change. The whakatauki above talks about this also; by cutting back the harakeke, nurturing it, paying attention to it and putting it to good use, you allow it to grow and bear fruit once again….
koru hand painted rock
There were some challenging moments when cutting the harakeke; it had not been cut for a while and so the plant was thick and not able to breathe… so it was challenging physically and mentally – I remember saying to myself, one leaf at a time, one leaf at a time…it was a bit like when we are going through ‘stuff’ and you hit a block, you work through it and then you move forward, one step at a time…
And I love the pā harakeke as a representation of the whanau unit…it was wonderful to spend time with Jas, Rahera, Te Para and Hiona living on the whenua at home at Puniho, living as a whanau unit with the land where so many of the harakeke grow…and sharing some wonderful kōrero…
So the pā harakeke is being nurtured, the land is being nurtured, the whanau is being nurtured…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mana Whenua

I’m looking out the window at the harakeke and tī-rākau swaying in the wind and am reminded of the whakatauki, “whatu ngaro ngaro te tangata, toi tū te whenua – people may perish but the land still remains.”
Power lines are down, road signs have been blown over but the land remains…
koru hand painted rocks
I’ve always known harakeke to be a resilient plant, to withstand the strength of the most fierce wind, rain, cold, dry and still its roots hold strongly to the earth. The land will always remain…
I am also reminded of our connection to the whenua and why we hold strongly our own roots to the earth – I am the land and the land is me…
Ka tukuna atu te kohatu mauri nei ki tāwahi hei kaitiaki hei oranga mō ngā tāngata whenua o te ao. Ngā mihi ki a Leonie Pihama, i tono mai ki a au. Māna te kohatu nei e kawe hei te wiki e tu mai nei…
Me te kupu whakamutunga ki a Matua Huirangi Waikerepuru – nāna i whakamohio mai ki a au i te tikanga o te mauri. Ko te mauri mai i te maunga tae atu ki te moana kei roto i te kohatu nei… just as the life giving waters flow from the mountain to the sea and so this rock carries those stories of that journey and is now going on another journey…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tāwhirimātea

Hokia ki tō maunga kia purea ai koe e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea
Return to your mountain to be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea
koru hand painted rock
Wow!! Kei te tino pupuhi te hau i te kainga nei! Arrived home in Taranaki last night (Sun) and wow – there’s a storm blowing through…Now staying at the marae out the coast at cousin Jason’s and Rahera’s house and yep we’ve definitely come home to be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea!! The power has just gone out so we’re sitting in the dark having a sing song while we wait for Rahera’s yummy curry for kai.
It’s times like this where you are just in awe of the elements, Tāwhirimātea has been blowing a gale all day and as much as we’ve been blown around – literally, it’s good to just stand in that wind and feel the strength and power…makes you feel so alive and free and powerless at the same time…
Its so nice to be home again, ahakoa ngā āhuatanga a Tāwhirimātea – cleansing for my wairua, for my spirit…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Ego of War

Today in Aotearoa it is ANZAC day – a day to remember all those brave soldiers who went to war to fight for our country. Me mihi atu ki a rātou mā, rātou i tū kaha i te pakanga, ko rātou kāore i hoki mai…
I think about war, the war that my tūpuna fought in, the war that many of our tūpuna fought in and died. And I wonder, what this was all about? I wonder what it would have been like if my Dad went to war, perhaps I would not exist if he did? And whatever possesses someone to want to take another’s life? I’m still trying to understand that…
koru hand painted rock
I honour all those who fought in the war, for their bravery, for doing what they thought was right for their country, and for the many people who did not come home from the war. I also honour those whānau who bravely sent their loved ones off to war…
But I do not condone war at all. I do not believe that war is the way forward and I do not believe that it is a solution for any problem…
I think about our armed forces today and I ask, what are we preparing for? Why prepare for another war? Why?? I’m a firm believer in what you put out, you get back and I wonder how would things be in this country and the world if we constantly put out thoughts and actions of peace and aroha instead of war?
Ko ōku ake whakaaro mo te rangi nei…
Arohanui,
Jo x