Rites of Passage

Tonight I heard many stories of past told by Māori from around the country, and as I listened I was taken back to my childhood memories of growing up in a village, a close knit community that was the first 12 years of my life.
koru hand painted rocks
Even though most of the kaikōrero were of my parents generation, there was a familiarity about their stories; the abundance of kai, a sense of family extending far and wide, community and the importance of manaaki tangata – looking after people.

I also remembered my own youth, how lost I was at times, the disconnection… on the outside everything was fine but on the inside was another story of just wanting to be free, to be me. Then the many lessons that I had to learn on my own… and thinking also about the youth of today and how much things have changed in the last 20 years.
I was reminded once again of the importance of why I do what I do. Storytelling is so important.

Everybody has a story, and all stories are relevant – there is great power in a story to connect with the hearts of others, the very thing that is needed, I believe, to bring about change.
And I’m glad that tonight the importance of story was acknowledged as an important way of moving forward positively into the future.
Tonight I watched Hei Tikitiki – Māori Rites of Passage; a short documentary that is part of a Youth Development Research Project that involves Māori youth workers, youth and whānau exploring traditional youth development practices and sharing their learning with others.
Thanks to Manu Caddie and all those involved in bringing our rangatahi to light and for these stories that I’m sure will be important for the future of our rangatahi and our nation as a whole. You can see more about this project at http://rangatahi.wordpress.com/documents/research/ where you can also download the report of this research project and order the DVD!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Sunset

One of the most stunning things I remember about living in Taranaki are the amazing sunsets. In summer, the sky would glow a rich red-orange-pink that lit up the sky and the earth.
koru hand painted rocks
I spent many summer evenings following a sunset and capturing the magic before the sun went down and I soon realised that the time between that beautiful glow and the sun disappearing beyond the horizon, was a very short window.
It was a short window of opportunity and if I was not with camera in hand, I would miss it! But if I was prepared for the opportunity, I would catch the perfect moment, every time…
It reminds me of those opportunities that present themselves everyday, those opportunities that are there in a moment and gone again, forever.
So next time you see a sunset, (by the way, you have to be in Taranaki to see the bestest sunset in the world!) remember that window of opportunity, cease the moment, take action and capture it!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Celebrate Difference

We went to Pecha Kucha tonight and I left there feeling so full and inspired!
koru hand painted rock
There were so many different stories – funny, sad, informative, inspiring kōrero and I just couldn’t help but think, how wonderful it is that we can share our stories in an open environment where there is no expectation about what we should talk about and people are open to receiving whatever.
We may not even agree with what has been shared but we acknowledge the person and what they have shared.
Everybody has a story and when we hear another perspective, another story that moves us, that says something to us, that makes us cry or laugh, our view of the world changes, and we are that much more closer to creating a world that embraces difference and change.

So thank-you to all the wonderful speakers and Leanne who was nervous before she started but performed beautifully her own poems in front of the big screen and Trish whose special healing journey made me cry big tears and I realised even more after her kōrero, the power of art to heal. And for all the laughs – thank-you for all the laughs!
And to end the night, a lovely dinner with friends Jo and Neil. Thank-you all!
It’s so important to celebrate difference, to embrace the colourful and ever changing society we live in.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Chamie and Vonny – I know you have been waiting patiently hehe – so here it is! : )

Be Kind

Be kind, because you never know what a person has experienced in their lives or what they are experiencing now.
Everyone wants to be loved and accepted.
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Be kind to one another because you never know, what you say to another may be your last words to them, and if they were your last words, is that what you would want to say?
Be kind, we are all dealing with “stuff” and those who aren’t have mastered the art of living totally in the present and accept, what is.

I’ve only met one such person in my life and it’s not the Dalai Lama because I have never met him, but if I did, he would be number two!
Be kind and with love in your heart…
Arohanui,
Jo x

From Nothingness

Ko te pū te more te weu te aka te rea te waonui te kune te whe te kore te pō ki ngā tāngata Māori nā Rangi rāua ki Pāpa ko tēnei te timatatanga o te ao, ko tēnei te timatanga o te ao…
koru hand painted rocks
I was in the shower today and just started singing this waiata. You never know what song is gonna come out in the shower!
It is about the beginning of time, from nothingness – the realm of potential, to darkness, to te ao mārama – the world of light when Ranginui (sky) and Pāpatūānuku (earth) were separated and now, the world as we know it today.
Although I wonder about the world today and where we are headed and whether that world of light and understanding will continue to be that? And perhaps we need to look to our past, to revisit the potential that comes from nothingness in order to heal many of the things that are happening in our world today?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Hōngoingoi

Winter is well and truly here! Right now, I’m picturing my maunga back home in Taranaki with a beautiful korowai mā, not really wishing I was there right NOW though, its blinken cold enough here in Tūranga!
koru hand painted rock
Hōngongoi is our Māori word for July but like all words in our Māori language, each word tells a story and has a deeper meaning.

Hōngoingoi also means to crouch in front of a fire, which is fitting for this time of year as we huddle around the embers to keep ourselves warm. And this is the beauty of our tūpuna (ancestors) and how they thought, and this is the beauty of our language.
I was thinking about the importance of sitting around and having conversation, sharing with each other instead of watching TV or spending our time doing things that are not important. And I can imagine what it would have been like in my ancestor’s time. They would sit around and wānanga all the time, this is how our knowledge was handed down and it was such an important part of everyday living to socialise and share kōrero.
I think we don’t do it enough, just to talk with each other and have conversation is so important. I am always inspired and uplifted when I am in the company of great people sharing wonderful conversation and I need to do it more!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – and true to form this kohatu is in total contrast with what I’m actually talking about, but like our language, it’s a lot deeper than what’s on the surface! And the sun came out today so it’s a sunny photo!

And I know I use Māōri words now and then and forget about my international non-Māori speaking friends sometimes so… korowai mā talks about the beautiful cloak of snow that I’m sure my maunga back home in Taranaki is wearing right now and wānanga means to meet, share conversation, to learn, to pass on knowledge… and many more meanings!