Three Stones

These are three new personalised stones painted recently for a couple (a gift to each other from each other!) and one for another of their friends. I love the colours in these stones.

The brief for the top stone was to NOT use light colours. This was very difficult as I’m used to always bringing light colours into the mix!Three Stones
As an intuitive painter, I felt a strong urge to bring some light into this stone even though it may be under the surface.
This stone is beautiful – and full of light! So it was an interesting project for me – do I paint exactly what my client wants, or do I go with my intuition as I’ve always done? And it brought a thought to mind, sometimes what we want is not actually what we need.

I enjoy painting personal stones for people. You never know how each stone is going to turn out and each stone is unique with it’s own special story.

If you are interested in having a personal stone painted for you visit my personalised works of art page for more info – I would love to hear from you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Personalised Stone

Personalised Hand Painted Stone

I love creating personal stones for people. It is an opportunity for me to spend some time connecting with a stone and it’s story.

This is a stone painted for Natacha who wanted to give something personal to a friend. She spoke briefly about her friend and then left the rest up to me!

Sometimes people will share their stories with me to include in the design of the stone, or they leave it up to me and my intuition. Regardless, each stone is painted intuitively. Each design is unique and there is never any drawing just painting straight on to the stone.Personalised Hand Painted Stone

What I love about personalised stones is that they are exactly that – personal. They are specifically created for the person and become timeless gifts that can be handed down to future generations.

If you are interested in purchasing a personalised stone – visit here – I would love to hear from you!

Arohanui,

Jo 🙂

Kohatu

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The rain keeps falling. The drive here to the river was a bumpy one, dodging rocks that had fallen from cliffs up high… but we got here! A swollen river beckons even though I can’t see it, I know it is there, flowing a strong current…
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We are at Ruaka marae beside the Wanganui river and despite the rain not letting up, it is very cleansing…

Kids playing outside in the rain today, enjoying the gifts of Ranginui, celebrating his love for Papatūānuku our earth mother. How could we not celebrate his aroha for her and the mists that meander through the hills and mountains that greet him with her warmth…

So I’ve reached Day 365 – I did not know what this rock was going to look like and when I started it I was like hmmm… expectation again! Even at the end of the year – but then I can see, a moving river with many twists and turns, mists rising, rain falling… flowing water…

What a year it has been! So many wonderful connections, sharing with one another, healing… Who would have thought such a simple offering could be so powerful!

Koha-tu – a special gift. A gift of aroha, a gift of connection, of sharing with one another, the sharing of breath, of life through nature, art and words… I am grateful, amazed, pleased, overwhelmed… eight more hours until the new year… a new beginning a new project to begin.

Ngā manaakitanga ki a tātou katoa i tēnei wā o te tau hou. Thank-you all for such an amazing journey. I’ll see you at the start of the next project but for now enjoying the moment.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Mountain to Sea

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Rain dribbles down a thick glass window – well worn it has had many eyes look out to contemplate with nature – like thin shreds of lace hanging down, some slow some fast, rain crystals, each one unique, shining reflections upon reflections, alive…

We are in Ohakune at the moment – and this is my second to last rock for the year – my goodness! Quite overwhelming actually but also very exciting! The day has been rain, calm, rain, calm – all day! It is raining now… nice and refreshing…
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Driving through the central plateau this morning was just stunning. You know when you drive through a place and you are in the presence of something greater than yourself, a sense of belonging, spirit is alive in amongst these beautiful maunga (mountain) – Tongariro, Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Pihanga. Ka mihi atu ki a koutou. I greet you and I honour your presence.

Ahhhh what a journey… last Friday I greeted my maunga Matawhaura on the shores of Lake Rotoiti and my marae Houmaitawhiti – ko tōku māma tēna. Today we left Rotorua and on my way out I greeted my maunga Tarawera – ko tōku māma anō tēna and then we arrive in amongst these beautiful mountains… it’s all connected.

I greet all these maunga and remember the connection to my maunga Taranaki, the journey that he took in his haste, leaving love behind to forge out a pathway along the Wanganui river to be where he is today…our spiritual mountain that has given me so much healing…

Tomorrow we head to the Wanganui river, to running water, a lifeline of Papatūānuku, a bloodline that runs through the earth from sky to the peaks of mountains, through land forming rivers and out to sea, water…

I began this journey with water, in search of a part of me, I am still searching but much of me has been revealed over the year and I end this journey with water… beside water, in water, of water and the next journey will begin…again…with water…

Arohanui,
Jo x

I’m not sure what kind of reception I will have up the awa (river) tomorrow so I may not be able to post my rock until I come out into civilisation again – but kei te pai – that’s ok! And the rock will be taken from the river and gifted back once it is finished. Of course I will take a photo!

Marama

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I know she will probably freak that I have called a rock after her – but Marama Davidson – rā whānau ki a koe e hoa!! I have no regrets hehe! And it actually illustrates very clearly what I want to talk about today. So thanks Ma for a beautiful name and the inspiration!
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We had a wonderful afternoon with Mere Marshall, MT and Jay today. Such wonderful rich kōrero about lots of things! It really was a neat meeting with another of my dedicated FB rock followers who has contributed hugely to the project over the year and who I was SO excited to meet in the flesh today!

One of the many things that stood out for me was about being true to self, being who you are and not compromising on that at all. My whole life has been about finding who I am, what is my place in the world…and so the conversation reinforced this.

And always back to the spiral, back to water – water being a strong theme throughout my work this year and something that will flow into next year. It is fitting that we will be spending the last day of the year beside the Wanganui river and the first day of 2012 beside the Wanganui river… reinforcing once again, connection through water, wai…Ko wai au? Who am I? Grounded in connection…

So back to Marama – te ao marama – the world of light and for me in this moments reflection, I look back over the year and this rock a day project has been exactly that – moving toward the light into an understanding of who I am, understanding through my eyes, my experiences, journeys and healing.

I feel like I can move into 2012, the next part of my journey, sure in the knowledge that I am where I need to be, right here, right now. Kua marama inaianei – I understand what this journey has been about. It has been about me returning to who I am and sharing the journey with others in the hope that they will be inspired to embark on their own journeys of reflection and self-discovery.

Arohanui,
Jo x

So thank-you once again to Mere, MT and Jay for a lovely afternoon!! Hope you’ve had a great day for your birthday today Ma!! AND – two more rocks to paint for 2011!! YAY!!

What Is Possible?

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A reflective time of year marks the beginning of a new… change, connection, relationships, healing – all have been strong themes this year, woven into life’s intricate web…
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I love the spider web – resilient and beautiful, it is one of nature’s many wonders that always amazes me. How could this be possible? What is possible in the future?

A question I’ve been asking myself over these last few days of the year – what is possible? If there was one thing that I would want to bring to fruition this year, what would it be? How would I bring this to fruition and what would I need to do this? And who will help me?

The year is nearly over and excitement is building as we head into 2012 – it is an important year, probably the most important year of my life for many reasons and everyday up until now has brought me to here, this moment, this time, this place. And I am grateful.

Arohanui,
Jo x

What Does Matter Most?

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So we’re back in Rotorua with whānau and we’ve just come from Te Puke after spending the last few days with whānau and what a wonderful time it has been!
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I’ve said this before recently – there is something about this time, something in the air, so much aroha in the air, everywhere there is change, people are more accommodating and accepting of one another realising more and more, what matters most. And what matters most?

The relationships we have – the meaning we give to our lives through our relationships and love.

I feel like I’ve grown over the past three days, grown in the sense that I have healed through many years, spending time with whānau has made me realise that some things just don’t matter like they used to and what matters is that we have each other, we love one another, we can have a good laugh, we can have a good cry, we share a meal together or a few BIG meals together and in those moments, we know what matters most.

What matters most to me right now, is that I am here with whānau, enjoying the experience and sharing the love. A very special time.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Cruising

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What a wonderful day today! Chilled out, relaxing and just cruising with good kai (all day!), great company and a great place in the country to be winding down at the end of the year.
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I’ve so enjoyed this – with minimal connection to the internet and no one really sending me emails wanting anything from me (yet!) it has only been a few days, but a much needed rest has been granted.

Actually, it reminds me of a song I used to love listening to when I was young-er… we were chilling in the park, just waiting for the sun to go down…and I’ve SO loved hanging with the whānau – has been awesome!!

Sending much aroha to everyone out there who is checking out the rocks during this time. I know you are probably eating good kai too and are in good company! Hope you’re having a lovely relaxing holiday wherever you are in the world! Peace to you.

Arohanui,
Jo x

It is now midnight! I don’t think I’ve gone to bed before midnight since I’ve been away but that’s ok, I can sleep in to whatever time I want to – love that! AND! FIVE more rocks to paint for the year!!! Wooooohoooo!

Our Rock

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I decided that I would write the story for this rock with my three nieces. And these are the thoughts that came to mind from all of us.
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It has been a great day – all the family getting together for a yummy hangi! We haven’t seen each other for ages and all the mokos have grown! No one knows anyone’s age or birthdays anymore!

Teiarere says the rock looks like a mushroom and then Rexina says she doesn’t like mushrooms and Teiarere says me either!

Rexina says, “they remind me of curls and Robyn said, “xmas snow”…

Nana was so happy today and she’s been in a really good mood around family and the ham was great with pineapple and cherries and mint sauce…

One thing we will remember:

Robyn – everyone sitting in a row all together.
Rexina – the food.
Teirere – the games.
Aunty Jo – Xmas in the orchard with the whanau all gathered together united in the kitchen putting the kai on together like it was a marae… and our sister Char was not here but oh well we hope to see her at the end of January!

Last words from all of us – colour in the snow – colour at xmas – family – sunny day – eyebrows – sneezing at eyebrows being plucked lol (that was Rexina!), joyful…

Arohanui,
from US! Jo, Rexina, Robyn and Teiarere xxxx

PS – from the nieces AND Tai the nephew – DOITTZZZZZ!!

Response To Touch

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I was putting healing cream on my niece’s excema this morning and she just sat there, fluttered her butterfly eyelashes and was enjoying the touch and attention to her skin.
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Today I picked up my Mum from the resthome and she loved to have kisses on her face, me touching her soft skin with my two hands, she responded with a smile and glow in her eyes. Just beautiful.

All it takes is time, attention and love to give a child, touch can be the most special gift one can give to a child.

All it takes is time, attention and love to give… when we grow up and have given all the love, we then require love and care in return to replenish that love. It can be the most warming and life giving thing for an adult, to feel loved and to be touched with love.

It’s been a beautiful day today with whānau! We are all together – have prepared kai for the hangi tomorrow (well actually today as it is 1am in the morning!) but it has been such a special day. Pō mārie.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Into the Daylight

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Out of space into the daylight a brand new day, fresh, alive…
brightness… I come alive again…
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Yay! So I’m here with whānau and looking forward to the next few days ahead. It was so lovely to come to Rotorua and to the sun!

I love the rain and the coolness but my body was wanting to feel warm, my bones wanting to loosen up with the warmth of sun. Longing for summer!

I took a series of photos for this rock and asked my niece Robyn which photo she liked. She says this one and called it – Into the Daylight. I like that and it reminds me of our drive through the gorge – from the cool, damp, rainy Gisborne to a brighter day.

Yes, the future is bright.

Arohanui,
Jo x

It All Matters

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Every little bit counts. Going back over the year, I am reminded of all the wonderful things that have happened! We remember the big bits because they stand out but there are those little bits that are just as important.
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In fact they are often the most challenging because the results are not so obvious, or they are hard work and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. But these little things make all the difference in our lives, challenging us to move forward to the next step, up a level, to take a peak around the corner and persevere.

I had two amazing trips overseas this year – I met some really beautiful talented “different” people and had life changing experiences. I had an art residency at the beginning of the year which was also life changing and actually, this residency set the tone for the entire year and was where my overseas journeys began.

But in between these major events there were all these other little things that pushed me further beyond my boundaries, they had me thinking in new ways because I had to and each experience had a huge affect on my life.

Oh and I can’t forget, my rock a day project – HUGE! Or in the words of Tamzyn Rose Pue – EPIC – that word even sounds HUGE and when you hear her say it you’ll know what I mean! But I also see this project as being full of all these little things too, each day a step, a small step, important in the bigger scheme of things.And it all matters. Yes it does.

Aaaaaaannnd actually when I look back over the past 10, 15, 20 years it all matters – regardless of what it was or whether it was right or wrong. Each experience has led me to be the person I am today, to be on the journeys I have been on. And I have no regrets, only lessons learnt, stories to tell and a whole lot of love shared.

Yes indeed, it does all matter and what a life it’s been – SO looking forward to the future, reminiscing about what has been and at the same time basking in the now…

Arohanui,
Jo x

The Gift of Aroha

This time of year has in the past been a time of mixed feelings. Xmas – overindulgence, consumerism over-the-top, extravagance, stress and expectation.
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I was down town the other day and I saw this family buying their Christmas presents and my first thought was, can they afford to buy presents or is there an expectation that at this time of year, you must buy presents for loved ones, and the expectation is that if someone buys you a present then you must buy one in return? Expectation. And because we’ve done it in the past, must we continue that tradition?
A few years back we stopped buying Xmas presents and decided that the most important thing at this time was sharing quality time with loved ones. And if there were gifts to be given, they were hand made for the person and were given with aroha.
But this year feels different. That feeling of extravagance, overindulgence and consumerism is not as ‘heavy’ as I’ve seen it in the past. I’ve always been relaxed about this time of year and it seems that way for others and people are starting to see what this time of year is really about. This is one of those “something in the air” things I spoke about yesterday…
SO! Expect not and give lots! Especially the gift of aroha because the gift of love and time is what will be remembered.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’m so excited about spending time with whānau this week – yay!!

Something In The Air

It’s that time of year again – the silly season has arrived! But this year is different. Can you feel it? There is definitely something in the air…
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The past few days have been quite different. My body is telling me it wants to feel warm, but outside it is cold and rain. We’ve had patches of sunshine but not summer like we’ve known it over the past few years.

But there is something in the air – change, something… things on the move, things being revealed, unravelled, uncurled…
The earth is going through big changes, I am going through big changes, we all are. It’s time for change and the change in seasons we see, I believe, is Papatūānuku bringing things back into balance. And it must happen…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Crystal Mission

Back in the early 90s I read a book called “Crystal Mission”. Today, many years on, I started reading this same book but an updated version. And I’m like WOW – I was actually reading this at 20 years old!
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It’s an interesting book about a man’s journey, synchronicity, the power of crystals, the energy of the earth, connection and more! It’s one of those books you just wanna keep reading! It’s mind boggling actually, not just the story but the fact that I was actually into this kind of stuff at such a young age.
This reminded me of the first personal development book I read at 16 years old – Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer. I also remember The Power is Within You by Louise Hay – and there were many others!
So 20 + years on and I’m still healing, changing, growing… and this book is also a reminder that my love of precious stones began in my teens. I was drawn to their beauty and healing properties and still love to surround myself with them today.
A nice reflection on the past to the present…and now continuing on my crystal mission…
By the way, has anyone read this book?
Arohanui,
Jo x

All Of Us

Man oh man – I’ve been going back through the year, reminiscing with rocks and words from all of us and I’m like WOW – there is so much awesomeness! Real gems! Such insight and colourful kōrero and I’m just buzzing at all the kohatu I’ve painted and the imagery that has been captured of each rock – WOW!

I printed a few pages of the kohatu, including stories and comments and it’s taken me the last couple of days to get through them! And I have another 300+ days to read!!
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It’s actually quite overwhelming and I feel very humbled by all the things that have been said, the many many people that have left comments – just amazing!

I started working on the book a while back and am now going through each day, sitting for a while and really getting a feel of what the message is for that day. And I did not realise how important these kohatu would be, for many people and for me, but when I read the words and look at the images, I’m totally captivated at what has been created.
It is going to take a while to get through them all and that’s ok it’s a very exciting process.

But I just want to say thank-you to ALL OF US for sharing openly our thoughts and feelings throughout the year. I have been truly blessed and I do believe that the book is going to be a stunning collection of images with important messages from all of us that will guide us into the future. And look out for the book which is due to be published in time for the Māori new year – June 2012!
Of course there will be more thank-yous over the next few days but I just want to say for the first time, THANK-YOU SO MUCH – from my heart.
Arohanui,
Jo x

In Search of Clear Waters

Thoughts today of swimming through murky waters, polluted, searching for spirit…
A feeling of clearing out, the physical experience we have on earth – putting that aside for a moment and just searching, searching…
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And then there within the darkest part of water, a light…
Spirit knows, and life does not always go according to plan but always, spirit will lead us to where we need to go, to the lessons we need to learn, over and over until we learn them.
A reminder today that I am a spiritual being having a physical experience and in any moment I can connect to that part of me that knows.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Nine Visitors

Well the house was a flurry of visitors today! From 10am onwards, we had nine people visiting throughout the day – so it was pretty full on and before you know it – it’s dinner time and the day is coming to a close!
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But it was a fantastic day – wonderful kōrero about all sorts of things – moving to a new land, public speaking, spinal manipulations, (even got my back put in – thanks Barrie!), swimming pools, art, art and more art, business, death, life – all sorts of things.
It reminded me (again!) about the importance of connection and sharing kōrero. And when people come together, no matter what your background, you can always find common threads, common levels of connection.
So it was a beautiful day (the sun was actually shining!) and I sent a few kohatu off today – some will be travelling back to Perth and others will head up north to Dargaville. Wonderful. The power of stones. The power of connection. Conversations and meetings that were just meant to be.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Wise Children

I was sitting in a cafe today reading a wonderful book about indigo children – a book that made me smile from ear to ear. What amazing and insightful words had come out of children’s mouths, I was totally inspired.
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So as much as I don’t like to quote from books, I want to share some today! The words are from the book, An Indigo Celebration by Dee Carroll and Jan Tober and it is such a delightful book, I would highly recommend reading it!
So I want to share three quotes from three young children and the question asked was, “what is love?” And the answers are beautiful, funny and powerful. I love all three quotes!
What is Love? When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands get arthritis too. That’s love.
What is Love? Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.(Funny!!)
What is Love? If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.
Straight from the mouths of children… thank-you children for the inspiration.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Acceptance

You know when you’ve forgiven someone. You totally and completely accept them for who they are.
TOTAL ACCEPTANCE = FORGIVENESS = HEALING
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Today has been a wonderful time of healing and forgiveness. Often fear and pain block our pathways to healing, we fear something happening again and don’t want to have the same experiences over and over again. But if we allow ourselves to go through that healing process and forgive, great healing can take place.
Forgiveness is powerful. Forgiveness of self and others can release us from long held resentments, releasing, renewing, reviving…freedom…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Live In The Questions

Often we question life – why me? Why now?
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But if we lived “in” the questions and really tried to understand life from an experiential level and continued to ask the questions with a sense of curiosity and wonder, perhaps we will one day find our way into the answers…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Know Thyself

It has been one of the most important things in my life up until this moment – to know myself and who I am. Why am I here? Where have I come from and where am I to go? And who am I in this moment?
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My life’s many journeys and experiences all contributing to my ongoing healing that ultimately enable me to “be” who I am – fully present with what is and giving me the insight to help others in their own journeys.
I don’t know if I will ever fully know myself in this lifetime, but what I do know is that being on the pathway to know myself is better than being lost, walking around in a state of confusion, cloud and lack of purpose.
I love my life and all it’s ups and downs and I welcome another moment, another experience that will lead me to the next part of my journey.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Interwoven

Layer upon layer upon layer in between gaps and shapes and on top of layers – the paint went on to this rock. Even though the layers were going on, there was a feeling of taking layers off.
Each strand, each line linking with the next to create a never ending flow of energy. The colours simple and plain but each contains all the colours of light, shining through each layer to reveal the next.
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I started with a face – a line already within the stone – a definite marking that reminded me of Celtic origins and old days. A stake in the earth, holder of land, stating that this is our land, this is where I belong.
A never-ending flow of water, sea, earth, light, energy… where spirit meets people, interwoven…
Happy birthday Haidee! This was very much a meditative rock, painting and then writing words, intuitive – that came out like water from a tap. Infinite. Hope you’ve had a special day today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Two More Stones

There’s this lady that bikes past our house. She looks middle age from what I can see in the few seconds I see her as she zooms past! And she carries a big basket on the front, you know like those ones that can hold flowers or vegetables.
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She is dressed nicely like she’s ready to go for a picnic in the park AND she has NO helmet!

And she ZOOMS past!

Now one would think, ahh hullo where is your helmet? But actually, there is something kinda cool about her, enjoying the wind blowing through her hair with not a care in the world…

I’m not saying don’t wear a helmet when riding a bike – I’m not saying that at all, but there is a certain freedom that goes with bike riding a bit like riding a horse or being on a surfboard that requires trust, letting go and enjoying!
And her freedom I could see as she peddled past, to just jump on a bike and go, to trust that all will be ok, trusting life, her life…

I had great fun painting these two stones today. I just decided to paint two stones, no particular reason why, just felt like it.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ngā Manu Tioriori

It’s lovely waking up in the morning at 5am to chirping birds outside the window. And there have been a couple of new sounds I’ve been hearing lately – so beautiful!
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Sometimes there are birds that we ignore or don’t think are special because we don’t have stories or connection to them, but you know those brown birds (I don’t know their name) there’s heaps that hang around in our garden. They have a long call and they are actually really cool birds – other than eating our young shoots in the garden, I kinda like them.
It’s just like magpies. I’ve always considered them to be a pain in the butt but in some countries they are a special bird that is symbolic.
But aside all the beautiful birds that I feel so grateful for – I just want to say how proud I am of Aotearoa musicians. We have some pretty amazingly talented manu tioriori and there are a some awesome up and coming artists as well!
Music is so important in our lives and I couldn’t imagine what I would do if I couldn’t listen to music! And in the words of Stevie Wonder…”music is a world within itself, it’s a language we all understand…”
A universal language…
So here’s to Aotearoa music and all the talented amazing people that bless us everyday with their music. And actually here’s to all those radio stations who play our wonderful music – definitely something to celebrate.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Kahawai

We were out again today capturing kōrero from a koroua about a traditional form of fishing. I’m constantly in awe with the way our tūpuna (ancestors) lived – they were very on to it!
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Anyway, we came home with three kahawai today and when we were given them we were like WOW – thank-you SO much and YUM! It’s not everyday you get kahawai given to you.
But part of the kōrero that came out was about community living and how back in the day sharing kai in the community was the norm. One whānau would have grown certain types of kai and another whānau would have grown other types and then the kai was shared.
You rarely see this these days so lets start doing it again! Even if it’s just swapping one vegetable or fruit with another vegetable or fruit. It’s a step forward again to living WITH each other.
Right! Off to have a kai of kahawai – yes at 9pm in the evening! Thank-you for the kind whānau that gave us kahawai which by the way was reciprocated with raspberries and kamokamo grown from our own garden.
Arohanui,
Jo x

My Rock

Dear Mum,
It was lovely talking to you today. You always remind me of what’s real, love, unconditional love and what I should be grateful for.
I reminded you today of who I am, as I do each day I talk to you. And we reminisced about the old days when you would come and support me at netball, every Saturday you were there. You always supported me at all my school and sporting endeavours. You were my rock – you are still my rock.
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And even though you may forget me in a moment, I know that deep inside you there are still memories and you know me, you still know me.
And when I hang up and say goodbye and tell you “I love you māma” you say, “yeah” (about five times!) and then you say, “me too darling.”

That’s real.

Embracing that physical body of yours that has endured many things, there is a strong beautiful spirit that still lives and it doesn’t matter if the words you say don’t make sense sometimes because I feel the love, I feel your love māma – and I love you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

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No matter how hard you try to go against the flow of life, the wind will always turn you to the experiences that will carry you forward to do the work you were meant to do.
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Life is not always what we want it to be, and we do not always get want we want but know that you will always have what you need in any moment and life will never give you an experience you cannot manage.
So fly with the wind, trust and believe that you are where you are meant to be.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – 340 days! 25 more days until the end of the year – yipeeee!

Wainui – Reflections of Wai

I was out at Wainui today for a hui and man it was so nice to be by the sea again…
The sound of waves roaring in, the wind blowing a warm blow and feeling the sand beneath my feet and in between my toes, grounded…ahhhh…
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Where have I been all spring? Geez, need to get out and over to the beach more and now that summer has arrived there is even more reason to!
So a wai reflection today. I’ve talked many times this year about the importance of wai to our existence and why we need to look after it not only for ourselves but also for the earth itself.
The sea always reminds me of the distance our tūpuna (ancestors) travelled and also the water that connects us to other lands around the world. Connection is important.
Water also reminds me of who I am, where I come from and my obligation to share my gifts with others.
Arohanui,
Jo x

From The Outside In

This rock is an extension of yesterday’s rock but instead of being focused on the outside, this rock is about looking in.
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Today another part of myself was revealed to me. I experienced again a releasing of the past and oh boy what a wonderful release and realisation it was.
Many of us wonder through life carrying our bag of compulsions on our back. We may drop off some along the way, but if the very thing that brought about that compulsion in the first place is not released, then we will continue to replace it with another.
Until such time as we let go and allow the healing to take place.

When we look our compulsions in the eye and say – I no longer wish to fight with you, I acknowledge you are there and have served me to manage my life this far, but I am strong now and I let you go. This is progress.
So the outer in the world today was reflected inward and I am so grateful for awareness and letting go my desire to be right and in control for just a moment because in that moment – there was my healing…
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Moment of Yearning

I had a deep yearning today to be in other lands, it was only for a few moments but the yearning was SO strong.
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I thought about my time in Turkey and in that moment wanted to be there with the people and the land. And I thought about other places I had visited and felt this deep longing too…
And a yearning for lands I have not yet been but feel a strong pull to go to – other parts of Europe, Scotland, Cornwall – I have a deep longing to visit these places too. And then places in the US, spiritual places I feel connected to…
I cannot fully explain this longing, a sense of sadness, like something was lost, deep hurt and pain…
A feeling for the earth, a longing to heal and relieve the pain. And feeling the pain of the people too – so much happening around the world and all I want to do is embrace it all…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Share

A gift to another – it does not take a lifetime for a gift given to have an affect on another. Sometimes it can happen in an instant where something given or shared can transform someone’s life forever.

It may be a hug, a smile, a surprise visit, an unexpected gift, loving thoughts sent to another, inspiration, words of encouragement, or no words at all…
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When I started painting a rock a day on January 1st 2011, I did not know how much of an effect this would have on people’s lives. My goal was to be creating everyday and I thought if I shared what I was doing with others – great! And I was holding myself accountable to the task by telling the world! So the world was holding me accountable too!
In hindsight, it has been the most wonderful thing – and I’m so happy that at least one of these rocks, photos and stories has had an effect on someone in some way.
We all have gifts to share and one of my biggest fears about sharing this project was, what will people think? But I’m so glad I never let that get in the way and today with 29 more days left in the year – I’ve faced my fears and put these wonderful healing stones out there!
Because they are healing… the stones, the photos, the kōrero… they have all been worth the effort, every day for the past 336 days! So I encourage everyone to share their stories, gifts and art with others because you just never know who might be watching and who might be needing your help.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Majic

Teia comes home from school yesterday and I was playing the beautiful sounds of Majic and her brother Robbie. She goes, “that’s that girl aye?” And I said, “yeah what’s her name?” And she says, “Majic! Aaaaaahhh!” – and a BIG smile on her face.
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Then she says, “she’s rich aye?” Me – “huh? – Just because someone is an awesome singer and has their music on a CD, it doesn’t mean they’re rich.” She accepted that and then said, “she’s famous aye?”

And all I could say was, one day – she will be. The whole world will hear her beautiful waiata and they will love her! And at such a young age there is so much potential ahead in the future…
We were absolutely honoured to have Majic, Robbie and Ropata in our home, just for a day… and in that one day, I was moved and inspired deeply. Speechless.
And for me, this is real, these are beautiful people doing their thing, not trying to be anyone else but themselves, carrying their kaupapa around the motu and eventually overseas and man, that inspires me.
So I just want to say, rā whānau ki a koe Majic – you inspire me, you and your whānau inspire me and I know that when others hear you sing, they will be inspired by you too. Stay true to who you are and keep going after those dreams because like you say – dreams are for free…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – please go and like MajicsMusic page here on FB http://on.fb.me/rLV3L6 If you go to her band profile you will also be able to download some of her beautiful waiata – for free 🙂 And wish her happy birthday for today while you’re there!

Tukutuku Kōrero

I’ve been in a state of excitement and tiredness today. Tired probably because I am full of chocolate haha but excited because I am inspired and uplifted and hopeful for the future.
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Some days are just like nah – so many things happen where you just want to go and have a moe and not do anything, things seem like they’re not going your way and other days are like full of life and energy and always so positive.
No wonder so many people lose the plot sometimes – to be quite frank about it! It’s actually a challenge living life and keeping it all together at times, balanced and focused on life and living life, being happy with all the pressures of everything around you that challenge everyday? Isn’t it?
My gosh – we have got to one of the most complicated beings on this planet and sometimes I think (see I think) if we didn’t have brains or the ability to think too much, life would be so much easier.
But such is the challenge of life ne? We either choose to live it as it is with it’s troughs and valleys or we stumble around aimlessly, lifeless, blaming everything outside ourselves for why life has dealt us such a bad deal.
Get up and get going because life is waiting – for YOU! And while you’re at it can you also take good care of yourself and the environment too. Please.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Waimarie

Tō mātou waimarie kua tae mai ngā reo waiata ataahua kei waenga i a mātou.
Kāore he kupu. There are no words for the beautiful waiata that are gracing our space at the moment. I don’t know how many times I have said this year I am in awe, but this time I really am in awe!
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Kei te paopao te whatumanawa i te ataahua ō ngā waiata. Kei te rongo hoki i te wairua o ngā mātua tūpuna i roto i te ngākau o te tangata. He rawe.
Thank-you Majic, Robbie and Ropata. We are truly blessed today and will be forever blessed. Thank-you for sharing with us your beautiful waiata, waiata that we can feel are who you are. So thank-you for sharing who you are with us. The world is waiting for you all.

Ae, we are truly blessed. Me hoki mai anō.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Majic painted the rock on the left and I painted the rock on the right. And those are Todd’s glass pieces in the foreground. The painting is one I painted over a year ago and have only just pulled out today. I love how all the colours work together nicely, they remind me of the beautiful waiata we have been hearing today – waiata that have moved me to the depths of my being.

Common Ground

You know, some people may be disappointed about a National led govt, I certainly was in the first instance but all that aside, we have some pretty talented, charismatic, intelligent Māori in the house!
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And I think we need to celebrate that.

It’s unfortunate that we’re spread across different parties but this is how we as Māori have existed for years. We are tribal, we have our own kawa, our own tikanga and ways of doing things. And that’s ok. Not to mention our own personalities and personal values.

But from what I can see, there are also areas of common ground. So perhaps this is where we meet? If we all worked together toward these common areas of interest we could actually move forward!

Respect for one another, understanding another’s point of view without compromise for our own views, we can actually bring about change! And if we let go of this desire for power and ego! The next three years are going to be very interesting – for both our existence as humans on this planet and for the planet itself.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Humanity

At the end of the day – we are all human. We feel, we laugh we cry. We all have hearts. So why do some think that their lives are more important than others? Why are we so self-indulged? It’s all about us. It’s all about me me me.
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There is nothing that distinguishes you from me. We might look different, we may speak different languages but underneath these many layers, we all have the ability to feel.

What makes us different is how we choose to perceive each other as human beings. Do we choose in each moment to respond with love, compassion and understanding or do we choose to react in ways that widen the gap between us?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Political Landscape

Well I’ve just returned home from a 60th birthday and I’ve been having a nohi at the election results.
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My goodness, why am I not surprised? National are back in the house but I’m happy for one thing and that is my party vote for GREEN counted tonight.

No longer can we rely on our govt for our health and wellbeing. No longer can we rely on our govt to deliver the things they say they will deliver. No longer can we rely on the govt. Fullstop.
Let us take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. Let’s create our own work, our own opportunities, we do not have to wait for the govt to say go – we can take control of our own lives.
The outcomes of this election have put the importance of my work and my life into perspective. Who I am in this life is now more important than ever – I have work to do!
It’s three more years to the next election in 2014 – let’s hope that our planet survives that far into the future because at the rate we are going, we are going to destroy it before we even get there and if that happens, it will not matter who will be in parliament.
And tonight at the party, those same words reflected on again and again – we must live life fully and enjoy each moment.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Right Now

What matters today, right here, right now?

So many things swishing around in this brain of mine – a realisation that this year is nearly over and in 36 more days it will be 2012!
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My goodness – time is so precious, every day we must embrace, each day has meaning, every minute important and sometimes hard in amongst the storms that blow through now and then.
Today’s rock is from the Mohaka river – a beautiful white-ish stone, slightly textured, small and delicate, a lovely energy. I gathered a few stones from the Mohaka river and some of them carrying shells inside creating patterns within now smooth stones that resemble stories of old.
These two koru, like two pillars that stand side by side – the space in between that allows air to flow through…
Two pillars that give strength to each other and hold up the roof above, a solid foundation…
Much aroha to Di and Pete who celebrate their aroha for one another today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Feeling

I remember the feeling of selling my first piece of art work, there was nothing quite like that feeling! I can’t remember the exact amount I sold the artwork for, it didn’t matter, but that feeling of satisfaction – wow, unbelievable, awesome, yay me!
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How does success feel? I remember playing a national touch final – the hooter goes to signal the end of the game and you’ve won and you know you’ve won a gold medal – but it’s not the medal that matters, its those months of training and hard work that got you there, the journey, the people you spent time with to get there, that feeling of success is unbelievable. I can still feel it now.
What is that feeling when you lose someone you love – painful, sadness, why me? Why now? Devastation. Confusion. Loss feels SO huge. That feeling we all know at some stage in our lives.
I love it when you help someone – that feeling of – yes – this has made a huge difference to someone else’s life, even for a moment.
The ability to feel, to allow oneself to feel…to really feel in each moment, challenging at times, but feel we must…
Arohanui,
Jo x

He Taonga Tuku Iho

I love it when I talk to our old people – they are just a big kete of knowledge.

We visited a lovely koroua today to capture some wonderful kōrero about a traditional Māori way of fishing. It was so beautiful to watch.
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These gifts handed down from our ancestors – these are real taonga – special treasures that need to be shared so that they can live on into the future.
But I can understand the concern of our old people, that these taonga can get lost, not because we don’t share them although this can happen too, but because there is fear that people will want to exploit our culture to make money – fear that they will lose again – what it is to be Māori.
So we were so lucky to be sharing with this koroua something that has been handed down to him and which he is now sharing with his mokopuna. And what wonderful mokopuna he has – all great fishermen, farmers and musicians! An interesting mix!
So honoring our elders today as I have done throughout the year – our wise historians, scientists, teachers, philosophers, parents, grandparents – many whose fame and successes in life have been living life, living with the environment and understanding her movements and ways.
One brush stroke is all that was needed for this kōrero today. Actually it was all I could manage. I was so drained from being at the beach all day but well worth the time – kua kī i te kōrero ataahua – very tired now – currently in Taradale and am posting this rock from Wed – yesterday.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Way of Spirit

When you let go of expectation, it’s amazing at how things turn out. I always feel so enlightened after I’ve painted a rock and have totally let go to the process. There is something about letting go that is so fulfilling and so hard at the same time!
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Most times I think I know what I’m going to paint, why I’m painting it and the story that will go with it but when brush is down and I’m writing my words for the day – most times – it is not what I expected.
And always everything has made perfect sense even though at the time, in my mind it was something else!
Letting go and surrendering to life’s wonder-full ways is often hard to do but when we allow things to unfold as they should, it is pure magic.
Arohanui,
Jo x

40 days

You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free – I was reminded of these words yesterday, words I had learnt many years ago. I am not religious, but these words of Jesus really touch me deeply.
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And as a child I actually had a good relationship with Jesus, I thought he was kinda cool – but not in a religious way.

I am not against religion, people can believe in whatever they want to and I have much respect for Jesus who was for me a man of honour. He was an expression of unconditional love and kindness. He lived and breathed those qualities, they were very much a part of him. And I think that’s wonderful.
So those opening words have obviously been with me for a long time – familiar and something I aspire to everyday, to find the truth within me, my truth…
And you’re probably wondering about the 40 days – another reminder of another story!
The story of the great flood. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. And there are 40 days left in the year and so 40 more rocks to paint. So 40 more opportunities (for this year anyway) to share my stories with the world!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Crescent Moon

Memories of a Crescent Moon…
Sitting high in the sky on a crescent moon is like lying in a hammock, swinging your legs over the side watching the day float by…
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A crescent moon reminds me of a cup runneth over, full to the brim of goodness…
A crescent moon balancing on another crescent moon on another crescent moon…
Like seeds in a pod waiting to hatch to come out into the world, waiting for the full moon…
Ahhhh… there is something wonderful about a crescent moon…
Arohanui,
Jo x

May 6th 2012. This is a link to an interview that my partner and I did with National Radio. In the interview the words above are recited… it was nice to hear these words in this way and gave me a different perspective for my writing…

Sacred Green

Green green green! It’s been on my mind all day today!
I love green – it is one of my favourite colours. I haven’t actually used green for a long time on my rocks because I haven’t had green paint so I just had to mix some green paint today to curb my desire for green!
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Green is a healing colour for me. It’s fresh and calming and there is something about it that makes me come alive.
I remembered playing netball at five years old for our Waipa village netball team. Our uniforms were green – bottle green! So this thought came to mind today as I mixed the green and painted this stone.
This rock is very healing for me – another memory of my childhood embedded in stone, accepting and embracing all parts of me.
Green…sacred green…
Arohanui,
Jo x

In Spite Of

We were just talking tonight about learning in mainstream school and ahakoa te aha – even though there were so many things not good about mainstream school for us as Māori – I learnt to read, write and spell in english – in spite of everything.
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I read today that Te Reo o Taranaki won an award at the Te Reo Māori awards which are happening now – YAY!!… in spite of everything that our whānau have suffered we have managed to revive our reo and keep our reo alive.
In spite of everything, our history, the negativity – STILL – toward Māori, we have survived.
I listened last weekend to kōrero from home at Parihaka and I am so honoured to one of ngā mōrehu o Parihaka – the future generation of an important legacy that has been left to us by our tūpuna.
Yes we must move on and forgive the past and heal ourselves, but we must also honour those who have gone before us, who have paved the pathway forward for us, so that we may tread more easily upon this earth, strong, in dignity and pride.
In spite of everything, we have survived. And life does go on, tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to honour life, to honour who we are and live.
Arohanui,
Jo x
Many people around the world do not know about Parihaka and our history at Parihaka. http://www.parihaka.com/About.aspx Many know about Ghandhi and his stance of passive resistance but before Ghandhi there were our tūpuna – Te Whiti and Tohu – there was Parihaka and the people of Parihaka who still live today to tell their story.

The Weed Garden

You know, I really love weeds and just today we pulled all of our weeds out of the garden but not until the weeds had established themselves overtime and grown into big wild bushes!
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Weeds grow like forests do I reckon – that’s my observation anyway. First these plants grow and then those plants grow until you’ve got a forest of weeds!
Have you taken note when weeds do grow how many special and varied weeds there are? There are heaps and many have pretty little flowers – I especially like buttercups and namunamu which have a tiny purple flower. This plant and many of the others can be used for healing.
The roots of weeds also create space in the soil – they actually help break it down and so when we do eventually pull them out, the soil is nice and loose.
I think I’ve told this story before but I used to grow my lawns until they were long enough to roll around in and until all the dandelions grew – until the landlord told me I had to mow them – well I had my roll around and got my photos of oversized dandelions and daisies anyway!!
Next time you’re out in the garden and you have weeds, leave them a little longer and see what appears – you’ll be surprised at what beauty there is in amongst the weeds.
Arohanui,
Jo x

In Front of My Eyes

I painted this rock today directly in front of my eyes – I held it up in front of my eyes and I painted it there. I wouldn’t normally do this of course but I had just been to the Osteopath and I was consciously holding my spine in place lol!
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Let me just explain that again so it’s clearer. Normally I would place the rock in my hand, on the floor or on the table and I would look down at the rock to paint, but this time I brought the rock up to my eyes and held my posture upright!
It felt kind of strange but at the same time I felt like I was painting from another place… it certainly felt different, everything flowed out onto the rock nicely and when I looked at what I had painted – I thought wow – that is cool!
It made me think about the body and how when we are aligned physically, energy can flow easier, there is less stress and so creativity comes from a more balanced place. I was also thinking, that I will probably paint directly in front of my eyes again because as odd as it was, it felt good at the same time! Other than having to hold my arms in place for a reasonable amount of time!
And I just want to say thank-you to all those who contributed kōrero to yesterday’s kohatu – such beautiful words were shared by everyone – thank-you! I’m actually going to do that again before the week is up so stay tuned for the next opportunity! And of course you can always share a kōrero about the rocks anyway 🙂
Arohanui,
Jo x

Collective Words

Well – one of my lovely friends Jack Gray suggested yesterday that maybe one day, you all should write the kōrero for the rock of the day. And I thought that was a brilliant idea and so did a few others, so I said why not tomorrow which is now today – so here it is!!
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I look forward to hearing all your wonderful kōrero for today’s kohatu – and thank-you to you all who have shared so much already. Yay – can’t wait – so excited to hear all your wonderful words!
Arohanui,
Jo x

On Demand – Not Always

Well today I thought I could just come to my blog and start writing my kōrero for the day but oh no – hullo – 8.30pm, no kōrero, 9.30pm, no kōrero and then 10pm is looming and here I am.

So I thought bugger it, I will tell you about my lack of inspiration right now and my taking it all for granted that I could just come here to my computer and all the words would just come spilling out! Not!
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Day 318 and I’ve hit another writer’s block. There was one day early on in the piece when I had no words – and that is pretty much what I said – I have no words.
So anyway, as you can tell I’m just letting it all come out and talking like I’m having a conversation with you and I just wanted to say if you ever get writer’s block or creative blocks like I’m having right now, just keep writing whatever comes to mind, or just create anything. Have no expectations of outcomes and just do.
This is what I do with my rocks and my kōrero and I must have been trying to push the kōrero out tonight because it just wasn’t coming!
I must say, I do love this kohatu and perhaps no words are necessary, but some days are like this and you just have to go with whatever is in front of you. Right, I feel like I’ve had a big blah out onto this page and am now ready to write again – yes!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Circling Orange

Looking back over the past 316 days I’ve come full circle and gone back to painting koru and circles again. It feels kinda nice actually, back to balance, restoring the passion and motivation that kick started me in the first place.
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When I stop for reflection times like this – each rock a reflection of me, the day’s offerings, emotions, my kōrero and other’s kōrero too…triggers that remind us of something, reminisce, be inspired…
It really does feel like I’ve run a marathon and coming to the end of that marathon, it feels like when you’re at the end of something and you just want it to be over but in the same breath you wanna make it a good sprint to the finish line and give it all you’ve got – and – have time to be thinking about what’s gonna happen next year too!
Wherever I’m going with this kōrero – circles are where it’s at, there is nothing straight forward or linear in life! Things happen in all sorts of ways, unexpectedly, and expected at times but whatever way they happen, there is always the circle to bring us back to where we started, back to balance, arrived at the end which is also the beginning of another page, another time in life’s wonderful web.
Arohanui,
Jo x

In Transit

It’s been one of those days full of stuff! I don’t know what to call it – a mixed lolly bag, four seasons in one day, ups and downs, a roller coaster ride – haaaaa – āpōpō will be different I’m sure – ceremony, quiet, taking stock, redefining, planning, change, change, change…
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It’s one of those troughs where you come to realisations about many things, that life does not wait and you have to take the bull by the horns and just do it – after you get through all the fluff, all the gunk that stands in your way, out the other side, there is the treasure…
So embracing these moments of transit…going to the next level, pushing oneself again but remaining balanced at the same. Not easy but necessary.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ko Tōku Raukura

I ngā rangi tata nei, kua rere atu tōku wairua ki tōku kainga i Parihaka.
Me pēhea te timata i te kōrero nei?
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I’ve just been tuning in back home to Parihaka – Toroānui marae where whānau have gathered for the beginning of Taranaki Tū Mai. I’ve been listening via Te Korimako o Taranaki and have been blown away by the kōrero of our whanaunga Ruakere.
It’s interesting because this kōrero, these waiata are not new to me but there was something about listening to the kōrero this time that really perked my ears up and helped me understand on a deeper level who my tūpuna of Parihaka were and what they stood for.
I am humbled and warmed by the kōrero that flows through the beautiful waiata E Rere Rā and Piukara – kōrero that cannot be explained in depth in english so I won’t even try, but I just want to say that what our tūpuna (ancestors) stood for was real – they were passive resistance personified and they lived this stance for many years and to this day we as a people honour our tūpuna and the legacy they have left for us.
One of the most important things I heard tonight from Ruakere was about bringing out those stories, those stories that our ancestors did not want our children to learn because they did not want to burden them. I agree – it is time to heal from our past, to really understand the legacy that our tūpuna left for us and live it. Really live it.
Perhaps this deeper understanding – “te reka mai o te kōrero”, the essence of what our tūpuna stood for and that they spoke about and left for us in our waiata – perhaps this is our starting point to heal.
Kei te haere tonu ngā mihi ki ngā mate o te wā, otira ki tātou e noho mai ana i ō tātou kainga maha. Pō mārie tātou.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – and how special this day is – the 11th of Nov 2011.

Human Nature

Whenever he sung, he sung from his heart.
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Michael Jackson for me is THE most amazing artist and musician that has ever lived. No-one in my life time has ever come close to him. And I want to honour him today because as I watch the story of his life unfold, I realise he was an amazing human being who inspired many, right from a child to the day he died.
He was one of the most sensitive, cleverest and loving people and he was a real humanitarian, someone who cared about life, about others and about the environment. He was tuned in and unfortunately some people wanted to make a drama of his life because he seemed too good to be true.
Much to his demise also, he was a perfectionist and so he strived to be the best until the day he died. He wanted to be good in the eyes of others and his outward success was to eventually become his fate at such a young age. The pressure and stress became too much.
Why am I writing about this? I’ve just watched Michael Jackson – The Life Of An Icon – a new release on video here in Aotearoa and it puts the record straight, spoken by many of his friends and family who tell his story as it was.
His heart was in his music – he loved to perform, he was caring, he was passionate, he strived to be the best.
And his success did not come from the money that he had, he was always trying to give that away, but it was the music that he made, the songs he sung and the legacy that he will leave for many generations to come.
I remember watching another documentary – This Is It which came out not long after he had passed away. He was practicing for his last worldwide tour. I remember watching this master construct a stage show to perfection – a show which would never be performed live. But I saw in that video the “art” of Michael Jackson, and he was a genius. The words I remember from that documentary, “we have four years…” and I believe he was talking about the state our world is in at the moment.
Beneath our mirror here at home in the bathroom, we have the words, “if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change…”
I see those words everyday and everyday I strive to heal a small part of me. Michael Jackson did not start me on this journey of healing by the way, I have been on this journey for over 20 years but he does inspire me very much and will inspire me for many years to come.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Stories

It’s important to tell our stories. Looking back over the past 300+ days I can see the importance of story as a way of connecting with one another, to be inspired or moved in some way and to add to the conversation and share our own stories.
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It’s the sharing of our stories that helps us make sense of the world. The stories we tell and share that have been fashioned from our own lives, that are then told, passed on and recreated into other stories, new and inspiring.
It’s our stories that give us life.
Stories are a way of understanding where we have come from, who we are, who our ancestors were and where we might go into the future. They are also those experiences from moment to moment that may become stories into the future and that reflect our stories of past.
Stories have a life of their own – they are forever.
There are very little stories or photos of my grandparents, even my mother’s and father’s generation that I can refer to, very little. So it has become more important for me to tell my stories every day as a documentation for future generations.
Stories, told in many ways – through our creations, music, written on paper or just in conversation. But whatever way we capture them we must capture them and share them.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Make Time

I haven’t painted a small rock like this for a while but out of all the rocks that I have painted this year, these tiny ones although small, are the most special to me.
koru hand painted rocks
One of our friends called in tonight, just to have a kōrero and say hi. It’s those thoughts and small gestures of caring and aroha that can make all the difference in our lives. Making time to stop in and spend time with friends or whānau instead of leaving it until next time. Reminding each other that we love each other.
I have all my small rocks lined up in a row on two window sills and it’s wonderful to remember that each one has a story and each one is meaningful for a time, a person a place, but also meaningful for this time too – right now.
So I just want to say, if you have ever been a part of my life up until now, at any time or place – thank-you and if you are ever passing by, do call in because you never know – we may not see each other again.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mihi Aroha

So many things floating around in my mind… actually, whizzing around in my mind right now! Emotions – sad, angry, helpless, confusion, tears, tiredness, grateful, moved, overwhelmed…
koru hand painted rocks
Appreciation for life, for those I have in my life. Remind me to never put off spending time, to show someone you love them… never leave a visit or kōrero to a loved one, until next time… because next time may never come.
It has been a tough few days for many and my thoughts have been at home in Taranaki – at Parihaka and to all those whānau and friends who have gathered to farewell a loved one. My thoughts are also with my ancestors who 130 years ago stood in solidarity and passive resistance as their kainga, their home was invaded.
And most importantly for me right now, I want to end with a big mihi to my niece whose birthday it is today. A young woman who has endured so much in her life already. I am so proud of you darling, for living your life, being there for your whānau the best you can and for having grown into a beautiful young woman. I love you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Power of Now

Flying on a plane in the realms of Ranginui today, the bumps and noise and then moments of smooth – I’ve learnt to ride with it although not pleasant at times, but it does not last forever.
koru hand painted rocks
The Power of Now – this moment is all there is. If I try and will the bumps and turbulence away, it makes it even worse and it feels like forever before it stops and then the smooth times, enjoying those moments wishing all plane rides would be like this and yet I have only ever had a handful of plane rides where there was little turbulence at all!

So even though I know turbulence is a part of plane rides why do I try and will it away or wish I wasn’t in the plane at that moment?
So a plane ride is very much like life – it has it’s ups and downs, turbulence and calm – if we just learn to ride with it, to go with it, to fly and appreciate each moment because NOW is all there is.
And if we appreciate life as it is in each moment, we learn to see in ways we have never seen before, we accept what is which allows us to flow with life and life is like an unfolding – growing, changing, learning…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Made Of Stars

I’ve always loved the stars. As a kid we lived in a village away from bright lights and tall buildings (not that the buildings in Rotorua were tall lol) so the stars we could see from our house were amazing. A blanket of magic…
koru hand painted rocks
I had a wonderful day today (ahakoa te wā pouri) with a group of people from such diverse backgrounds – geologists, biologists, physicists, artists, philosophers, ecologists… who all shared their perspective on the evolution of the earth, time, energy – from the beginning of time as we know it to the present day.
I was totally fascinated and curious of course, asking all sorts of questions and feeling like I was in heaven with a couple of geologists in the crowd (rock knowledge rock knowledge haha!) and picking their brains to buggery!
But it was so exciting to see the connections of science to mātauranga Māori and that somewhere in amongst all this terminology that I can’t pronounce, there is a wealth of knowledge, history and stories that have become so meaningful in many wonderful ways.
I really was a kid in a lolly shop lol – wanting to get as much as I could as well as share a perspective that perhaps at times gets discounted and put to the side…
And I was so happy to hear that all things on this earth including us as human beings contain matter of the stars so we are in essence of another planet, star, space, place in time.
We really are made of stars! I love that! I’m already a star haha!
Sending a big happy birthday to Phoebe who turns the big ONE today. May your life be filled with love and wonder – yes it is all about you – you are the future and I am so happy to be celebrating your life today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mangopare

The first word that came to mind when I was painting this kohatu was mangopare – the hammerhead shark. A symbol of strength and tenacity.

Just as I had finished putting the final touches to this kohatu, I received a phone call from Todd with some sad news.
koru hand painted rocks
I have no words at this time other than I am grateful, I am grateful to have life, to have my loved ones in my life and if you have not told someone in a while you love them – please go and tell them now. Life is so precious and we can lose those we love in an instant.
Sending much aroha and strength to the Wano whānau at this time. Kaore he kupu. Kei te riri au, kei te pouri hoki. Kei te tangi kaha te ngākau i tēnei wā, ka nui te aroha…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Affirming the Earth

I hold the earth in the palm of my hand.
I am 100% responsible for my actions.
koru hand painted rocks
I take responsibility for myself, to treat myself with respect and love.

I take responsibility to care for the earth.
I have the ability to bring about change.
Change begins with me – right now.
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Good Laugh

Don’t you just love a bloody good laugh! You know that deep belly laugh that hurts your puku and you just can’t stop laughing for ages!
koru hand painted rocks
Now I’m not going to tell you what we were laughing about tonight (it’s a surprise and you’ll hear about it in a book later!) but oh my goodness – funny – the very thought of it had us in fits of laughter!
Laughing is SO SO GOOD – it exercises “funny” muscles in your face and puku and releases all these unwanted things that no longer serve us – like stress – and oh my gosh, I’m laughing still right now! You’re probably wondering what at, but not telling…
Just a reminder to keep smiling and keep laughing every day! Go and have a laugh right now, go on! And what should you laugh about? Oh I don’t know, whatever makes you laugh!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ngā Manu Kaitiaki

We’ve had heaps of birds around lately including the tui who are out in full force – I was delighted the other day to see a tui land on our harakeke plant to eat the kōrari (flax flowers) and that was after it had a feed on the neighbours kōwhai tree – my goodness!
koru hand painted rocks
There are many birds that are kaitiaki for me – the kahu (hawk) is one, the tīrairaka (fantail) and the kererū (pigeon) or kūkupa. There are others, but these birds are always on my pathway.

When driving on a long journey, guaranteed I’ll see at least one kahu. With massive wingspans and freedom in flight, I always get excited when I see one, especially when they come close. And having photographed them often over the past five years, there is not one that is like another – they are all unique. Such amazing birds…

And the fantail – the tīrairaka – I see also while on a journey, in the bush or in another place away from home. They often catch me unaware and appear out of no-where. This is an amazing bird to photograph if you can catch it in a still moment but they are the most beautiful birds – just like friends – they are cheeky, intelligent, funny and clever.

And then the kererū – you can hear their wings before you see them, whoooooosh…they’re impressive flyers and beautiful birds with golden coats of glistening green, they are royalty to me and I’ve been privileged enough to have lived amongst them, in the realms of Tāne in their territory, in their forest.
I’ve been priveleged enough to have all of these birds in my life as kaitiaki – as guardians looking over me.
For me they are the link between the physical and the spiritual world, they move in both worlds and are our link to our ancestors and those who have gone before. They also remind us of our aspirations, our dreams and hopes for the future and our ability to fly again.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Right-handed

I started painting this rock today and then I said to myself, stuff it, I’m going to paint this rock with my right hand!
koru hand painted rocks
And so I carried on, painfully at times lol painting this rock with my right hand. I’m left-handed, but there are sports that I can play right-handed such as golf. And I also use scissors with my right hand but the funny thing is, I can only use scissors with my right hand, not my left-hand but I can play a few sports with both hands, on both sides!
Don’t ask me about the scissors bit, I have no idea where that came from! But I reckon my ability to play sports such as golf have been because I hung out with my Dad on the golf course quite a bit as his caddie. He was also a sportsman that dabbled in many sports so it rubbed off on us kids.
So anyway, this rock took me longer than normal – of course – and it was, how should I put it – frustrating at times!! But I realised I need to do it more often because when I had finished, I felt SO different! I felt like I had really achieved something (with a time difference of course!) and my whole being felt different. I also felt like a child painting too which was kinda cool – it was like tapping into my creative child again.

And Todd says it’s the golden egg and I like that too.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Light and Happiness

When I think of red and yellow I remember my assignments I used to do in primary school. Yellow borders of koru and wriggly squiggles surrounding words telling stories that I can’t remember. But I remember the colour and the patterns.
koru hand painted rocks
When I think of red and yellow I remember the waiata (song) – red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue… I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too…listen with your eyes, listen with your eyes and sing everything you see…
Now I don’t actually know if these words are correct but as a child they were right for me at the time, and they are all I can remember!
Red and yellow – my favourite colours when I was a child. They make me happy, I think about sunshine, sunrays, sunlight and energy. These colours strong in my mind, I wonder if our connection to colour changes as we grow? I love red and yellow and painting this rock today took me straight back to when I was a child but now my favourite colours are purple and green…
A lighthearted kōrero today, these colours make me feel light and full of happiness, so sharing light and happiness today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Moment of Reverence

I am always in awe of nature – the rhythms, shapes, colours, sounds, movements…
When you see something in nature that resonates with your soul, that really touches you…how does that make you feel? Like standing at the foot of a majestic mountain, or a raging river, or looking into a flower. Connection…
Today’s kohatu is inspired by the kōrari – the beautiful flower that sprouts from our native harakeke (flax).
koru hand painted rocks
Eight of our nine harakeke plants that we’ve been growing over the past three years have produced beautiful kōrari – I’m so amazed at how beautiful they are! I’ve seen many korari in my lifetime but these kōrari are something else! Or is it that I am seeing with new eyes?
I removed some of the kōrari from the flax bush because I wanted the growth to go into the rau (leaves) and a couple of days later, the flowers opened up and out came this wonderful array of colour! Even after they had been removed from the plant! So I sat and observed nature’s awesome-ness, such reverence, it was a moment of grace for me.
And so when I look at this rock from all angles, I’ve rotated it 360 degrees – it is all of nature. And the stalk – the manawa line, the heart line that runs through the centre and holds everything together, supporting the beautiful flowers, it reaches up to the sky and down into the depths of the earth.

The colours are vibrant and strong, they challenge how I use colour in my paintings and inspire me to find the colours for them. Each turn of the stone reveals a new kōrari, a new kōrero that speaks nature – reflected back to me again and again and again.
Many of you will have a favourite rock but this rock for me is the rock of all rocks.
Day 302 and this rock says everything I want to say about life, who I am, the transformations, the journeys… this is all the rocks I’ve painted so far and all the rocks and stories that are to come.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Recycled Green

Green is one of my favourite colours (with purple) and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I haven’t used green for a long long time! And the only reason I have green today is that this is a recycled rock from the rock pile that already had green paint on it!
koru hand painted rocks
I don’t actually have any green paint in my paint collection right now, perhaps it’s been for a reason but it just hasn’t been there to choose from so when I saw this rock in the rock pile – it was screaming at me – pick me pick me! And I felt like it needed to be a green day today – so here it is.
And this rock has been out in the elements for a while which is why the paint looks quite weathered and worn and peeling off.
So while we’re on the subject of “green” there were lots of calls for being “green” today.
I went out to the compost this morning and got a big shock when I opened the bin and there were heaps of worms all around the edges of the bin, hanging off the sides, inside, outside – there were SO SO many – I’ve never seen anything like it! The warm weather and the rain perhaps but these wormy worms were in heaven!
I weeded the garden today which is hard for me at times because I actually like the weeds, the dandelion leaves that taste great in a salad and some of the pretty weed flowers. It was great to get my hands in the earth again, to be inspired and then be able to eat the lettuce that our hands had grown with Papatūānuku.
And one last “green” thought for the day – sending much aroha to ngā tohorā… There have been strandings of whales in Papamoa today near Tauranga. One of the whales has died and the other two are being helped out to sea again. And the one question that people are probably asking is, are these strandings and the death of this whale because of the Rena incident and the oil spill?
Signs are presenting themselves everyday, mother nature is having her say, enough is enough. No more.
I read a wonderful quote today by Anne Frank – I read the diary of Anne Frank when I was teenager and was very much inspired by this woman’s life. She said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Start now.
Arohanui,
jo x

Listening to Hearts

I visited the Osteopath today – don’t you just love the French, they’re so passionate and expressive when they speak – well this one is anyway!
koru hand painted rocks
Anyway, while he was fixing me up and talking a lot lol, we got onto history and where we come from and I realised that some people just don’t get it and in order to understand, fully understand someone else’s perspective, you really have to put yourself in their feet. And even then, that is hard to do if you don’t feel what they feel.
And that is where the conversation went to – because I was saying that our people have a history and it is hard when that history is in your blood and is a part of who you are and yes we have to take responsibility for who we are today, we must heal from the past, but for most people it is not easy.
He got what I was saying but he wasn’t really listening. He was wanting to share his perspective assuming he knew my perspective but wasn’t really listening.

He made a really good point though about traveling the world and experiencing another land, another culture because it takes you away from your own little hub, your own experiences and history, just for a little while, into someone else’s history. And when we’re there, we realise that we are not the only ones in this world who are suffering, or who have suffered or whose ancestors have suffered, we are not the only ones.
And so the conversation went all over the place and it came back to what we have in our heads and what we have in our hearts. And at the end of the day – what is in the heart is what matters, and if there is something there to heal, then we need to heal it – because our hearts are where we feel and it’s bad enough when we deny how we feel but worse when we have heavy hearts that remain heavy for a long time, sometimes forever.
So I left there with more than what I went for – he is a fantastic osteopath by the way and read my body immediately. I take my hat off to people who can do that in an instant. And as I’ve said, everyone you meet has a message for you and I’m still trying to digest this one as there were so many parts to it!
And one last thing, our conversation ended on common ground talking about water and rocks and rock art and he mentioned a cave in France with some of the oldest rock art in the world. I have heard about this and will visit there one day. And our conversations about art and being an artist weren’t for nothing because when I was leaving, he says, I’m not an artist, but I am starting to paint more and more… and in that moment I heard his heart and I realised that my listening to him go on and on lol enabled him to get to that heart place and what he really wanted to say… and it was such a relief!
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Artist’s Way

I’ve been fully aware that ever since I returned from overseas, the rocks I have painted have definitely taken a turn. No longer do they always begin with the koru, they are now starting from anywhere.
koru hand painted rock
A part of that for me was about stepping out into the unknown, letting go of what I thought was the only thing I’ve known and allowing something different to come through.
It was about trusting, taking a risk and as I near the end of the year for this project I remember that first day in January – oh boy, that first day was such a huge risk – my self-imposed risks of rejection, criticism and not being good enough, I have traded these for acceptance, change and growth. I’m so glad I took that risk.
This rock I’m dedicating to my friend Jacq who lately has just blossomed with her creativity! She is following the path of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron which some of you may know, but as long as I’ve known her she has always been an artist at heart like many of us – she has just rekindled that fire again to create. And I’m sure she’ll agree it is so good for your soul.
So here’s to the artist’s way and creativity and all artists around the world who choose the path less travelled! Art is not about creating good art in the eyes of others. Art is personal, it can be whatever you want it to be and the most successful art, is art from the heart because that is the art that is enduring and the art that people will remember.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Dolphin Dance

Listening to my ocean music today, I painted this rock. Hearing the waves, the flow of water and dolphins playing and singing beneath the sea…
There is something about dolphins that move me – perhaps their friendly loving nature, I feel like I’ve known them many times before…
koru hand painted rocks
And they are becoming more frequent in my thoughts especially since I dreamt of a dolphin migration a few rocks back…
Yesterday, I had a sudden overwhelming desire to be home – home being in Rotorua where I was born, where my Te Arawa roots are, my mother’s strong lineage…and Taranaki by the sea, our mountain and land so spiritual…but I also had a desire for another home…
So the dance of the dolphin I was listening to today, it took me to many lives ago, in another time and place and hearing the dolphins sing and seeing them dance in my mind as I listened, it took me to a place so familiar – home.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Collective Exhalation

So we’ve won the Rugby World Cup which is fantastic – you can feel the energy around the country at the moment. There were thoughts today about how the country would be if we had lost – I’m pretty sure the energy would have been a lot different!
koru hand painted rocks
But celebrations aside, we have a real game on our hands not just here in Aotearoa, but around the world. Our environment needs us and our environment needs us now. And right now I’m sending much aroha to all those affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey – such contrasts in our world, celebrations in one direction and devastating loss in another.
I watched the live coverage in downtown Auckland today, the All Blacks were doing their victory lap and thousands of people had come out to celebrate. Add to that the thousands around the rest of the country too.

I can’t help but think if we all collectively gathered together, had one big collective inhalation and then a collective exhalation just as we felt last night when the All Blacks finally won, what if we shared that same positive energy into other areas that need attention. What would happen then?
There was a post here on FB last night while the rugby was on about child poverty – and the question was asked, why has our country allowed child poverty to come this far and all I want to say – change is driven by emotion, you can’t tell people what to do.
So if we look at all those passionate rugby supporters, what is it that drives them to support rugby so much and how can we transfer that same energy, that same passion, into bringing about change in the world?
Yes we desire change, but a desire for something does not make it happen. Change begins with us and if we are truly honest with ourselves about the change that needs to happen within then I believe the world would be a better place. Respect for one another, for self and love.
Arohanui,
Jo x

All Blacks

So this is the day! We’ve just finished pizza and are now getting ready for the game of the year – the All Blacks vs France!! It’s going to be an exciting game I know that much!!
koru hand painted rocks
So why rugby for me? Why am I so interested in this game, why am I interested in rugby in general, why is the country rugby mad?
Why rugby for me?
Because it is in my blood. Rugby has been a part of my life since I came into this world. Both my parents are sports fanatics, Dad actively involved in many individual and team sports and Mum who has always supported our sporting endeavours for as long as I can remember!
And rugby? Dad was a representative rugby player and a coach and Mum has got to be one of the most supportive All Blacks supporters I’ve ever known! No matter what the time of day, she’s there in front of the TV supporting our team.
So it IS in my blood. Sport is in my blood. And this is why I am watching rugby. This is why I support the All Blacks and watch this game. I also remember my parents, the support they have given rugby and the support that they have given me as a sportsperson.
THIS IS WHY I WATCH THE ALL BLACKS.
So if you don’t want to see my status updates during the game, then temporarily unsubscribe from them and yes there are other things that we could be focusing on right now, such as Rena and earthquakes and the state the world is in at the moment and they are not out of my mind for good, but when this game is on, there will be nothing more important. This IS something to celebrate as far as I’m concerned!
So C’MON the All Blacks!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Two Stones

I’ve painted two stones today – one for my darling niece Rawinia who turned 10 today (left rock) and one for my dear friend Di. Ngā mihi aroha ki a kōrua i tēnei rangi whakahirahira!
So I have two stories that merge into one because when I painted these I painted both at the same time so both stories are contained in each of the stones…
koru hand painted rocks
For Rawinia:
I remember when you came into this world, you waited for everyone to go and then you came out! So I missed your entrance into this world, but I remember you were so tiny and beautiful. With eyes like greenstone you were sensitive and alert.
At two years old I remember you bossing your older sister around – you told her to get in the garden and help Koro – you were definitely assertive then. You loved being with Koro in the garden and you and your brother have always been wonderful grandchildren for Koro and Nan.
I also remember a big mop of curly hair you had, you loved having it all out, you would never tie it up! You love roaming up the road and playing at your friends house, just like your mother and I used to be when we were kids.
And now you are 10 and will be a teenager soon… you have grown so fast – 10 years have gone so fast. Your birthday helps me remember how precious life is and how much we need to treasure those we love.
Sending you all my aroha on your special day my darling and see you soon!! xxx
For Di:
Unfolding koru, like unfolding life, taking me on a journey into the unknown, revisiting past lives and places…
Knowing self, rolling with the waves and the clouds, two sides to the story, balance of all that is seen and unseen, mind, body and spirit all coming together as one.
Releasing into this journey, a new journey that is not just mine but all those that have lived before and all those that are to come. Past, present and future merge as one…
A sacred journey I am, life, I appreciate every moment… rā whānau ki a koe Di xxx
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Sound of Trees

We went to the beach today – it was a beautiful day and there were so many bits of driftwood laying about all over the place! I was in heaven, waves lapping into shore, a chillybin full of food (well not exactly – but there were two blocks of dark chocolate!), a good book to read and a beach full of driftwood!
koru hand painted rocks
I sat in one place for a while, grabbed a stick and started to play on the many pieces of wood that lay around. Where did they drift from? What kind of wood is this? How old is this tree? A different sound resonated every time I hit a different piece of wood, I was excited to hear the next sound each time. Had this wood drifted from Australia, what forest did it come from?
All these thoughts wondering through my mind as well as the concern for the rubbish that I would spot in between pieces of wood – some people just have no respect…
And what also fascinated me were the shapes and colours of these bits of wood. I’ve brought some home, (to add to the rest of the collection!) to explore the natural patterns of nature lightly etched into the wood or deeply ingrained – it’s always been there – but amazed as usual at nature so beautiful, flowing shapes that make you feel real beauty. You know how beauty makes you feel, when you see it – well that feeling!
So I have my sticks, new ideas, smelling like the sea, inspired to share more messages about Water and Trees and the importance of looking after our environment. Now is the time to pay attention.
Arohanui,
Jo x
I deliberately posted this out of focus photo – sometimes you can feel the beauty or see the spirit of something when your eyes are slightly out of focus…

Yellow

I felt like I was in a scene from Finding Nemo when I was painting this lol Like a whole lot of seaweed or hair or grass growing from the earth but under the sea…
And then the bit at the bottom, like little seeds ready to sprout to push up through the surface, getting ready to rise and bear fruit.
koru hand painted rocks
Yellow is everywhere right now – bright and sunny! On the kitchen bench at one time there was pineapple, lemons and dandelions that Teia had just picked and then when I placed this rock there, it fitted in perfectly.
So what does yellow mean and what kind of emotion does it bring out or express? Right now, it certainly isn’t a mellow yellow colour for me where you chill out with it – I don’t feel like chilling out at all – but it is bright, the future is bright and brightens a room – amazing what yellow can do!
And it’s everywhere right now… spring, even the pollen that gets stuck in corners and ends up on cars is yellow…
Hopefully! A sign that summer is just around the corner. But you never know these days, you just can’t seem to predict the weather, the seasons have changed, it’s time to be ready for whatever and yellow seems to bring some hope for the future even where the future is uncertain.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Always a Reason

People are brought into your life for a reason – you may know them for many years or you may meet for a few moments in conversation, in the street, but every person has an important message.
koru hand painted rocks
As a teenager, I rarely paid attention. I was too busy living my life to even see opportunities for learning but not long after when I did start to pay attention, I realised that every person I met had a story and somewhere in that story was a message for me – another step in my journey.
When I look back, the signs are even more clearer but at the time they were not so obvious. And these lessons would present themselves over and over until I learnt them!
But when I look back, there are no regrets for not learning at times because I understand now that I was simply not ready to receive.
But when I was ready – boy did life speed up (in a good way!) and so many wonderful things have happened since then. The past has made me the person I am today, as hard as it was sometimes – these experiences have made me strong and resilient.
So whenever I’m out and about, I’m always on alert for opportunities to learn, even when sitting in a crowd and tuning into conversations and what is happening around me. And I ask myself, how does this make me feel? Every moment there is something to learn and every person no matter who it is, where you meet them, when, why, how, they have a message for you!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Digging for Treasure

Teia says to me, that’s not a lot of paint on there and Todd says, wow that’s different lol Even the people I live with have expectation of what my rocks should or could look like and so when something looks a lot different to what I usually paint… it stands out.
koru hand painted rocks

And yet I feel very comfortable painting this. This rock feels old, and the symbols feel old, like rock art left in caves, on rocks, on trees as reminders of times gone by…stories of old…

I’ve been reading a lot about Lumeria, Atlantis and Avalon and feel a strong connection to my Celtic roots. I’ve been wanting to explore more the Celtic symbols and stories and in looking back to when I was a child, I’ve realised I’ve been drawing these symbols all my life and now I’m starting to understand them…

Another journey in the future to a far away land is on the horizon, a heart and soul connection – reconnection with a part of who I am…

And the digging for treasure – Teia and I went digging in the garden today just outside her bedroom window. A while back her crystals fell out and we became archaeologists today to excavate the site and find the hidden treasures. We found many things including lots of worms and four of the five crystals she had lost! So it was a successful day! We will set out on another mission during the week to find the other one!

So all our crystals are now outside getting a good dose of rain – we’ve had four seasons in one day today! We gathered some sea water from the beach this morning to bathe the crystals in and then the sun came and charged the water ready for cleansing and now – rain! Perfect – all the elements coming together…

Arohanui,
Jo x

Moments Remembered

So many things I could talk about today…
The way the kōwhai flowers from the neighbours tree fall onto our driveway creating a bright yellow carpet, soft…
koru hand painted rock
The kōrari (flax flower) – I love, it’s bends and curves and many colours, it stands poised like a dancer, elegant and graceful…
A conversation with my mother is never a dull moment – she makes me laugh, sad and hurt all at the same time…I miss her, I miss her early morning calls to me to see if I am ok, even at my age…
My sisters who I share conversation with, conversations that I can have with no other…
And the comforts of home, of partner, of children, of family, the familiar in life where you know that it is ok to be you no matter where you are…
Laughter at the simplest of things and children… so in the moment and enjoying life…
Planning for the future – so much to think about, but actually it’s really quite simple! Know who you are and what you want and then it’s easy to make decisions – going through my mind today… sorting out the purpose from the clutter…cleaning out…letting go…
Life – full of moments to remember… each experience, each thought, each moment moving into the next, a constant flow of life, continuous and changing, changing, forever changing…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Equanimous

Now I know I’ve got a bit of a challenge posting this rock tonight because I will be competing with at least half the country watching the All Blacks vs Australia game, which also means most of Australia too and a good portion of the rest of the world who will wait anxiously to know who will play France in the final.
koru hand painted rocks
And I must say, I’m slightly nervous despite not following rugby all year, I’m still nervous! There is a lot of confidence in the All Blacks tonight, but I’m not so sure… there is just something about them that I’m not confident about!
Perhaps it is there inconsistent history of stuffing it up at times (am I being too negative?) or just that feeling that it is going to be a close game…
But what I want to say is… I watched all those Welsh rugby fans at the Millenium stadium and saw the looks on their faces when Wales had lost the game. Some were crying, some were utterly shocked, some got angry and took it upon themselves to settle the game off the field, but none-the-less, there was a lot of emotion involved.
And this is the feeling here in Aotearoa too. You can’t go far without seeing an All Black flag flying somewhere! All Black fever is well and truly alive here in Aotearoa and all I want to say is that expectation of ourselves and “our” team, is SO SO high. And what happens when our expectations aren’t met and we lose, we go into mourning for two weeks (Todd says more like two years) and it affects many on a deep emotional level.
So all I want to say is (and you probably don’t agree or don’t want to hear this but that’s ok!) expect nothing, enjoy watching the game, and whoever wins wins… and here is the big one… it is just a game! The sun will rise again tomorrow, there will be another world cup and we will… eventually… get over it… but that’s if we lose!
And if we win, we celebrate for the next two weeks, two years… but it is still just a game! And the sun of course will rise again tomorrow…
So I’m trying to be as equanimous as possible going into this game, I’m neither here nor there, no expectation and WILL accept what is… well that’s the plan! Breathe in, breathe out! Haha…
Arohanui,
Jo x
He nui tonu ngā whakaaro ki a Tauranga moana. Me mihi atu hoki ki ngā tāngata e awhi ana kia whakatika i tō tātou moana.

Stars of the Sea

We’ve just got home from Taradale so I’m posting my rock that I painted yesterday…
There’s a party going on inside this house and I’m out in the garage painting my rock for the day…
koru hand painted rocks
It reminds me of a starfish with all it’s arms (or legs); amazing little creatures that look stiff when you see them on the side of a rock but I imagine they move quite gracefully with their water vascular systems that actually help them move through water…
Like many of our ocean’s creatures they are so important for the ocean’s ecology, intricately woven into life’s cycles, systems and beauty. There are many stars of the seas, each with their own patterns and shapes adding to the richness and diversity of life…
And at the end of each arm, they have an eye that sees and feels their way through light and dark……
We often forget about the intricacies of nature, the amazing stories it has to tell and the amazing creatures that inhabit this place we call earth. Next time we’re at the beach, or in the forest or in the garden, look at a sunflower, a ladybug, a sea urchin and ask – what part does this have to play in life?
Arohanui,
Jo x
Thanks to the Dobbie whānau for looking after us last night as we celebrated Kahurere’s 2nd birthday! : )

 

 

No Name

When choosing a photo of a rock that I’ve painted, I don’t necessarily choose the best looking photo but the photo that portrays how I feel and what I want to say at that time. And most times it’s the best photo!
koru hand painted rocks
This photo speaks volumes about a journey that I am on. It is a lonely pathway, one that feels like people are looking at you funny, either that or they’re going in a totally opposite direction.

This journey is about speaking your truth, being who you are, acknowledging feelings and emotions and knowing who you are. We’ve become reliant on external environments to reward and acknowledge us and dictate to us the lives that we should live. We crave recognition and attention from others, if only we would recognise ourselves…
I don’t even know what to call this rock today, it’s a spiritual journey full of many things – and I’m far from lonely on this journey, so I’m not going to call it lonely. Although at times, I do feel like I’m on a totally different waka… but such is life I guess, we’re all on a waka going somewhere and some of us know where we’re going and some of us don’t.
Arohanui,
Jo x
Feel free to name this rock – right now it is called “No Name” because I just don’t feel like naming it, but I’m sure it will have a name soon 🙂

Mokopuna

koru hand painted rocks

I thought it was about time for a change of scenery – looking at all those devastating images of oil on the beach and wildlife – now dead – can get a bit depressing after a while… but it is the reality at the moment…so very very sad, devastating, you can only try and express the feelings that are conjured up by this…and I’m not even there. I watched and cried as people cried, their lives affected so deeply, no longer being able to go to the beach to gather kai – food source now gone. Many wildlife, now gone.
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Mokopuna is the Māori word for grandchild and when you break the word down there are many other words within the word mokopuna. There is moko, there is puna, there is kopu, mo, ko, pu, na so many meanings within this one word.

They are the spring that comes forth into this world, the next generation, the future… a spring of water, a puna, that comes up from the earth as life and wellbeing for people and for the earth. Mokopuna are so important and when we think about moko, the art of Māori tattoo as being something that is very much a part of us, that we celebrate, our art and creativity, mokopuna is embedded in this too…

So I thought I would share some of the words in mokopuna and their meanings…

mokopuna / moko – grandchild

puna – to well up, flow, spring, well, pool

moko – Māori tattoo

kopu – belly, womb (often referred to for wahine)

mo – for, for the benefit of

ko – here, now, in the future, to sing, to dig

pu – blow gently, flute, lie in a heap, root, base, origin

I felt the need to share something beautiful today and what better than another example of our Māori language – conceptual, eloquent, connected and beautiful.

Rā whānau ki a koe Kahurere Moana – kua huri ki te rua i te rangi nei – yay! Ka kite akuanei!

Arohanui,
Jo x

Outside the Koru

I remember when I first started painting kohatu 13 years ago – I would always start with the koru and then everything would flow from there. For a while, I did not sway from this, I was tūturu to the koru, the whakaaro behind the koru, it’s meaning, beauty, balanced shape, it was also very healing for me to paint.
koru hand painted rocks
But there are some things that after a while need to change. It’s a bit like our traditions and values that we hold on to so tightly because they guide us and teach us the right way of doing things and in many cases, this is THE way.
So this kōrero is about that – letting go of those beliefs because this is all we’ve known and this is what we’ve believed to be true for us. And after letting go, what remains is me… no imposed beliefs or values, just me. And in a sense we become the koru by stepping outside it’s boundaries. A new beginning, a new life…
So we start afresh, we gain another perspective, another horizon that offers us more than what we ever experienced before.
With new eyes, new ideas, a new way of being… therein lies potential. Potential to go beyond what is, potential to heal and really live. Really live.
And it is from this position I believe, this going outside the boundaries of culture and tradition that we can bring something different, that we can overcome those very things that keep us bound.

Change can only come from new perspectives, seeing outside our comfort zones and exploring new ways of doing things. But not without it’s risks or reactions; especially from those we look up to, from those who we respect and who respect us, so change not without risk of losing all that you hold dear. But only to become everything that you are and ultimately having the ability to share this with others.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Black Gold Turned To Custard

Oil. Slimy, greasy black pile of fresh cow dung substance, you remind me of tar – melted on a hot day. You smell SO disgusting, how could I possibly be addicted to you? Why do I treat you as necessary?
koru hand painted rocks
Imagine a large drill penetrating deep; deep into your being, affecting every part of you – mind, body spirit, tampering with the balance, unable to stand the pressure, the pain, like a sharp sharp needle… so sharp you shake uncontrollably, unable to bear the pain…destroying your beauty, who you are…
Oozing with greed and ego, nasty nasty human nature – how could you be so cruel? How could you have such disrespect, how could you take from that which gives you life? How could you be so ungrateful?
And it’s all coming back to you now, your greedy ways, spilling out at the seams for all to see, revealing how greedy you are, money money money… is that all that matters to you? Do you not feel? You of all people should know, what goes around comes around…signs of change, a revolution, a change is on the rise and you, greedy greedy humans, you will pay the price.
Arohanui,
Jo x

On My Mind

I was low on energy today but was very inspired by a host of wahine Māori on Native Affairs tonight who are either politicians in Parliament or aspiring new politicians – all very strong women.
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It was pleasing to see and made me think, if we had more wāhine Māori in Parliament, not only would we have a powerful and vocal Parliament but we would have a dynamic group of wāhine leading our country – yes!
I’m also very concerned about the oil spillage in Tauranga and the effect that this is having on the environment and the people in Tauranga Moana right now. Come on! Surely this is a wake up call? Surely?
And my last whakaaro – now that I’ve settled from last night’s win by the All Blacks, I must say that I wasn’t just cheering for the All Blacks I was also cheering for Wales and France and was equally passionate about these games – something my competitive sporting upbringing has instilled in me!

But if our country and our Government invested as much time, effort and energy into the environment and the health of our people as they do in rugby, then imagine what our country would be like?

And yes I was caught up in the hype of it all, but the reality is, there are so many other things that are much more important – our environment is at the top of that list. While the All Blacks were playing Argentina, there was another earthquake in Christchurch, while the All Blacks were playing Argentina, there was an oil leak happening in Tauranga moana.
Where do our priorities sit for the future? And will we listen to the environment and will we listen to the people?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Focus On Healing

This is another post I’ve been wanting to share for a while.
We live in a disease focused society, a struggle mentality, victim mode, especially here in Aotearoa where we have a history of colonisation – something that has had a huge impact on Māori and ultimately the rest of the country.
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We are so focused on being the ambulance at the bottom of the hill, putting a band aid on the problem rather than getting to the root of problems and turning our focus to healing.
I’m so fascinated by new discoveries in biology that tell us our genes do not create our biology but rather our perceptions, beliefs and our responses to the external environment. So when we say cancer is in our family, if genes do not determine whether your whanau has cancer or not, it has to be a belief that has been handed down and not the actual gene itself. Fascinating stuff, but this is not new knowledge! Science is just catching up I believe!
I heard a frightening statistic just the other day and that is that seven women in Aotearoa every day are diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s scary and I can’t help but think, what is the belief system, what has gone on inside that woman to cause this imbalance within the body to bring about this cancer? And it’s an imbalance in one of the most complex systems there is – the human body. But if we can create this disease and imbalance within our own bodies then we also have the ability to fix it – without medical intervention. I believe that.
So what I’m saying is: get out of the struggle, the victim mode, get out of the poverty mentality and start writing the new stories, change your beliefs, start healing self and lets sing the new songs, those songs that help us heal, that move us forward, onward and upward – positively – into the future.
And the healing always begins with me because my healing is also healing for others. Yes, the healing begins with me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Living Matrix

Today’s rock is full of things… life’s many intricacies…
koru hand painted rocks
I started the day listening to Steve Job’s kōrero at Stanford University. I’ve listened to this many times…but I want to share some of those words as I feel they are important for the time.
“Sometimes lifes gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith…
You’ve got to find what you love… and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle as with all matters of the heart you’ll know when you find it… so keep looking, don’t settle.
If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today, and whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something… almost everything, almost all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away…leaving only what is truly important…”
I started watching “The Living Matrix” today. It’s an amazing documentary that challenges the medical world to expand it’s thinking on human biology, health and wellness. This has been a lifelong interest for me; alternative forms of healing, healing through energy, meditation, self-healing and understanding that we ARE energy.
I can go on and on about this. I have experienced healing in my own life and in the lives of others as well. And none of that healing came about as a result of medical intervention.

I want to finish with three things. Belief – belief that you can heal, and that your body has the ability to heal. Intention – your conscious intention to heal is important. I have seen the power of intention in my own life and it is very powerful – instant at times. Mind – your mind is a powerful tool and it alone can heal.
Today I choose to heal myself with intent and purpose. I believe I can heal myself and I feed my mind positive thoughts to make it so. Yes, thoughts do become action and action is healing.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – you MUST watch this DVD. It is out at good video stores now in Aotearoa and you should be able to buy it online somewhere.

One Day

When opportunity knocks be prepared.
I learnt a big lesson tonight, I learnt to be prepared, as opportunity can present itself at any time and at any place!
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I went along to Green drinks with Metiria Turei tonight and it was fantastic. No big huha, just an informal evening, sharing conversation with others and meeting new people. Metiria Turei spoke briefly and so did the local candidate for the Greens Darryl Monteith and then the night was left to socialising, mixing and mingling.

I’m glad I went along because I got to mix with a group of people I don’t normally mix with, I got to speak personally with Metiria Turei for a while which was fantastic – she is such a wonderful woman and I’m so glad we have her strong voice in Parliament and I got to see an old school mate who I haven’t caught up with for over 15 years – at least! So it was a pleasant evening.
One Day – It’s that famous song sung by Op Shop’s lead singer Jason Kerrison and he was there tonight!! He was singing that song and he sung four other acoustic numbers from the Op Shop repertoire – oh my gosh – it was so cool, a really nice surprise for the evening and I could have kicked myself!! I left all my cameras at home and the setting was perfect to capture this on film, nice light and oh my gosh a beautiful waiata – five beautiful waiata. And nicely complemented by local artist Dion Whaanga.

So a lost opportunity there and you have to know me, to know why I feel gutted about this, like I missed a really good opportunity because I did – BUT! To redeem myself there were other wonderful conversations had during the evening, so not all was lost!
So be prepared for opportunities as you just never know where they may appear!
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Cheetah Verses the Teacher

Who do you reckon wins? The teacher of course!
I’m totally and absolutely convinced now that school squashes children.
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School here in Aotearoa is a regimented colonial SYSTEM that is all about fitting children into boxes, preparing them for the workforce for a lifetime of conformity.
Todd and Teia spent three days making her a mask and costume for her fancy dress evening. She was going to be a cheetah as they were doing a study on Africa. And then she came home from school today – her teacher said, they have to be people from Africa and they will all have the Tanzanian flag painted on their faces and headbands around their heads.
I was SO angry! I’m still angry… because she has actually LEARNT that fitting in means acceptance. And different means self-consciousness because you stand out and people look at you funny. How could a teacher not promote difference and embrace a child’s own uniqueness? Why, but why do children have to be constantly fitted into such a tight fitting box that many are challenged trying to fit into because they BELIEVE they should and have been told they should but their spirits speak otherwise? Why?
There was another young girl we knew on stage with another class. We remember her as a lively, energetic, bouncing three year old and then we see her on stage – as a queen, shy, walking across the stage, quiet and reserved. Potential and uniqueness of that child – squashed.
I remember all of this at five years old. That was over 30 years ago. Nothing has changed in the teaching world. And no disrespect if you are a teacher – I know how hard you work, but mainstream school systems here in Aotearoa are just not right for our children. And if there is one teacher out there who can embrace being different and allow children to be who they are, you will make all the difference for that child in the future – believe me.
Theoretically, the cheetah should win over the teacher by a mile. But children, look up to teachers. Everything they say is gospel – even when it’s not. So if you’re a teacher, remember your every word, and everything you put out there because that child is taking it all in.

And please remember to tune in to each child and understand who they are and allow them to teach you what it is they need to learn, when they need to learn it and how.
Arohanui,
Jo x

I Remember

I started writing today about all the things I remember as a child…
I remember as a little girl, my mother tying my hair in a plait. Sometimes she would brush it and then curl it into little ringlets…
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I remember when I was four years old, walking hand in hand across the road with my big sister to kindy.
I remember when I was three years old, my brother came to stay and he and his wife had their new baby boy who was only very tiny. I was in awe at the sight of him.
I remember on my seventh birthday – my sister gave me a big doll, she was actually bigger than me! I forgot her name, she had a name but I forgot it. I remember what she looked like though.
I remember on my fifth birthday – I had a big birthday and all my friends came. I had a cake that was a doll, a ballerina cake and she had a beautiful blue dress on.
I also remember my fifth birthday at kindy. I had a big sign around my neck that said five! I thought I was very cool!
I remember driving in the car with my Mum and Aunty Leah. I had my favourite brown and yellow jersey on. Aunty Leah was driving, Mum was in the passenger seat and I was sitting in the back leaning over to the front. We didn’t wear seat belts in those days – well I don’t remember wearing one or even having a seat as a child! I was on top of the world that day. I must have been about five or six or seven then too I reckon.
I remember our garden – it was full of cabbage and other vegetables! But I remember the cabbage! Dad was a great gardener and so was Mum… Mum loved flowers, she loved to plant flowers and Dad’s thing was veges. We always had chow mein for kai!
I remember wagging school one day in primary school. It was so dumb I never did it again.
I remember when I was six, I had to get up in front of the class and talk about my trip to Fiji. I balled my eyes out and couldn’t bring myself to talk in front of the class.
I remember getting told off for playing the piano in primary school. I remember getting told off by my music teacher for yawning and got sent out of the class.
I remember us kids dancing on the front lawn, playing up the road at the park, it was so easy to keep ourselves occupied. I don’t remember watching TV much as a kid.
I remember going to stay at my friends place when I was little. I loved stayovers and eating at the table as a family. We used to have yummy kai and do some cool things. I would get homesick now and then though… I missed the familiarity of home sometimes.
The things I remember as a child – just like they happened yesterday. And these memories are a very very very tiny part of my memories… What do you remember?
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Part of the Whole

I wonder sometimes after I’ve painted a rock – now where did that painting come from? There is nothing particularly exciting about what I have painted today, in fact it looks like a whole lot of painted shapes slapped onto the rock lol But I’m ok with that…now… at the beginning of the year it would have been a different story! And it’s just as much about the process…
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But then when I place it somewhere to take a photograph, everything comes together nicely and my trust in the process has never been let down by a painted rock, a photograph and a story that somehow work together – everytime.
So gathered in this photo are many things including te Rā who has cast his warmth over the whole scene to create shadows and shapes that fall all over the place.
And what seemed to be a randomly painted kohatu was not so random after all and has found it’s place in the greater scheme of things…
Sometimes we can feel like this – we feel insignificant in the world – what I do as one person, how could that possibly make a difference? How can what I do make a difference?

But if we see ourselves as being a part of the whole, then what we do in our lives is SO important. We are the most important person in the world, because we have an effect on everything.
And if this is true, if I have the ability to change the world, then perhaps I should start with me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

90 days

I’m coming to the end of my fourth decade – so do the calculation if you want! Well actually I’m a couple more years away but I feel like my life is just beginning… I really do!
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I’ve been through so many healing journeys over the past years, in fact my whole life has been one healing journey. But I really do feel like life is just beginning and it’s exciting!
And at the same time I feel there is more healing to do… so these last 90 days of the year are a conscious effort to heal a part of me each day, to really look at myself and know myself from the inside out.

I remember a meditation teacher saying to me 10 years ago, “You’re a sucker for punishment!” because I kept coming back – course after course after course and those who know Vipassana meditation will know that it is not easy! But I experienced a lot of healing in that time and always knew that healing for me would be lifelong.
So here I am! 90 more days of the year to go, more healing to do, more letting go, more releasing of what no longer serves me or anyone else, and inviting the new…and I feel like these 90 days are the most important 90 days of my life.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just Observing

It’s one of those days where I’m neither here nor there…just observing… being quiet within myself and just being.
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The sun came out today, so was nice to feel warm again, just for a moment…
I’ve painted my rock earlier today; the All Blacks are playing Canada shortly and the WARRIORS are taking on Manly tonight in the final of the NRL so I know no-one in Aotearoa and probably Australia will be on Facebook to be reading about the rocks lol but of course the rocks must go on!
I haven’t watched a lot of rugby or league this year, in fact this is the first league game I’ve watched but there is a bit of hype around the country at the moment with sports and it’s hard not to get on that waka – she says from a position of neither here nor there!
Right now, I’m here and there with the All Blacks and Warriors!
So anyway, that’s me. From tomorrow there are 90 more days in the year so 90 more rocks to paint, 90 more photos to take and 90 more stories to tell.
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Free Flowing Words

I decided to write about today’s rock by looking at the rock, seeing and feeling what I had painted and then writing…
koru hand painted rocks
Ripples, layers, peeling off unwanted memories of times gone by…
Orange – vibrant energy spreads like wild fire, exploding into something new…
Lines of the land, stretches of vast landscapes, pathways that lead to somewhere – but where?
History repeats itself, remembering lost ones, times gone by, but time to move on…
Bursts of creativity spreading in new directions, new pathways, more risks, different…
Orange – progress, the colour of energy, vibrant energy, spreading, spreading…
Arohanui,
Jo x

What Next?

It’s a great feeling to achieve something. To finish a project or an art work, to achieve a goal that you have had for a while – it is SO satisfying.
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But do you ever feel once you have achieved something, a kind of emptiness or a what now feeling like huh, that’s over, what am I gonna do now?
It’s great to celebrate once you have achieved a goal – to take a step back and admire the work you have done. But it’s just as important to set the next goals and know where to from here. Because sometimes we can be unsure of what to do with ourselves once we have achieved something. It’s great to achieve a goal, but what happens next?
So it’s important to have goals on the go all the time! And when you do it enough, you get good at it and you’re always thinking ahead into the future, being prepared, but being forever in the present with it all – if that makes sense! Very important – staying present with it all!
Arohanui,
Jo x
A burst of energy and colour today in this rock. My intention was to just brush the paint on in a relaxed kind of way…enjoy the weekend wherever you are in the world!

Dam!

I’m painting this rock today for Brazil and the Xingu indigenous people who are fighting to protect their indigenous lands from the Belo Monte damming project that has been approved by the Brazilian president. The Belo Monte dam project will be lethal and will cause widespread flooding to indigenous lands and rainforests. It will displace thousands of people and have huge effect on the natural eco-systems of the region – all in the name of progress.
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My heart goes out to these people and I see this as nothing different to what we experience here in Aotearoa with the NZ Govt allowing foreign companies to come and drill in our oceans, or buy our land for financial gain – all in the name of progress.
Damming our waterways is like stopping the blood that flows through our veins. It puts pressure on other areas and eventually there is no way back to fix this problem.
This affects all of us, we are connected by water, no matter where we are in the world. Water is our health and wellbeing, not just for indigenous people’s but all people’s around the world. Please help to keep the water flowing and follow the link below to take action NOW
http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam
Or go and join the Facebook cause at Amazon Watch.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Able to See Light

A different kōrero today to what I’ve been posting over the past few days! And perhaps I’ve spoken about this before, maybe, maybe not… there are so many days to go back through now!
Photography is all about light. Whenever I take a photo, I’m always looking for the light – how does it fall? In what spaces? What patterns does it make? What does it reflect and how will it make the photo feel?…
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What kind of mood will it portray?
The ability to take a good photograph is being able to see light. I’m not sure if they teach this in school or at University, I’m self-taught but I do believe that photography is a generous 10% for technical and 90% is ability to see light, intuitive and being able to compose a photograph that speaks emotion and tells a story.
I’m not sure this can be taught and if it is, how it is taught, but perhaps if we all trusted our intuition and go with what we feel and know when taking a photograph, then maybe this will help us take better photographs.
People say to me, oh but you have a good camera and I say – I could probably take a good photo with a point and shoot camera too. In fact, there is no need to have a flash camera to take good photos, a lot of people are taking fabulous photos with their mobile phones these days and they have the capacity to produce high quality ones too! And I use my camera point and shoot anyway!
And no matter what people say – I say, break the rules! Push the boundaries of photography and try something different. And seriously, there is no need to get all technical unless you are really wanting to try some creative stuff but I use my camera on auto all the time! I don’t have time to be changing settings. I’m working on intuition and that is all in the moment.
Arohanui,
Jo x

New Direction

I woke at 4.30am this morning! Great – jet lag is well and truly here and my body clock is still on Istanbul time and my spirit is in some ways too… I keep looking for Turkish food recipes online lol
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And I was SO grumpy today, it was like I didn’t know what to do with myself – I knew I was tired, but it took me a while to actually go to sleep but when I eventually did, ahhhh it was wonderful, sleeping in a sun filled room… and I felt a little better when I woke up.
So I’m hoping tomorrow my internal clock will have switched back to NZ time…hopefully!
Travelling to Turkey has made me rethink through some things… I have a change of direction for these coming months and heading into next year. I want to be more focused on my passions and purpose and really give my energy to those things that matter the most. Travel does this to you, it inspires new energy and I feel I’ve had my fair share of travel over the last four years… for now anyway.
Next year is going to be important in so many ways and whānau is at the top of my list. I want to spend more time at home with whānau, creating new art, nurturing self and working on a couple of projects that will be the most important projects I have ever worked on. I feel my whole life has been in preparation for this work.
Today is Day 270! Wooohooo – I have 95 more days to go… I remembering celebrating when I had reached 100 days and now I am counting down from 100!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Quiet Breathing Space

I got off the plane last night here in Gisborne; raining and cold… and then when we left the airport it was like driving into a ghost town. Seriously. There was one other car on the road and that was it. Talk about a big shock!
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I had just come from a city of 14 million people, I lived in a lively part of Istanbul where it seemed the city never slept…and then came home to quiet, what felt like total silence.
And as I drove around today in my zombie state due to serious jetlag, there were a few people walking around the street but nothing like what I experienced in Istanbul.
It made me realise how grateful I am for the vast amount of breathing space we have here in Aotearoa. And the air, so fresh… that’s one thing I noticed when I arrived home, the air was so much more alive. And being away from home experiencing a new land, enables another perspective and appreciation for what we have in Aotearoa.
Many people see our country as an exotic place, a must see place to visit… we are not without our problems but there is something about this place we call home that is very special. And there is a spirit about this place that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world.
I miss the high energy of Istanbul, the colourful contrast of people, the culture and the food! But there is no place like home and I’m glad to be home.
Arohanui,
Jo x

All That Glitters is Gold

Written while flying from Singapore to Aotearoa – Sun 25th Sept Aotearoa time…
Flying in amongst the stars right now, a clear night, not a cloud in the sky. I saw lights below, strong lights like someone lived down there and then I realized it was a star and then a whole lot of stars appeared like sparkling gems – cool!
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I also notice a bright bright star – could this be Venus? Or perhaps Jupiter? But no teapot so no Puanga (Rigel) but maybe early in the morning I will see Rigel, this star that signals to us in the west, the beginning of our Māori new year.
The earth is definitely round, there would be no other explanation for having stars below us – it feels special flying in the realms of ngā ātua, floating, flying, space, the space outside and the space within, connection to those stars is an extension of me, perhaps the saying “it is written in the stars” perhaps this is what it means?
A little while later…
And there appeared Tautoru – Orion’s belt – the teapot! It was like I had willed it’s appearance into the sky and to the left of Tautoru – there sat Puanga. Now normally when this is seen from the earth, you look up to the sky and Puanga is below Orion’s belt, but we are flying beside it, it’s like it is flat on it’s back – that is SO cool!
It was always a childhood game to find the teapot or a shooting star where we grew up. I remember the night sky full of stars just like tonight’s sky… and aaaahhh Puanga, it feels so great to see you!

I’m guessing the time is about 3am NZ time – perfect time, the mind is awake and alert and creativity is high. And she (yes Puanga right now is a she according to me!) has been out the window for at least an hour although time has no relevance in these moments…
And then amazingly, in a few moments it was there like how you normally see it in the sky from the earth – tautoru – puanga – the teapot – back to the usual viewing point, not so high this time – but up there again – did we change direction? It seems so close like I can reach out and touch it…
6.55am NZ time – I have to write some more because so much has happened after the change in stars – just like that and then I looked below and saw all these lights – a few of them and I realized they were boats sitting off the Western coastline of Australia and then something spectacular – lightning lit up the sky – and wow – it was a sight to see and I tried to video it but my camera would not reach that far into space but that’s ok because I have imprinted this amazing night show in my mind as a memory… and this was just before Uluru (Ayers rock) and actually, this was another amazing thing that happened…
Such an amazing journey going on outside the plane window. And the pathway that our plane took was a direct route through the landscape… but not just any landscape. We travelled over Mt Merapi in Indonesia which I did not realize until later when I looked at the route we had taken… then Uluru in Australia – powerful, the blue mountains in Sydney, so beautiful and then touching down on Aotearoa soil to Rangitoto and I’m sure a few more maunga we flew by but when I looked on the screen and saw this I thought wow – how magical is that, that we fly by these maunga – these kaitiaki in the landscape that embrace both realms of Papatūānuku our earth mother and Ranginui our sky father… that is whats so special about maunga and this was just meant to be and we greet them one by one…
And you know what? This flight was one of the smoothest flights ever – very little turbulence – and as hard as I tried to sleep, I couldn’t – but I think the atua were telling me to be by the window, and I normally prefer the aisle on these long haul trips but ended up with a window seat and how special and wonderful that was!!!
And all the while this was happening I was looking at the map of the route that the plane was taking and thought hmmm so we are traveling around over the top of the earth and this is why the universe changed all of a sudden, the perspective changed and instead of being close to Puanga it then became distant – hmmm – fascinating stuff and smooth, smooth ride!
And then… this is an “and then” story that could go on forever – flying over Sydney at sunrise – the most beautiful sunrise with a bit of moon still in the sky, it was perfect, so so perfect. Only nature could be so perfect and could produce something to perfection like that…it all felt very surreal and spiritual and just plain magical… what a beautiful journey home…
And one last thing as I finish this post, grounded at Auckland airport waiting for my flight home, a couple of birds just appeared here beside me inside the terminal – I have no idea where they came from, I was fully inside, no doors nearby – my kaitiaki for the last leg home… beautiful, just beautiful!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Moments of Reflection

Sitting in a quiet space at Changi Airport Singapore. I discovered this place hidden and when I sat, it sent me straight into reflection, piano music playing in the background, sunrising, even the planes flying in and out added to the rhythm of the moment…
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My journey into power… has just begun, each day another step into knowing, becoming, being, understanding, listening, remembering… life’s many intricacies…
I’ve seen beauty in many things, not just in trees and ocean and nature things like these but also beauty in buildings, roads, people, airports, systems and art…my perspective once again broadened, seeing with new eyes again… constantly renewing, changing, growing…
My last flight before I touch down on Aotearoa soil…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the imperfections in my paintings now. There is no power in perfectionism, in fact the complete opposite…allowing the imperfections is acceptance of self to grow…

Sunrise in Doha

I just finished painting this rock as the sun rose in Doha – and what a beautiful sunrise – three suns rising at Doha airport over parked plane tails as another plane takes off into the sunrise. How lovely!
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A welcoming for a new day and I am so tired I’m nearly ready to go to sleep! I’m hopeful for a sleep on the plane during this next eight hour flight to Singapore although hopeful is a good word as I’m not very good at sleeping on planes – we’ll see! Tiredness might just get the better of me this time.
Looking forward to this new day where I will be flying high in the sky, embracing the realms of Ranginui and ngā atua. Still a work in progress for me, my connection to this realm, I am definitely a Papatūānuku girl, love to be grounded…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Feeling Lighter

I’m leaving Istanbul in a few hours and I must say I’m feeling a lot lighter. Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, I feel like I’ve left a few things behind for good.
koru hand painted rocks
It’s an odd feeling actually; it’s like the rain that fell last night for the first time since I’ve been here was a cleansing, a renewing, a letting go of past… and I’ve certainly felt heart connections here, especially to the people and the land. Those side streets that I was drawn to, the music playing, a story on every street…
So I have three rocks in my pockets for the journey home. This rock I painted today and the two rocks I started the journey with. My three totem rocks. And I’m leaving a few rocks behind to find their new homes in Amsterdam, Greece and here in Istanbul – sharing stories and aroha of home.
And I’m really looking forward to going home, feeling the earth beneath my feet again…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Carpets and Tea

I’ve lost count how many times people have tried to sell carpets to us – yes, these carpets are amazing, so many different kinds… but we soon realised that a lot of friendliness in the street and invites in for apple tea were all opportunities to try and sell us carpet!
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We even had two young men, come with us on a complete tour of the blue mosque to lure us to their family carpet shop! Now I know that these people are in business but they will do well to learn a few lessons about how to market and sell their carpets. And I don’t think that having scouts out on the street to lure people in is an ethical way to work!
On the other hand, those who aren’t pushy and who standback and allow you to make your own decisions about what you want to buy, these are the ones you want to buy from. You even want to spend a bit of time in their shop and look around because you know that you don’t have someone over your shoulder telling you what to buy.
We stopped today in the Grand Bazaar and Matua Huirangi had a sit down and cup of tea with a group of men who were fascinated with him. There was no selling involved and this was wonderful because it was an enjoyable experience, a human connection and one that did not end in – carpet! It is all about connection, not selling the carpet!
And so in our connections and relationships we would do well to learn from this experience, that connection is what is important – make the connection and everything else will follow – I know this – I see this happening in my life over and over again! In fact there is no need to sell, just be who you are, connect and share…yes…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – chanting just beginning outside. I like it when that happens. It’s like a nice finish to my rock post. A special karakia to send the kohatu out into the universe.

Big Sisters

Well I was going to a workshop today only to get there and it had been cancelled! But kei te pai – I had an adventure on the way back, found a book festival and a few more side streets and things happening about the place. There is no shortage of things to do and photographic opportunities!
Anyway, rā whānau to my big sister today!! Big sisters… hmmm where do I start?
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They can be annoying at times constantly trying to tell you how to live your life lol but on the other hand they can be comforting too.
I remember when I was little, this big sister used to come home from a night out – she must have only been in her teens (now her daughter my niece who has recently turned 16 will probably read this and take advantage of the situation – but oh well!) and she would bring us hot chips from Joe’s diner, the only place that was open where you could get food after a night out.. anyway, we would also say our prayers together lol – but it was comforting.
And then she left Aotearoa, she went out into the big wide world, a teenager still, she moved to Australia and left us her younger sister’s at home. It was devastating, no big sister to sit and watch a movie with and hear screaming while watching the movie (she still does this by the way – in her 40s now!) No big sister to look after us and watch over us!
But she had her own life and had to go out into the world… we’ve always been close, our grandmother passed away on my birthday and was buried on her birthday and so we always have that connection as well as our sisterly – virgo connection too.
Anyway, that’s my big sister story – and happy birthday sister!! This stone was given to me by Sonja and is one of the many she brought to Istanbul for me that she had gathered on her journey through Europe. It is from Croatia and feels very much like a home stone.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Side Streets

I am totally fascinated by the side streets here in Istanbul – specifically those that I walk past and experience everyday…
koru hand painted rocks
I was led down one today, this live acoustic music was playing and I sat to just listen and experience the music as it wafted out the door. There were three of us in the street, I’m not sure if the two young ladies were listening or whether they were seeking the quiet away from the busyness of the main street – but there was an eeriness in the air – I felt like this music was for me. I felt like a follower of the pied piper or something like that!
But every street has a story and each story is woven into the magic of this place that is full of contrast, colour and contradictions that somehow get thrown back into the mix to reveal a melting pot of culture, wonder and beauty… I never thought that I would say a place like this with little nature could be beautiful – but it is beautiful in it’s own special way.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Free Spirit

Catching up on sleep today. I woke at 10am Istanbul time and went on a bus tour, came back and slept for another four hours! I reckon I’ve tuned into Istanbul time now, but am heading home on Thurs – back to a different timezone, different weather…
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I’ve really enjoyed the weather here. Even though it has been up in the 30s, it’s easy to tolerate, more humid than burning hot but not too humid. And most times there is shade to walk in.
Today I want to talk about being a free spirit. It’s so important to honour self – who you are. Sometimes we go through life trying to please others, or live up to other’s expectations and yet we really yearn for acceptance. We want people to accept us for who we are and what WE choose to do in our lives.
Being here in Istanbul, has reminded me of my freedom and I’m grateful that I have people around me who accept this. I also believe it takes a lot of courage to be a free spirit and we risk losing many things that are important to us, but we gain so much more by being free and being who we are.
Time for another moe! I am up early in the morning – heading over to the Sanbanci Center in Levent for a panel session on art and business – just up my alley! Something to take back to the students…
Arohanui,
Jo x
Good morning NZ – good night Istanbul!

Atua

He atua – he tangata
He atua – he tangata
Those words are sounding in my ears as I write this. It reflects some of the korero of today’s eco-sapiens round table forum for ISEA.
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Atua – it is not what our European colonisers have labeled a single “god” but rather a collection, a community, aspects of the environment that guide us in our everyday lives and that perhaps hold the key to change – change needed to continue life as we know it. A system that has come about from lack of respect for our environment which in my view is also a lack of respect of self and who we are.
So it was interesting kōrero today. And in the words of Matua Huirangi Waikerepuru, “Atua – to reflect and respect what atua expect.”
The word “atua” culminates many things, not just one thing…they are the elements of natural law reflected in ngā ātua – peace, land, water, balance…
And the question was asked, how do we as humans view atua, how do we relate to atua and an answer came forth, if we see ourselves as atua in that we have the power to bring about change, with this understanding, we can make a difference and change begins with us.
I feel that this, was the most important question and we have just as much responsibility to find the answer to this question as well as answer the question ourselves through the lives we live and the actions we take in this life.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Industrious

Today I had more insight into how the Turkish people operate and have come to the conclusion that they are very industrious! They are not people that sit on their butts all day – they are definitely doers.
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On every corner you will see someone selling something – grilled corn on the cob (which I’m yet to try), bread (you can get full on one of these!) and of course bottled water – in every space someone selling water.
And people of all ages! I saw a young boy selling lotto tickets, it looks like they start training them young… older women selling lavender pouches and men selling carpet, we had carpet sold to us twice today!
And I realized that there is a whole system involved in the selling of carpets too. And for many it is a family business.
And probably one of the most industrious projects of all that I experienced was the blue mosque, seven years of effort but oh my, such beauty. I could only marvel at the size of this wonderful creation.
So we can learn from these people about being in business perhaps or having the courage and focus to achieve what it is you want to achieve. And I must say that not everyone has been friendly and not every experience has been great, but there have been lessons to learn every day and this has been one of many.
Arohanui,
Jo x
It’s still my birthday in NZ and after 3pm today I will be having my birthday in Turkey! Such a LONG birthday! And I will be painting my birthday rock today while at the conference…I wonder what inspiration for this rock will come today…

Kainga-a-roto

I’ve been feeling a little homesick now and then. Yes I am having an amazing time but there is a part of me that longs for air, the sea… home…
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I’m sitting in a park as I write this. It has trees and I was so excited when I came across it so I decided to sit on a park bench and write.
A pigeon stopped by just before and I was visited by one this morning too – it came right up to the window and lingered for a while, it’s beautiful feathers shimmering in the light…
Kainga a roto – the home within. I carry my home within… it is also the name of Sonja’s and Sen’s work here in Istanbul. I stopped by their work today to see home, the flowing water, ferns just to feel home again…
And the work is beautifully presented in a recycled case that represents a boat. And the story is brave, sincere, healing… It was nice to have comfort away from home, just for a moment…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – you will have noticed I am only using three colours – because I only brought three colours with me to Istanbul – so I’m making my backgrounds as colourful as possible! This is one of my paint trays that I have been using during the year – it has many stories too!

Beer and Whiskey

Such an eventful day – I don’t know where to start!

I listened to some interesting kōrero at the conference today and I painted this rock while sitting in on one of the panel sessions… very interesting ideas about perception and participation, intuition and energy… and during the keynote speaker, I wrote a whole lot down that came spilling out like lava from a mountain – so many things being stirred up in my thoughts…
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So some of the random thoughts from today…
Time To Live (TTL)
Story and Picture
Energy and Intuition
Politics Does Not Exist Without Economy
Te Kore – Is Potentiality
But OH well…
Critique does not lend itself to leading new things
Indigenous – the way forward
patents curb innovation
woven within the digital data
the inevitable moment when we will have no time to react
The best form of work is not just to create them but to transform them in many ways…
The crisis is largely self-generated
Participation
So many things to ponder here! Can you imagine my brain right now other than being very tired!!
And why the title of this post? Beer and whiskey? Because at the first after party we had tonight (yes there were two!) they served beer and whiskey! An interesting choice of alcohol and I drink neither… so it was water for me at that party, but it was funny watching two thirds of people walk around drinking glasses of straight whiskey and the other third drinking beer!
And perhaps these thoughts are as random as this combination of alcohol but all this stuff was talked about today and more!And it made me ask SO many more questions!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I love this rock by the way – it was really lovely to paint! And it is on it’s way to Morocco with Rachida who is at the conference also – she is Berber and her whanau are tangata whenua of that area and her grandmother still lives traditionally in the mountains!

Uncontainable

Uncontainable – it’s part of the title of our exhibition which is opening here in Istanbul tomorrow at 6.45am. It reminds me of being uninhibited or unable to be contained or locked up, locked into a way of being or thinking…
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I wonder if culture is like this? Seeing and meeting the diverse range of people here in Istanbul and also thinking about our own people back home, the many cultures that exist within our societies… how much of our lives are influenced by culture and how much of our lives are of our own thinking, our own truth?
Sometimes I feel tradition is not always the be all and end all and somewhere along the way we have to acknowledge who we are…what are our dreams and purpose for this life? And we should follow that.
It’s risky because we are going against what we’ve always known, what those around us have told us is the “right” way to do things… but what is it that I feel in my heart is the right thing to do and how am I honouring self in all this?
Something to ponder…
Ok, heading back down to the gallery space for an interview and to catch up with some of the other artists and there’s always an interesting person to meet down there! And I’ve just got a whole lot of work done and now its the afternoon, the day begins!
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the chanting just started outside…

Turkish Delight

I am in love with turkish delight. Not the turkish delight I remember as a child – actually that was horrible. I’m talking about REAL turkish delight – oh my gosh! I am going to try and bring truckloads back with me haha – it is going to be one of my most important items to bring home…
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And with it no doubt will come the people, the stories and experiences of walking in crowded streets, feeling like you’re running a marathon, or feeling like you are the only person walking one way and the world is blowing towards you! Tooting cars every 5 secs, yelling people in the streets now and then – they really do talk loud in the streets here… and food, delicious food everywhere – so much to choose from and not expensive at all!
I wish I was here for longer to experience more of this amazing high energy place but will have to come back one day – oh yes, so many beautiful islands, spaces and places to be explored here.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Language

Merhaba – kiaora – so I’ve made it to the heart of Istanbul and am right in the thick of things – busyness everywhere! 24/7! But what did I expect right? 14 million people in one city, of course it will be busy!
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It’s Saturday the 10th here in Istanbul as I write this – Mon the 11th Sept in Aotearoa… and I think I have the timing right now – 9 hours behind home…
So where do I start? So many experiences to talk about already! But I do want to talk about language because as soon as I stepped off the airplane in Istanbul I noticed the language difference. I mean, of course the language is different but I realised how language or lack of, can change the course of conversation and take it to a whole new level.
And no matter how different the language, in my one day here, every person I have met has known the language of manaakitanga, the language of smiles, gratefulness, taking an interest…
For example, the cleaning lady at the airport who didn’t speak much english but she knew exactly what I needed after coming off the plane… and then the airport security guy who laughed at me when I asked which way was out lol – now if you went through customs here, you will know what I am talking about – you basically get your baggage and walk out, that’s right, you leave the building!
And the beautiful people I met in the street today while trying to look for the supermarket (dia). They did not speak english but between my sign language and their desire to help, I found my way!
It does not matter what words we speak because language comes in many forms and the language of caring for one another, taking an interest in another, a smile, a thank-you – that is language for me and I experienced it in just one day – so what are the other days going to bring?
Happy birthday Jules! This photo was taken on a table that Zeytin made. I am staying with Zeytin, a beautiful, funny Turkish wahine and Leonard a funny German guy – so what do you get when you have a Turk, a German and a Māori all living under the same roof haha – good conversation and laughs!
And of course the learning of language…
And Zeytin made this table and everything else that is in this house – she is an amazing builder, electrician, artist, tailor and when I came home from my first walk, she was cutting the German’s hair, so she is a hairdresser too!
Language – a way of communicating that has no boundaries… a way of using all the senses…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Plane Brain

Someone needs to invent a dictophone thing that can dictate your thoughts as you have them. That’s the wonderful thing about LONG plane rides is that you have a lot of time on your hands in a limited amounted of space…
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So many things going through my plane brain – I call it because it is slightly not all there, lack of oxygen, lack of sleep and just not thinking right but I wanted to carry on with the journey into power theme – so many things have happened so far, unlikely but which have reiterated this journey for me…more on those things later but I want to share something directly from the book that I am reading at the moment, something that was totally in tune with what I was experiencing at the time…Enjoy the kōrero…
“Analysis paralysis is the ego’s way of keeping you rooted in your intellect rather than your spirit. But when you drop your brain, you actually give your body and soul a chance to shine.”
And just want to wish my niece Teiarere a happy 15th birthday today the 10th of Sept in Aotearoa NZ! As I sit and paint this rock in the Doha airport…and funny, we get here and walk off the plane like down the steps off the plane and then a bus comes and picks us up to take us to the transfer terminal lol Ka pai Doha!
Arohanui,
Jo : )

In My Suitcase

So I’m up at 6.30am this morning painting my rock because when I get to Singapore tonight there will be no time to paint a rock and photograph it and then upload it online!
koru hand painted rocks
So here it is! And I must say that I really enjoyed painting this early in the morning instead of in the late afternoon. And it’s an important rock for me… Last night I said that this was a journey about coming into power and I feel that, a coming into my own and making my mark on the world, in a nice kind of way… further expanding networks and connections and my connection to different lands and people.
And if you’ve just tuned in, I’m heading to Istanbul for ISEA – International Symposium of Electronic Art but in total contrast to this, I am carrying with me a mauri stone (8kg!) that will be exhibited in a space with other Aotearoa artists who will be showing their work also.
The exhibition is called Te-Kore-Rongo-Hungaora – Uncontainable – Second Nature and will open on the dawn of the 14th Sept at 6.30am in Istanbul. See more info here: http://bit.ly/oOanTB
So anyway, just before I board, I want to tell you some of the things that are in my suitcase – because of course you might be interested. Other than the usual things, I had to dump a few clothes off with Todd at the airport because the bag was too heavy and I was too stubborn to pay the excess when I was only a kg or 2 over! So I have hardly any clothes lol but who cares, my yoga mat, the 8kg mauri stone wrapped in a purple cloth that I got from Belau 7 years ago, fishing line, wax string, two flip cameras, a stills camera, laptop (essential), dark peppermint chocolate, business cards, 15 rocks to paint, paint, 4 packs of blu tack for Sonja, today’s rock and yesterday’s rock in each pocket (well, not exactly in the suitcase!), “Journey into Power” book, a few cords and power things, a bone carving, a beautiful totara piece to go around my neck that Todd made me, my greenstone, paint container, paint brushes…and probably and a few more bits and pieces…
So there you go…I’m ready to board, will talk to you all again soon perhaps when I arrive to Singapore but the next rock for tomorrow will be painted in Doha for my next transit stop of 14 hours.
Hope you all enjoy the RWC opening tonight and I hear there’s another flash mob haka happening downtown in Gisborne at the townclock, not sure when but go and check it out!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Journey Into Power

Today I began my journey to the other side of the world… as I walked out to the plane at Gisborne airport, a kahu circled up above just in front of the plane – ahhhh – he tohu tēra – kua marino te huarahi kei mua i a au…
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So a lovely sign from one of my kaitiaki – the kahu (hawk), forever on the paths that I travel, supporting and looking after me…
Today I began my journey – I’ve decided to call it “My Journey Into Power” because this feels like another healing journey, not so much an emotional journey like the last one, but more a coming out the other side, coming into my own… a feeling of being empowered… just like the kahu spreading it’s wings and flying… and it is the name of the only book that I am taking with me on my journey – a book that is going to keep me practicing yoga while I am away.
I’m looking forward to what lies ahead, always eager to learn and embrace change and difference and the people who await me on the other side of the world. I carry this mauri stone with me (all 8kg!) a mauri of this whenua (land) to another whenua as a tohu, a symbol of the journey, the stories and the spirit of who we are and where we come from…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Whew!

What a day!
That’s all I want to say – nah just kidding : )
koru hand painted rock
But it has been one of those days – so many things to do, sending this thing to this person and that person, doing this, doing that, organising this and that, emails, marking students work, things to do downtown, packing suitcase which means putting everything in a pile for now, checking flights are all cool and I have got the right day, oh and painting, photographing and writing about rock but I’ve been doing that for 250 days straight now – māma taua mahi – easy mahi that one!

Oh and did I say I did yoga too? One of the most important parts of the day. And SO much more I achieved!
How does one fit so much into one day and remain sane?
I remember when I used to try and cram eveything into one day and would stress so much that nothing got done – but it’s amazing what drives you and how organised you can be when you want to be. I remember asking how to have more time to do things – now I know – time can be created!!
And anything is possible I believe.
So anyway, that was a big “whew!” for the day – it’s the end of the day, a later post than normal which will set the tone for the next two weeks I reckon as I embark on my journey across the seas into a different time zone and land…the journey begins tomorrow… first stop Tamaki Makaurau! Rugby World Cup begins and I’m leaving the country – fantastic!
Arohanui,
Jo x
115 days to go for the year – I remember thinking two weeks was an achievement, now I’m heading for the finish line but I reckon when I get there the next thing will have already started : )

Bee-ing

Has anyone seen the Bee Movie? Oh my gosh – this is such a COOL movie!
We watched it last night and were in fits of laughter and the animation is awesome! It’s a family movie, very well made and with an important message, actually, I think more movies with important messages need to be made like this – engaging, colourful and funny!
koru hand painted rocks
So what is it’s message? The importance of bees and the cross pollination work they do for the stability of our ecosystems and plant species which sustain the health and longevity of our planet and people!
Bees are SO important! And even though this movie was funny, after watching it, I also started to think of honey in a different way, sort of like oil – yes we have a use for it, it helps us but is it good for the bees when we have our hives collecting all THEIR honey for US?

I don’t know the answer to this question but I know that bees also need the honey as a food source…
So GO THE BEES! Next time you think about swatting a bee – think of how important that bee you just swatted WAS to your survival! And you MUST watch the movie – there are so many funny scenes like all these insects that talk to each other going back and forward on the window wipers of a car and a whole colony of bees flying a plane? You have to watch to fully appreciate what I mean – haven’t laughed so much in ages!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Going With the Flow

I had to look back through all 200 and something rocks to see if I had titled a post, “going with the flow” – and I hadn’t!
koru hand painted rock
So there you go – going with the flow has been me over the past few days, preparing myself for the long journey ahead, not wanting to stress about things that need to be done before I leave and just doing one thing at a time until it’s done!
And sometimes things haven’t gone according to plan but that’s just the way it is. I’ve been going with it, and things have turned out fine in the end.
So it’s another go with the flow day today – allowing life to unfold as it is.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Election Looming

Compassion and Love – the two things I believe that have the ability to heal.
koru hand painted rocks
Apparently the world is supposed to be ending next year and if not next year, with the way we’re carrying on, we’re certainly heading that way somewhere into the near future…

I can’t help but think at a time when we are perhaps so vulnerable, natural disasters happening so often now that even the skeptics have started to listen a little bit. So many contrasts of poverty and wealth, greed, decisions made for all the wrong reasons – I have to ask the question, how does that happen and what can be done to bring everything back into balance?”
Love and compassion for everything – I believe these two things have the ability to heal. I really do.

And I need to say to those people who lead our country right now – the party who has the most aroha and compassion for all things is going to get my vote. Fullstop.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Non – Judgmental

How often in a day do we judge?
In my quest to be non-judgmental, I learnt a cool thing to help me, and that is to ask a question when I find myself being judgmental of others and that question is,”hmmmm I wonder about that?”
koru hand painted rock
A simple question that puts whatever you are judging into a state of wonderment where you think of it as something unknown or new – something you “wonder” about and want to know more about rather than judge.

Being non-judgmental for me is about accepting another’s perspective, another’s way of living and if we can accept, we don’t have to agree, just accept, then we open ourselves up to learning opportunities and experiences that change us and the way we see the world.
I’m still learning to be non-judgmental (which is also a journey of acceptance of self) but being conscious of it allows me to change slowly but surely…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Kicking Back

Today’s kohatu is definitely “me” right now – kicking back and relaxing just for the moment…
koru hand painted rocks
It’s nice to allow myself the luxury of doing this now and then, to watch a movie, read a book or just do nothing!
There is a lot of work to do – yes – but being able to re-energise oneself is an important part of bringing balance into one’s life and I have a long journey ahead next week, so am enjoying the time…
So this is ME for now…and this photo reminds me of myself leaning against a wall, just chilling…
Arohanui,
Jo x

How Do You See?

Do you see white or do you see blue? Do you see grey or do you see brown?
Isn’t it funny when we see something, we only see what we want to see? And in choosing what we want to see, we miss out on what is in front of us, the whole picture.
koru hand painted rocks
It’s a bit like the media and their one sided views shaping their stories according to what their readers want to hear or what they want to say. Never mind about the actual story the person wants to tell.
We are addicted to drama and struggle and all those things that create “drama” in our lives. Perhaps that’s why many of us like watching “drama” on TV because it actually fulfils the drama we create in our lives.
I enjoy stories about triumphs – those stories that make me smile like the falla who won Homai te Pakipaki on Friday night. I will never forget him and his gumboots! You know he rocked up there gumboots and all and he was massive! Bet not many people would have picked that one.
Or the story about leaders in Palestine who are using non-violent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Now I could have got caught up in the media hype and totally overlooked this story…
So how do you see your world? Is everything in your world happy and positive and loving? Or is life a struggle, waiting for the next struggle and the next?
What do you choose to see?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mahi To Do

I have a mind map on the wall with a BIG “Mahi To DO” in the middle and a whole lot of things around the outside to complete before I leave. Well not all before I leave but most before I leave.
koru hand painted rocks
But I’m looking at it and thinking, that’s a lot of things around that circle and that is totally an artist’s circle! Not in a straight line one thing after another.

Although I do have one of those lists too because once I finish with the mind map, I transfer it to my TO DO book that has actual lists with things to tick off. Aha – you thought I was totally in circles didn’t you – there is SOME logic to me!
But my point being (other than rambling on to myself here) is that we can still be organised and on to it as artists who think in circles and back to front and upside down and we can achieve so much more when we allow our circular ways of thinking to merge seamlessly (I like this word) with a little bit of logic – just a little though.
Ok, I’ll admit I’m a bit brain dead right now, possibly a bit delirious but do you know what I mean? No wonder some of us feel like we’re p***ing in the wind at school when it and it’s total logic and structure was never made for us…but that is another story… anyway I better haere ki te moe!
Nope – can’t – got “mahi to do!”
Now is this right brain or left brain speaking here?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Day 243 – woohoo!! And a pinch and a punch for the last day of the month and NO returns!

To Be a Child Again

To be in awe like a child, satisfied with the simplest of things…
Oh to be a child again, to remember freedom with no boundaries or limitations.
To understand life in all it’s beauty and wonder…
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Excited in the present, no knowledge of past or future, just present…
How to return to that place of knowing and understanding, to live, I mean really live.
Sharing, loving, giving, happy with what is… no need for material things, just living, right here, right now, not a worry in the world…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ahi Kaa

Ahi Kaa – the hot embers glowing remind me of my ancestors crouched around a fire watching… sharing a story or two…
koru hand painted rocks
Ahi Kaa – keeping the fires burning at home. Keeping the fire alive for whānau to come home to. Maintaining your intrinsic connection to the land and the environment and remembering that this is where I belong.
Ahi Kaa – can be carried within. I carry my ahi kaa within as a reminder of where I come from, who I am and I know one day if the desire arises to return to my tūrangawaewae – my place to stand, the fire is still burning for me…
Ahi Kaa – identity, warmth, nurture, comfort, belong, security, stability.
Ahi Kaa – keeping the fires burning…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tui Tui Tuia

Tuia i runga
Tuia i raro
Tuia i roto
Tuia i waho
Tui tui tuia
koru hand painted rocks
I remember this waiata from ages ago at school! And like most Māori waiata we learnt in mainstream school (which was very few), I really didn’t know what any of them meant.
So now when I recite these words, they have a whole new meaning for me.
The tūī is one of our native birds that is identified by it’s beautiful iridescent feathers and white tuft at the front on it’s neck. They are one of my favourite birds!
Tui also means to sew, or weave together so the significance of these words for me now is about weaving together, an understanding that everything is connected, connecting with one another…
I share this kōrero about the tūī today because I saw nine tui today while walking – yes nine!
I stopped to count them and there were seven to begin with and then two more flew over to join in the chorus. It was a hub of activity I tell ya! And these were the ones that I saw – I heard many others calling from a distance too…
So a special time of year to remember our connections to one another, to weave together our stories of old and our new stories and to welcome Koanga – Springtime – yus!
Arohanui,
Jo : )

Day 239 – Fear Revisited

I cast my mind back to Jan 1st 2011.

FEAR.

Fear was fully there and I remember sitting at my computer thinking, shall I push the button or shouldn’t I? I sat there for at least two hours. I remember it was late.
koru hand painted rocks
All sorts of things going through my mind – people are not gonna like what you do, why would they want to look at a rock and why would they want to listen to anything you say? And why, and why…all the reasons under the sun not to push that button.
And then I pushed it – as scary as it was I pushed that button and that post was out there in the universe for all to see along with my commitment to paint a rock every day for 2011.
And now it is Day 239 and I’m heading for the finish line – there’s no stopping me now! I’m committed and soon this challenge will be done and dusted and I will be onto the next thing.
But, so many things have happened as a result of this project and I’m OVER the moon at what has been achieved, the people I’ve met, the people I will meet in the future. I’ve healed so much of me, shared so many things, opened myself up to the world of possibility and I may not have fully gotten over that fear yet but there are more moments now than ever where I’m in my element and nothing can stop me.
So I just wanted to share this tonight even though you may have already heard it before! I remember my words, “fear is so gonna get kicked to the curb this year” and I reckon I’ve given it a pretty good kicking haha and still got some more to do!! Bring it!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Out the Other Side

I love this rock but I didn’t really enjoy painting it to begin with because I was quite agitated. It’s another revived rock that I found in the garden, a rock I had started months, maybe years ago but never finished.
koru hand painted rocks
So another green spiral underneath, another rock to be healed from another time and space…
And as always with perseverance, I always make it through.
And I love this rock now! I worked my way through that initial block, into the healing, letting go and allowed the new to come through. I say now THIS is my favourite rock, but I said that the other day too but they are probably all special for me in their own special way because each has been an extension of myself and who I am.
I’m off to watch the Homai te Pakipaki final on Māori TV – starting in 4 minutes – so enjoy!!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I have my special offers coming tomorrow… so watch this space : )

Explosion

This is a pretty fired up rock! It contains all sorts of things – fed up, had enough, drive, passion, annoyed, over it, move on, get off your ass and do something, so you can’t be bothered, head down butt up, stop being lazy, get your a into g and do something about it, grow up, move on, get a grip, stop making excuses, go and live somewhere where you have to walk miles to fetch water and food, be grateful, stop making excuses – did I already say that, get over it, move on, over and out, done, no more excuses, over it, over it – so over it!
koru hand painted rocks
Right…now I’ve got that out for the day… breathe…
How much do you really want something and what are willing to do to get it?
And when I say I’m over it, I don’t mean it literally and I’m not talking about the rocks. The rocks are my outlet for the day sometimes, as you can see!
Creative explosions are SO allowed!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Found Treasures

I was out in the back yard choosing my rock today and much to my delight, I found lots of little surprises! Well actually they’d been there all along, I just didn’t stop for long enough to notice them and really see what was there!
I didn’t realise how many found treasures I had gathered over the years – walking on sandy beaches, white sand, black sand…gathering shells, stones, broken glass, pieces of driftwood in all kinds of unusual forms, oh so many little gems…
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I was really excited! Like a little kid with a new toy for five minutes or something, how could I have missed this before? My mind went on a “wonder” full journey creating new treasures from these found treasures, pieces of jewellery and sculptures and all sorts of creativity buzzing around in my hinengaro…
So I’ve decided to hang out the back for a bit longer during the day and pull out some of those bits and pieces…even just for half an hour, to grab something and say hmmm… where has this come from and what can I transform this into today and what message of hope and aroha will this treasure share with the world?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – And just a litle extra kōrero for you – I’ve decided to change my book idea and instead of having four books, (the first three months have already been designed – what a mission I must say – it pays not to be fussy!) I’ll have one book for the whole year once the year is over and an exhibition of some of the photos (and rocks of course!) which will coincide with the book launch – thank-you Nina-kaye and Jack Gray (hey that rhymes!) for that little bit of prodding and inspiration (and I really am going to get you to come and dance Jack) and Lyn – Whittakers will be hearing from me! – and everybody else too who have been so tūturu to this kaupapa!!
But – because I am not going to have any books available before I go away, I have some little surprises up my sleeve…you’ll have the opportunity to purchase your favourite photo or two of the rocks so far… and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg…just give me a moment and you’ll be hearing from me soon when I invite you to this exclusive offer for rock followers and friends. Ma te wā xx

Intuitive

I find a rock to paint, choose my paints from an old adidas shoe box, (damn you adidas and my adidas shoes I love so much!) I gather brushes, tray and water…a warm spot somewhere beckons and I paint…
koru hand painted rock
Paint my way over the rock, I feel the lines… when I first look at the rock, I look with my ears and my hands and then my eyes see where I should go…
I used to always start with the koru, but this year that has changed; now and then I will start with a simple line, and that’s ok.
So I feel the lines…one this way, one that way, maybe a koru here, maybe a koru there, now another colour, sometimes only one colour, it all depends on how I feel…
I feel my way around the rock, allowing the rock to speak, to tell me the story of the day and then I paint.
I paint until I’ve finished, until there is no more and always never what I expect it to be.
Intuitively I paint straight onto there, no pencil, no ruler, no expectation allowed…
And it always feels right, always…and sometimes I don’t like it, but I don’t have to like it because it’s not about me…intuition…trust and belief in self…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Memories of Chocolate

Every day before school I would look forward to opening my lunchbox to see what was inside. There would always be a surprise in there, a delicious chocolate of some sorts (that was actually no surprise!) and kit kats were my favourite! I would savour the taste, eat around the edges first, then bite into the middle part…yummy!
koru hand painted rocks
I was brought up on chocolate – as you can see – a chocolate in your lunchbox everyday just like painting a rock a day or taking a photo a day pretty much forms the habit…so if you’ve ever shared chocolate with me or eaten chocolate with me, or given me chocolate, then you will know – I LOVE chocolate!!
So these memories of chocolate are firmly imprinted and although I still eat chocolate today, I’m a bit more choosy about what type, what the ingredients are and how and where it was made. Kit kats are a no no for me now as I refuse to eat anything that Nestle makes and I prefer to support chocolate makers through Fair Trade and sometimes an Aotearoa made Porirua Whittakers chocolate bar will find it’s way to our fridge. And by the way, I’m so glad they have said NO more to palm oil in their chocolate!
But! This is not to say that I will say NO to your chocolate if you offered it to me! And dark chocolate – if you’re going to give me chocolate, give me dark chocolate!!
So why all the talk about chocolate?
Well, the chocolate fairy was my Dad. Everyday without fail (what I remember!) a chocolate in our lunchboxes. So I blame him for my sweet tooth and LOVE for chocolate and my use of chocolate as an emotional filler. They say that chocolate is an emotional food – well I’m the proof of that!
And it’s my Dad’s birthday today. He is now 84. I spoke to him a couple of days ago to remind him although he did not need reminding! And then I rang him again tonight (I think I interrupted his dinner lol) and he said, didn’t you ring me the other day to wish me happy birthday lol
And in true Dad form he says, 84 and not out! He’s rather cheeky at times and always joking about things…
Those memories of chocolate are totally ingrained and even though it probably wasn’t the best thing for a young girl to be eating first thing in the morning, (because of course we ate the chocolate before we went to school!) those little things I will never forget. And despite all the stories created about not feeling loved, those times that are now memories are a gentle reminder, that yes, I was shown love by those who loved me in their own special way and in the best way they knew how.
Rā whānau ki a koe Dad – ka nui tōku aroha ki a koe.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – this is probably my favourite rock of the year and how lovely it is for my Dad.

What Do You Stand For?

I came to the end of another book today. The book is called “Seasick” by Alanna Mitchell – the hidden ecological crisis of the global ocean.
It was a very real wake up call – if there is no ocean, life as we know it on planet earth will cease to exist.
koru hand painted rocks
Water – wai – has over the past few years been at the forefront of everything I do. Water – without it we would not survive. Here in Aotearoa we talk about our clean green country, but nothing could be further from the truth. We have some of the most polluted waterways in the world and most people just don’t understand how serious this is.
Right now, I want to quote directly from the book as I think this is important.
“Truth lies in the tales we tell rather than in the scientific facts that give rise to them…the story we tell matters because it alone determines the actions we take or fail to take. In other words, the final vital sign of the global ocean is how the agent of destruction – us – will react…The problem of the atmosphere and the ocean is a problem of human behaviour…”
Many scientists interviewed for this book talked about the timeframe of “2015 – 2030 as the drop-dead point of action that is effective for halting the planet’s course toward chaos. Others are clear that if the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere rises above 450 parts per million by volume, that will represent a point of no return. Today it is at 387 and rising faster than at any time since humans appeared on the planet.”
2015 – 2030. I don’t know if this timeframe is accurate, but I do know that the time to act is now. This is my lifetime and that matters to me. And this story starts with me. The story that I want to tell, is that I did everything I could to ensure our ocean and waterways are alive and well.
The last chapter of this book asks – what do I stand for? What story do I tell myself about why I am here? I’m constantly asking myself this question…
And each day I slowly but surely find my way into the answers and I always come back to water.
What do you stand for?
Arohanui,
Jo : )

Healing Revealed

Not often do I speak directly about the rock that I have painted, the photos that I have taken and my interpretation of them. Most times I allow them to speak for themselves. But today was different.
koru hand painted rocks
I did my usual adventure outside to find a rock to paint and I went straight to the “small rock” pile. I have piles all over the place! But today was small rock pile day! And the rock that you see in the photo jumped out at me – as they always do! I also brought two other rocks inside, kind of like companions (later I realised as kaitiaki) but this is the rock that I felt strongly about painting for today.
So painting the rock was simple; there was nothing different about it in fact, it felt like any other of my koru rocks that I have painted.
But the kōrero came in the photos…
As I started to take photos of this rock, I realised that these photos were an extension of my emotions and were speaking to me of a time and place, past and present. That feeling was so strong for me…
What was revealed to me was a memory of past, hiding self, hiding in the dark, hiding away, the word hiding always came out. As a child alone, once open and free and slowly retreated into oneself – hiding. That is the rock you see on the left hand side. I immediately saw this, when I looked at the photo – it catapulted me back in time – it was a really big shock!
And then the photos that followed were lighter. I was facing the light instead of sitting in the dark… and at this time I realised that the rock was me…and I was now turned to the sun, with the shadows behind me. The curtain had been drawn and there I was revealed for all to see…
It was such an important moment as I sat here and looked at what had been told to me, revealed and healed all in a short space of time.
Healing can present itself in so many ways and this is one of those many special moments of awareness and understanding that tell me – yes, there is another power at work here and if we are tuned into it, slow down and be quiet enough to hear it, see it, feel it, we can experience healing in every moment of every day.
Arohanui,
Jo x

In the Palm of My Hand

I got home today and sat thinking hmmmm what am I gonna do? Not like I haven’t got lots of things to do because I’ve got heaps to do and then Todd chimes in and says, “you can do whatever you want to!” And I thought, too right I can – I am in control, I am the master of my own destiny. I can choose what I want to do at any given time…
koru hand painted rock
So I wrapped myself up in heaps of clothes, climbed into my warm bed in the lounge, computer on lap and started working. I could have gone to sleep or just watched a DVD (tempting!) but I decided to do my mahi instead.

But the luxury for me is being able to hop into my bed in the early afternoon and choose my place of work, how I choose to work and when. That is my choice.
We are the makers of our destiny – all of us, life is in the palm of our hands – literally. Grab it while you can!
This stone is exactly as the title says; it fits snuggly into my hand like a totem, a tohu that I can hold to remind me of the passion I have to make a difference in this world and to make every moment count – on my terms of course. A bit radical I know but life really is about allowing yourself the choice of how you choose to live.
Arohanui,
Jo x

A Bit of a Waffle Kōrero

Colours of passion and fire and action and balance. I photographed this rock outside in between rains although the rain was ready to fall again as I took this – you can see by the drops…
So what to talk about today…
koru hand painted rocks
A longing to be home again, sometimes…memories of childhood eating chocolate everyday. Everyday we always used to get chocolate in our lunch boxes but I will talk more about this on Monday…you’ll soon know why…
I wonder about the weather and why our strawberries are growing in the middle of winter. I already know why – those polar shifts are happening, weather is changing… some people will say it is evolution but I don’t think so. I’ve already talked about this in another post, evolution – go and find that post, some people didn’t agree with me!
Sometimes you wonder if you are doing the right thing, if what you are doing in this world is making a difference and helping people. I hope so. I would hate for my life to be a total waste of time, what is the point of that. Every moment important.
So that is my ramble for the day, straight from the mouth without actually thinking about what I just said, but thats normally how it happens anyway although this doesn’t necessarily make sense and who says it has to anyway?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Heart no. 2

Now and then, I ask myself, how do I do this? It’s nearly Sept and somedays I feel I don’t have anything to say and I’m doing stuff and then time to paint the rock…it’s part of my day now but when I look back over just the past week, I still can’t believe it sometimes! Anyway…had that little burst of expression!
koru hand painted rocks
So another heart day today. Thoughts of friends and whānau who are celebrating their birthdays and thoughts of friends and whānau who are mourning the loss of a loved one and celebrating their lives at the same time.
Life. Challenging at times, so happy at other times. The ups and downs, happiness and sadness. Life. If we learn to ride that wave and accept what is…easily said than done.
So I painted another heart today – heart no. 2. A pink and gold one to remember loved ones in birth and in death and I paint this heart for love because I believe love has the power to change everything…What if we all had hearts full of love and spread that love around?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Dreaming of Dolphins

I’ve been thinking heaps about what is happening in our world today – actually it’s probably no surprise to any of you who know me or to those of you who follow the rocks…not a day goes by where I am not thinking about what I can do to help heal our planet and people.
koru hand painted rocks
In December last year I had a dream. Not many of my dreams stay with me like this one but I remember it so vividly.
I dreamt of a whole lot of dolphins – blue – heaps of them, don’t know how many – physically I could see at least 20 but I felt like there were hundreds!! They were a bright blue like a royal blue and they were on the move. They were in a bay with high hills all around and they were leaving there. Diving in and out of the water, so graceful…following one behind the other…
They were on a journey…
So the dolphins remain constant in my thoughts and I think about the dolphin as being many things; graceful, playful, intelligent, community, power, protection…
I think about them and the life that no longer exists in our oceans because of the impact that humans are having on our planet. And how long will it be before there will be no more dolphins and whales and all life disappears…
These dolphins I believe are a tohu, a symbol of hope, that there is still time to turn the tide and start replenishing and giving love and respect once again to our planet. I also believe that the dolphins are on the move because it is no longer safe for them and we need to act now; for our planet and for each other. There still is time…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Notes To Self

Today I stumbled on lessons – more lessons and answers to questions…
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And then I found myself listening to more questions and words like imitation – imitating others, superficial, conforming, constraints, limitation inhibiting freedom to be self…
So my notes to myself today again ask: who am I? What are the borders I am placing around myself, within myself that are limiting my freedom and my ability to be me?

What am I comparing myself to?
Know thyself…these words have been strong for me over the past 20 years. And I heard them again, a gentle reminder.
Today some words of wisdom were put in front of me, I do not even know how it happened but I know it was meant for me. I’m not one to quote the words of others, but these words are important for me right now, they reached to my core and again, intention in action, intention to heal was revealed. And I was also reminded, that my healing is also healing for others.
The enemy is not the other, the enemy is you.
Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Moe mai rā e te Matua Paora Reeves, moe mai rā…

1001 Cranes For Japan

I’m sending a message today from my dear friend Ilka who is collecting 1001 Cranes for Japan.

In her blog post on April 16th, she talks about creating paper cranes and sending them as a gesture of peace, prayer and heartfelt love for the people of Japan.
koru hand painted rocks
I believe in collective consciousness to bring about change in the world, and I believe that one voice can make a difference, so many voices, many actions of conscious intent can make a BIG difference.
Ilka shares a story…”I heard recently that the Japanese have a collective memory of the horror that Nuclear radiation causes from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Then I remembered the story I heard when I was a little girl about a Japanese girl who set to folding 1001 cranes in the ancient Japanese tradition of senbazuru. The story goes that the girl, Sadako Sasaki, developed leukemia years after the atomic bomb exploded about a mile from her home. During her illness, she made paper cranes, hoping to make a wish for her restored health. She died in 1955 at age 12, before she could finish, but has since become an international symbol of peace. Senbazuru is the art of folding one thousand origami cranes. As the legend goes, you will be granted one wish by a mystical crane.”
So I share Ilka’s story of a story with you… a story of intent and hope that we can give thought to those who may have gone out of our minds for a short while, to bring them back into our consciousness and send them love.
Ilka will be collecting cranes to be sent until the end of August. Her address to send cranes to is: Ilka Blue, PO Box 2150, Ocean Shores, NSW 2483, AUSTRALIA
If you follow this link to her website http://bit.ly/qaTIHD you will also be able to find out how to make the paper cranes. And feel free to leave her a message, I’m sure she will love to hear from you.
And thank-you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Stones of Old

I was given these two stones to paint while in Australia a couple of months ago and they’ve been sitting next to my rose quartz since I brought them home and today I was ready to paint them.
koru hand painted rocks
The smaller stone is the smallest I’ve painted this year! It’s about 1.5cm. These stones are quite different to what I normally paint; they are flatter, lighter in weight and are a lovely earth brown colour. And like the rocks from home, they have a special “feel” to them…
I felt this with all the stones I connected with in Australia – and I connected with many. There is a sense of “ancient” about them, just like the tāngata whenua there. I believe they are one of our oldest living people in the world, they are old spirits, that is what I see. And these rocks even though small, feel old too.
So the symbols that I see within these rocks are of a time long ago, I am not entirely sure what they mean but I know they are important. I wonder where they come from? Where do they connect to? What world, what people, what land? Or are they representative of many lands?
And despite our different cultures, environment and language, I believe there are symbols that bring us together, a common ground and story that we share with all living things. Perhaps these stones of old tell those stories too…
I have painted two other purple designs on the other sides of these rocks. I have chosen not to show them here but purple has always been a wairua colour for me. Balance of the physical and the spiritual.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Intention In Action

I am totally (totally!) convinced now that you can bring forth whatever you want in your life just through pure intention and trust. I’ve experienced intention in action over the past year in the most amazing ways, it has been a strong validation for me that anything is possible!
koru hand painted rocks
Like a domino effect, one thing leads to another, opportunities present themselves sometimes in the most unlikely of ways but I am open none-the-less and awareness of self and what is going on around me like I’ve never known awareness before.
Life is full of syncronicitys, bringing forth a part of me I never knew existed. And living intuitively by trusting every moment is exciting! Challenging at times, but exciting!

When life is allowed to flow, all you want to do is flow with it, give thanks, sit back, and be in awe…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Pūrerehua

In my tiredness, I’m writing a post about my carbon footprint. I’m totally conscious of it, but how can I “give back” to the environment what I am taking from it as I fly to the other side of the world next month?
koru hand painted rocks
There are little things that I’m doing already; the normal things that everyone should be doing such as recycling and composting kai! Everyone does this already right?
But what else?

If I woke up one morning and the fate of life on planet earth was totally in my hands what would I do??

I would stop all drilling for oil in every corner of the world, I would replant every farmed piece of land with native trees and no longer would anyone be allowed to fish commercially anywhere in the world! And water would be the most precious resource that ever existed, but it is already isn’t it?
I would wave my magic wand and cast a spell of aroha over the whole world and then after that I think that everything would change because people would love and respect themselves and one another and will truly truly appreciate and be grateful for this life giving planet we have.
Wouldn’t that be something?
So much more I could add to this but if I speak any more I may just talk myself into no- sense, so I’ll leave it there!
By the way, the lovely carved piece that compliments my painted rock today is a pūrerehua that Todd carved. A pūrerehua is a butterfly or a moth but in this case it is a musical instrument made from wood, stone or bone that is attached to a long string and swung around to make a “bull roaring” sound.

It is carved in distinctly west coast style with the serpentine flowing limbs weaving in and out of each other and maunga Taranaki’s peak at the top. Very soon it will be moulded into glass but for now is a lovely background for my rock today and very grounding for this kaupapa. It is recycled kauri.
Arohanui,
Jo x

From Right to Left

Does anyone else read the newspaper from right to left, from back to front? As I painted today’s rock (from right to left) I was reminded of my apparent dsylexia, getting words and things around the wrong way…
koru hand painted rock
It could perhaps have to do with the fact that I am left-handed why I paint from right to left although I don’t do this all the time and there are actually some things I do with my right hand such as use scissors and hit a golf ball with both a right and left hand golf club! So there haha!
But anyway, does anyone else go from right to left is what I want to know?
It just feels right to read from right to left. I don’t actually read the newspaper very often, only when I get it from the Polytech for free on a Thurs and then I go straight to the art section at the back and thats about my reading… unless it’s really really interesting stuff!
And I do read books from left to right but I have a tendency to have at least five books on the go and I like to jump all around the place in a book unless it’s a really good one and I have to read the whole thing from front to back! So you could say I like to read books in circles?!
A light-hearted kōrero for today : )
Arohanui,
Jo x

Silver Lining

I sat to paint my rock today and I had all these thoughts in my mind about what it was going to be (actually I started with four rocks and called it four stones lol) and then all of that went out the window!
koru hand painted rocks
And then once I had finished “one” rock, I thought oh this will look kind of cool with this sort of photo in this kind of setting and then…NOT to be.
I even chose all the colours of paint and squeezed the paint out onto the tray but only used two of the four colours there.
And then when I went to actually photograph the rocks, what I thought was cool wasn’t really cool at all BUT then, the photo opportunities presented themselves like shining bright lights, sort of like when I go collecting rocks at the beach in Taranaki. I look down the beach and all these beaming bright rocks are saying pick me pick me!
I have no idea why today of all days I decided that I would try and control every part of this process or “think” about it rather than just do. Perhaps it was to just bring me back to that place of “knowing” and “trust” again to allow things to unfold and to not push so hard with things…
And what is that saying? Every cloud has a silver lining? Well this rock has a silver lining – literally – the paint underneath is silver. But every rock I paint has a silver lining and sometimes its hard to comprehend or even express what the messages are from the rocks but I know there are always messages in there somewhere and if I just wait… then all will be revealed…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Small Wonders

Today’s rock and the three rocks before have all been very small rocks! I enjoy painting the small rocks, despite them sometimes being harder to paint! There is something about these tiny gems that is appealing…
Perhaps it is because they can fall easily into a pocket to be kept cosy and warm or held safely in the palm of your hand…such small wonders…I wonder which larger rock they have come from and how many flows of water did it take to make them so small?
koru hand painted rocks
Shaped so perfectly…
It reminds me of the little things in life, those things that make all the difference…
So if you find the small wonders in your day, you’ll realise that life is full of them and they bring a certain magic and belief that anything is possible.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just Let Go

Do not hold on to past grudges…unless you want them to hang on like leeches sucking the life out of you…
They do not serve you in the present nor will they serve you into the future.
koru hand painted rocks
Life is for living, enjoying every moment, let go of what is limiting and allow yourself to welcome the new.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Āwhiowhio

Ross Bennett reminded me of an experience we had while I was living in Taranaki a few years back.
I was working on a project with him and one day while delivering the final product to his house in Oakura, I ran out of petrol – big lol
koru hand painted rocks
So I ended up on the side of the road out the coast waiting for Ross “to the rescue”…and while I waited a storm was brewing…

The wind started to pick up so with petrol in tank we decided to drive to Rahotu for some shelter to make the exchange of goods and when we got there it was too windy to even get out of the car! Sideways wind and rain, Tāwhirimātea was definitely doing his thing…
That day, a tornado swept through the metropolis of Rahotu. Big massive trees which once stood beside the road now lay flat across the road blocking the main highway. The tornado swept right by us only a few metres away I reckon, on the other side of the road.
I got home late that night as the roads were blocked for a while but I was just glad to be going home! Not every day you get to be in the midst of a tornado and to experience the strength of nature first hand was both frightening and exciting at the same time.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Other Ways Of Knowing

E iti noa ana na te aroha.
Even though my gift is small, it is given with love.
I went to the mailbox today and there tucked inside was a yellow parcel, addressed to me, from John Broomfield. I was excited to open it and I knew what it was – a book written by John called “Other Ways of Knowing”. It had come from the South by boat, from John’s house at a beautiful placed called Te Wairua.
koru hand painted rocks
On the inside cover of the book was a message from John, “E iti noa ana na te aroha” I was so touched by this simple and meaningful message.
I had known John for a little while before I realised he was an author and discovered his book in a suggested reading list for one of the Whare Wānanga here in Aotearoa. And he was kind enough to send it to me.
I’m SO excited to read it!

And how lovely that my rock today reflects that very kōrero. This rock is approx 3 cm in diameter – a small rock but its message and meaning, special all the same.
Thank-you John!
Arohanui,
Jo x
You can learn more about John’s life work by visiting his website http://www.eagle-tours.co.nz/ where you can also purchase his book.

Texture

A smooth blue sheet behind a painted textured rock…
Texture is bumpy and rough. It adds colour, excitement and a sense of satisfaction like you’ve worked hard all your life. I like smooth but there is something about a rough texture that makes you want to touch it and see what is there and where did all those little holes come from?
koru hand painted rocks
Texture is not perfect nor is it linear, it is not calm or flowing although the bumps and grooves like those in this rock were perhaps formed with the flow of water as it rushed over it…
I remember many years ago learning how to create texture, to paint it in an image and then I taught myself to photograph it, to see it in a new light as something that is precious…
How boring the world would be without texture. The beautiful textures of our natural world and the many human textures that are so complex and yet so simple.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Pāhake

Our tamariki these days are so lucky. Many still have their grandparents on both sides and some even have great grandparents and great great grandparents!
koru hand painted rocks
I only knew one of my grandparents and she passed away on my ninth birthday. But I have vivid memories of her that I will never forget. She used to wear reading glasses that would magnify her eyes ten times! My other grandparents I did not know and can only remember them from photos and what others have shared about them.
I feel kind of sad about that. I wish I had my pāhake to spend time with, to hear the reo being spoken and to hear all their stories. Many of our pāhake have passed away in recent years and sometimes its not until they pass away that we realise their importance in our lives and our communities.
If I had my grandparents today, I would be cherishing them every single day, and recording every word they say! I am grateful though for the many adopted pāhake that I have had in my life, those who have shared stories with me and whose presence has made me feel loved and protected.
And today I am also grateful that I still have my parents who are grandparents to nine mokopuna and who inspire me with their longevity and will to live. And all I can say to all of their mokopuna is to value them and honour them because they will not always be there.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The White Picket Fence

We have a white picket fence at the front of our house.
Wikipedia defines a picket fence as: a variety of fence that has been used mostly for domestic boundaries. Symbolically: a picket fence, ideally white, is seen by some as a symbol of the ideal middle-class suburban life…
koru hand painted rock
Hmmm… funny how a fence can define the “ideal” life. But I don’t see our fence like that at all. In fact I can’t wait for it to come down! We get too used to fencing ourselves in or out and dividing spaces to remind us of who owns what.
I remember having a big front lawn growing up – well it was big to me at the time! We would play often on the front lawn, it had no fence and none of our neighbours had fences either… we were free to roam and we often spent time at other people’s houses.
When I look at the fence, it reminds me of limitations, boundaries, blocking oneself into a narrow minded mentality. I also see colonisation.
It’s going to be a great day when that fence does actually come down because by then our native trees will have taken over the white picket fence and the native rimu timber that is hiding under that white paint will be able to come out in all it’s glory.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Looking Back

Just before I wrote this I was having a look back through all the rocks I had painted, the photos I had taken and the stories I had written so far. It is Day 213 today, so I’ve looked back over the past 212 days and wow! I was pretty stunned by what I had achieved.
koru hand painted rocks
I asked myself, how did I do that? Did I really do that? Oh my gosh! And as I was looking through from Day 212 to Day 1 (yes I was going from back to front, it’s how I read the paper too!), I was thinking hmmmm, I’m actually getting better at this and then I arrived at Day 1 and realised I wasn’t too bad to begin with!
The perfectionist coming out in me again! Actually I wrote a post about perfectionism too!
I’m not one to be proud out loud of my own achievements, but I was pretty chuffed with what I had achieved and the commitment I had made to my creativity at the beginning of the year has become so much more.
So I’m openly giving myself a pat on the back, saying well done and keep going because the year aint over yet! It feels a little uncomfortable to be blowing my own horn (that sounds really weird to say that lol by the way!) but at the same time, I’m smiling at what I have achieved.
Thank-you self.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I know I’m getting over my perfectionism too because I slapped this paint on and made sure lines weren’t too straight haha – and of course only I can notice! : )

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.
koru hand painted rocks
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!

On Being Alone

I have memories of going into the bush to play alone as a child. I would build my home there and felt quite at home… I loved being alone.
koru hand painted rocks
As a teenager, I never liked being alone and I always felt the need to be with others.
Later on, I relearned the joy and importance of being in solitude to reflect, to go within and be with oneself… such a hard thing to do at times. I spent four years living alone in the bush with minimal power, very cold at times, and lonely, but it was an important time in my life, very healing for me…

And now, I’ve realised the joy of both solitude and being with others although I do find solitude challenging at times still. And then sometimes I just want to be alone. So perhaps this wave of to-ing and fro-ing of solitude and social-ness will continue as it is. Everything in balance.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Inspired From Within

I never know what is going to come out on the rock until after I’ve painted it. And today’s rock is a different one – not my “usual” spiral painting, although the spiral is still there.
But that is the joy of creating something in the moment, painting intuitively and just allowing the brush to do it’s thing.
koru hand painted rock
I was thinking about my paintings on kohatu and even though I draw inspiration from my connection to the environment and being Māori, my art is not Māori art.
It has never been my intention to create Māori art, although at times my whakaaro may be inspired by things Māori. The designs I paint come from a place that knows no boundaries, a universal space that could be from anywhere…
I’ve been creating koru / spirals for as long as I can remember but this was long before I learned anything about Māori art. As a child, I drew spirals as borders, it seemed like a natural thing to do.
I believe my inspiration for this work is exactly that; inspiration – inspired from within and to label my work as this type of art or that type of art would limit its possibilities and potential.
I love Māori art but I feel most connected to the art that nature creates; the many patterns, shapes and colours…and our most ancient art form – rock art. Perhaps this is why I love painting rocks…
Now where is this all leading? I don’t know – I just wanted to say that. And it’s something I’ve been wanting to say for a while but perhaps didn’t have the courage. Culture is a funny thing…sometimes we may feel the need (or pressure) to fit into our cultural boundaries, but I don’t think life is supposed to be this way and maybe thats another story for another post!
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Language of Light

koru hand painted rock

I love the way of light; it’s ability to reflect the essence of nature in a single moment, lighting a pathway to a space or place, I see light in everything…
koru hand painted rock
Light expresses mood and feeling, light is a giver of life, it has the ability to bring out beauty and wonder, sadness and mystery.
Just as a painter who paints a portrait needs to know where the light falls, and so a photographer must “see” light to really capture the essence of what is in front of them.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Lifeline

If the ocean was to disappear, life as we know it would not exist.

Water. Such an important part of life.
koru hand painted rocks
And as my understanding of life’s intricate systems are revealed to me, my desire to care for the ocean and our waterways has become even stronger. This life form depends on that life form in order to survive and if this life form ceases to exist then so does this one… everything is connected.
And when I see our ocean and our planet, I see myself in everything. Papatūānuku our earth mother is a living breathing being, just as we are living breathing beings. And I often wonder, is this not as obvious to others as it is to me?
It’s been raining for two days now. Some people would complain about the rain, but today I watched the rain and all I could think about was how can I capture all that rain and hold it in a tank for a later date, so when the sun shines again I have water…
And what can I do, to preserve life’s most precious resource and at the same time preserve my own life and the life of every living being on this planet?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Comfort is Risky

I was driving through a community today and it took me right back to when I was growing up. Everything seemed so familiar, the housing, the narrow road…
koru hand painted rock
I thought about the tight knit communities that to some degree shape us and have an affect on us in our later years, the experiences that are embedded in our cells like growths, at times out of control…
But at some stage we have to leave the comforts of familiarity and take control. To explore new horizons, to get a life and see what else is there…
Because this comfort can be risky – we never get to see what is on the other side of the world, outside the house, or the back yard or outside our own cities, so we stay just around the edges because that is what we know…we feel safe there…
But by playing safe, we risk all potential to be, we risk not seeing the beauty of what lies beneath the facade that has been created by familiarity of time, place, comfort…
And if only we knew what awaits us… if only we knew…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Talk To Her

It’s the name of a movie I just finished watching.
koru hand painted rocks
Two woman are in a coma, one is a bullfighter and the other is a dancer. The dancer has been in a coma for four years and has been cared for by a man who loves her. He talks to her everyday, he washes her, he reads to her. He shares with her his experiences of the day. He does her hair, her makeup, everything that she would do for herself if she were alive – he does for her.
It’s a story filled with many things, but for me, it’s most important message was about the power of love. This man loved this woman so much and his simple acts of love breathe life into her and bring her out of her coma. The tragedy of it all is, he dies.
But it does have a happy ending. And there are some slightly off beat funny bits woven into the story, but the best thing to do is allow the story to be told… it’s a beautiful story, beautifully filmed and not what you would expect. And you might think I’ve told you the whole story – but I haven’t!
Check it out – it’s an art festival film and has now become one of my faves!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mirrors of Ice

Wrapping myself up in a blanket of aroha and warmth, feeling the need to hybernate for a little bit, heal some more and regroup for the new journeys ahead.
koru hand painted rock
There was an amazing frost this morning – I have not seen one like this for a long time. I remember them often growing up in Rotorua and we would stand on the grass with bare feet and feel the ice beneath our feet and pretend to skate on the ice that had formed puddles of water underneath, like mirrors, you could look inside to see what was there but these ones you could crack open, there were no surprises, just cold…
And today as I stepped outside just for a little while, I heard a noise coming up the driveway, like someone was running and then I looked to see a leaf, all dried up, running up the driveway with the wind making a sound as it turned over and over…it had finally fallen…
Yes winter is here and I still have hope that there is some cold to balance the warmth that is heating our planet earth, there is still hope…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Day 200 today! I feel new stories coming, stories of hope…

Hūpē

“Ko hūpē, ko roimata hei whakamauru noa i te mamae e kai kino nei, ā, mā te wā rawa te rāwakiwaki e whakangaro.”
“Mucus and tears will ease the intense pain and eventually in time the depression will recede.”
koru hand painted rocks
Death is something that challenges me. My grandmother passed away on my ninth birthday and it was my first experience of death that I can remember and my first experience of a tangi, that I can remember.
From that moment on, there was always this fear, this selfish fear of losing a loved one.
Despite this, I love the way we mourn and honour our people when they pass on. Over three days, we share stories, we shed tears, we allow the hūpē (mucus) to flow, allowing the grieving to take place; it helps us to let go, it helps the deceased to let go and it prepares the pathway for the wairua (spirit) of that person to transition from this place to the next.
I love the whakatauki (saying) above as it talks about the flow of hūpē as an important part of the healing process. It also reminds me of when you have a cold and the flow of hūpē is like an internal cleansing, an emptying out, removing the blocks that mucus on the inside can cause.
M deepest sympathy and aroha to all those who have lost loved ones recently, there seems to have been many over this past week. I knew that one day I would talk about this and I had no words until now…
And I want to acknowledge the passing of Katarina Te Heikōkō Mataira… her passion and commitment to te reo Māōri has inspired in me an even stronger desire to speak my reo everyday, to ensure our Māori language, my Māori language is alive and well for future generations.
Kia kore ai e ngaro tāku reo rangatira – e te Kuia e… e Te Heikōkō, ko tō ataarangi ko tōku ataarangi ko tō reo ko tōku reo, haere atu rā e Kui, moe mai, moe mai ra…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tomorrow People

We had a massive time at Matapuna training centre today. We were there to tautoko the Tomorrow People concert – an awesome kaupapa presented by Te Urunga Tū – a group of parents who want to create a future for their tamariki (children) WITHOUT fossil fuels.
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There was an amazing lineup of musicians which included Maisey Rika and Ria Hall – both awesome kai waiata with important messages, plus a whole lot of local acts including Te Kura o Waikirikiri, Radio Ngāti Porou who were broadcasting for six iwi radio stations and the PUKANA crew were also there! Plus some really informative speakers including Dayle Takitimu.
I came away feeling very inspired having been entertained by all these amazing Māori artists but also wanting to do even more for the future of our tamariki. As people played on stage, up front the tamariki sat and watched, taking it all in as kids do in their own special way and perhaps not even sure how this is going to affect them in the future but it was such a joy just to see them there; so alive and energetic.
And watching some of these kids get up and dance and sing – oh my gosh – there is no shortage of talent there and when one young kotiro got up to do her haka – man, she made the hair stand up on my skin!! Wow – she was no older than 10 but with such confidence that this generation has I believe, instilled through our Māori language, waiata and all those things that make us who we are as Māori. It was so beautiful to see…
And such wonderful support from the community who came to support as well.
I have brought many messages home with me but the most important is: don’t wait for those politicians down in Wellington to do something for us. We must start in our own homes with our own whānau, whether it is recycling, planting a garden or trees, changing the products that we use, biking or walking instead of taking the car, and being vocal in terms of not allowing any drilling for oil in ANY of our waterways.
A big mihi to the bro Rob Ruha and all those who made this event happen! Ka pai koutou!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Three Things

I learnt three things today…
1. Now I see that I must give what I most need…
2. The mystery of wood is not that it burns but that it floats…
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3. Those things that we need to work on most, are right there in front of us, the lessons, the challenges, the experiences are right there and will continue to present themselves until we learn.
It was hard for me to write yesterday. The more I tried, the harder it became. But if I had just looked at the rock I had painted and listened to it’s story, all would have been revealed to me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Small Gesture

We had a lovely whanau come over tonight and bring us some kai (food) as a koha (gift) for something that Todd did for them today. We were pleasantly surprised because we were not expecting them to come over and say thank-you let along bring us some kai!
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It was really lovely to have this whanau in our home and to see how appreciative they were. We didn’t actually realise how much of an impact it would have on them and when they left we were uplifted and overwhelmed at what had happened.
Sometimes things that might seem small to us can mean all the world to someone else and this experience was a gentle reminder of the importance of small things, the small gestures that can make a difference.

Arohanui,
Jo x

I Appreciate You

I want to say THANK-YOU to everyone who has stopped by these pages to share your whakaaro, your thoughts…

To those who have followed the journey right from the very beginning and those who have recently joined the ride – thank-you!!
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I was thinking today how people come and go in flows, they’ll stay for a bit and then leave again almost like they came for a specific purpose, a certain time of year, a certain rock that perhaps had a message for them and then once they’ve received that message they’re gone again.
And then there’s those long term residents (haha – you know who you are!) who are always there and even when they’re not physically there, I can feel them in the periphery somewhere…
There are those who have never left a comment, those who are watching, observing, taking it all in, looking in from the outside…

And then there are those who show their face for just a little while and then they disappear as quickly as they appeared.
So thank-you all for making this offering so much more richer than I could ever make it on my own. I appreciate every word that is shared and I try to reply to everyone even if its just an acknowledgement with a push of the “like” button, just to let you know, I appreciate you. Thank-you.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just Laugh

I was reading John’s book today and I laughed so hard, like deep down in my puku laugh, childhood laugh and SO loud I reckon the neighbours could hear and if anyone walked in on me, they would have thought I wasn’t all there – ha! But it was SO funny!
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And I haven’t laughed like that for such a long time which is kinda sad because our days should be filled with laughter and it makes you feel so good to laugh doesn’t it?
It was such a good feeling that I’m going to make a point of finding something to laugh about every day. I even laughed at myself laughing because it was actually really funny how I was laughing! You know when children laugh with all of themselves, deep down… I remember laughing like that as a child… but somehow we lose that desire, or ability or whatever it is that makes us laugh.
So I’m finding my laughing self all over again… thanks John!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Internal Layers

Sometimes when I paint a rock, it’s easy. I can paint it in ten minutes. Other times like today, it will take me forever!
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But I’ve learnt to just go with it, to work through whatever the block is, because each rock like this rock with many layers, is stripping away the internal layers of conditioning that have said to me in the past, you can’t do this (yes I can), this is not good enough (in whose eyes?), people will be critical of your work (of course – and?) and so on…
So the layers that I pile onto a rock have a purpose, a very good purpose. They help me move through those internal barriers that at the end of it all, transmute themselves into this beautiful work of art right before my eyes.
And here I am at Day 193! I’ve painted a rock a day for 193 days of the year and I betcha it won’t be long before I’ll be saying Day 300! And of course I will get there, not without a challenge, but I will get there!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Spilling Out

Gosh, it’s taken me a while to write this post! So I’m just gonna have a “spilling out” session and anything goes!
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I wonder if it’s all the political stuff that I’m exposing myself to lately. It does make me angry and it does put a bad feeling in my gut sometimes, like I wanna spew. Especially the ignorance of some people toward things Māori. I am Māori, I am of this land and it affects me.
So perhaps I’m just having a rant now, upset at sometimes feeling powerless within my own country which is perhaps the reason why people don’t bother with politics anyway.

Power and control. I wonder, if politicians were told today that they had to do what they do “for love”, how many of them would still be there? That’ll sort the real ones out from the fakes I bet.

People need to feel empowered, they need to feel like it’s ok to be who they are, that it’s ok to be who we are, that it’s ok to be who you are, and yes we are allowed to create our own destiny without having to worry about whether history will unfold to repeat itself again…history is already repeating…
Respect. People need to be respected. Power and control needs to be kicked to the curb (this seems to be my saying for the day!) and people should be allowed to protect what is there’s, to protect what is there’s to protect, and to be who they are…
Weight off shoulders. I must of needed that. It was like having a spew, but I feel much better now…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mantra

This is my mantra for the day that I created this morning as I sat down to do my healing codes. It may not make sense to you all, but it makes perfect sense for me and has guided me throughout my day.
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I have nothing to fear
Making mistakes are important steps in my learning journey
they allow me to refine my journey
my art, my story
and bring forward my truth
for all to see
One step at a time is all it takes
And I AM good enough!
I AM needed in this world.
Arohanui,
Jo x
For those who do not know what the Healing Codes are, it is a form of healing that I started a year ago which I have just started to do again after 6 months not practicing. Other than Vipassana meditation which I practiced for six years, it is the only other form of healing that I’ve used that has healed the underlying cause of problems.

Leadership

Leadership has nothing to do with your ability to accumulate riches.
If you are well educated, you are not necessarily a leader.
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Leadership is humility, patience and compassion.
Leadership is passionate and courageous.

Leaders speak their truth and know when no words are necessary.
Leadership is not race or religion.
Leadership is not age or gender.
Leadership is not power and control.
Leadership is resilience.

Leadership is the ability to solve problems.
Leadership is solutions.
Leadership does not judge or put down.
Leadership is understanding, positive and committed.
We are all leaders in our own special way.
We just need to decide whether or not we want to lead.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Living Out of a Suitcase

I was up early this morning to catch the bus to the airport and as I waited, I saw a woman sleeping, tucked into the corner of the bus stop. It was raining a little and I thought, oh I hope she hasn’t missed her bus, maybe she needs to be woken up?
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She had a big suitcase, a pile of clothes placed neatly on top and a few bits and pieces hanging off the bag.
I looked across the road and I saw a man pulling a suitcase behind him and I knew he wasn’t going to the airport and then I realised, she was homeless and she wasn’t going to the airport either although given half the chance she would probably be up in a flash.
I felt sad and angry at the same time and just wanted to wrap these two up in a blanket of aroha and take them home with me… I also felt very grateful for my life, the roof over my head and the fact that I was going home…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Singing Rock

I’m in Auckland for the night performing live with composer and sound artist Leah Barclay as part of the ACMC sonic art concert being held at the Auckland University music school – gosh that was a mouthful!!
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So we’ve had our rehearsal and I thought I would paint my rock and post before we head off to the concert!
And this rock is going to be singing for us tonight, Leah has composed a piece called ‘Dhakan’ and there is a part in the piece that was created as a result of a collaboration with Leah in Taranaki at the beginning of the year. So rocks and water and bowls and musical instruments and sounds of nature and voices and waiata of both Aotearoa and Australia will be playing together accompanied by a beautiful piece composed by Leah…a piece that has been composed using the sounds of nature…
So I’m grateful to have this opportunity to experience and learn about sound as an art form…
I’ll let you know later how the performance goes, but I’m sure everything will come together nicely and the rock is going to sing beautifully tonight!
Ma te wā,
Jo x
You can visit Leah’s website here: www.leahbarclay.com or you can find her on Face Book.

Pilgrimage

I watched a documentary today – a pilgrimage that our whanaunga from Pakakohi and Ngāti Ruanui in Taranaki took to Ōtākou. It was a pilgrimage to remember those ancestors who died while imprisoned for fighting against land confiscations by the crown.
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I was moved to tears and as I listened to the names of those tūpuna (ancestors) who never survived, I felt the mamae (pain) of those whanau who still carry the effects of this today, whose ancestors to this day have never returned home.
I’m not sure why I talk about this today. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a book by John Danalis – “Riding the Black Cockatoo” that talks about repatriation and the returning of an ancestor to his country. An ancestor who passed years ago but has only just begun the journey home.
And as I hear both of these stories, there is little difference in our history and I can only hope that stories like these continue to be told.
And I paint this rock for my dear friend Ray who a few years back, gave selflessly to our people as we travelled our own personal pilgrimages. And people like John and Ray who at least try to understand and do the right thing, I wish there were more of them in the world.
And we all need to take responsibility for ourselves, to heal ourselves so that we can move forward, remembering the legacy that our ancestors left for us but also creating our own legacies for the future. That is our right and that is our responsibility.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the link to watch this documentary online is here http://bit.ly/n28q4u If you can’t stream it in your country, Waka Huia also has a channel on You Tube. You can see other stories here too!

Ko Wai Koe – Who Are You?

You know when you’re out somewhere, maybe at an exhibition opening or at a hui and you meet someone you have never met before, do you ask them, “Who are you?” or do you say, “What do you do?”
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Often I will ask, “Where you from?” as a way of making a connection with the person and perhaps I might know someone they know or they might even be related to me! It just seems like a natural thing to do to make that connection…
But I reckon more often than not, when we get into conversations it’s all about what we do for a job and yet for most people, this has nothing at all to do with who they are… And I believe this question, “who are you?” expands even further than where we are from. It conjurs up an acknowledgement of ones intrinsic being; their hopes, their passions, their purpose…
So I challenge everyone, next time you’re out and you meet someone new, ask them “Who are you?” and see what response you get.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mate Atu He Tetekura

Mate atu he tētēkura, hara mai he tētēkura.
As one fern frond dies, another arises to take its place.
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I cried big tears today. It was great! Sometimes things happen that prompt us to face what it is that we need to face in order to release it and allow healing to take place. Sometimes we need to lose something, to release something in order to gain and learn what our next step will be. And such is life…
Much aroha to Ana who lost her mother today, who so bravely speaks about her, not in sadness but in honour of her life through her death, a self-less remembrance of someone dear to her heart. May this kohatu carry you into the future Ana and remind you every day of the life that you and your mother shared together…
Arohanui,
Jo x
Ko tēnei te wiki o te reo Māori nō reira, kia kaha tātou ki te kōrero ēngari, kia kaua mā tēnei wiki anake, whakanuia kahatia i ngā wā katoa! This week is Māori language week so let us celebrate by speaking our language, but don’t wait for this week, celebrate our reo by speaking it all the time! : )

Pride of Place

I’ve had three people in the last couple of days say to me that the rocks I have painted for them (one over 12 years ago!) have pride of place in their home…
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I am so grateful that people appreciate these kohatu – as the word “kohatu” says, they are special gifts! And they are special gifts because they come from special places with special energy and special stories…
And I’ve always known them to be special, from the moment I first held a kohatu in my hand and then when I started to paint them… they’re so special to me that I moved to be close to them for seven years…
I’m happy that these kohatu are now scattered around the world sharing their healing energy wherever they are…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Intuitive Stretching

I love stretching…
I listen to my body and find places where stress is stored, then breathing in to exhale again, I let go…
allowing the energy to flow again…
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Its amazing how your body responds when you listen… giving your attention for just a few moments can bring great healing and release…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Sugar – The New Fire Water

We were talking the other day about how cheap it is for kids to buy fizzy drinks these days… and the amount of sugar that is in them!
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I remember walking into the supermarket first thing in the morning on a number of occasions, and there were these young kids walking out of the supermarket with two bottles each (big ones) of fizzy drink!
I don’t think people get how “bad” sugar is especially in excessive amounts and I know from personal experience how “bad” sugar is and how addictive it can be because I was brought up on it! Every morning in our school lunch boxes, we would have at least (at least!) one chocolate bar! When I think back, I realise I became addicted at a very young age and have spent many years of my life trying to deal with balancing insulin and sugar levels.
Diabetes is a huge issue here in Aotearoa and in many places around the world and yet we continue to promote sugar every single day without thought for the consequences of consuming large amounts of it.

As adults, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and the food that we put into our bodies and bless those yummy chocolate bars that magically made their way into my lunchbox every morning, but now, its my responsibility to ensure that this is not passed on to the next generation… the least we can do is stop taking the easy option and feeding our children sugar!
I want to finish with a link to a beautiful flute and poetry reading by Rykelle Kemp and her Dad Randy Kemp who I met here in Aotearoa back in 2006. This is beautiful and talks about the assimilation of their people… and the words, “sugar – the new fire water” are Rykelle’s… http://bit.ly/kogjVP When you arrive to the website, you’ll see Rykelle in a recording studio, press play…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Wish Bone

I want to tell a story today, it is one of many stories that pop up now and then from Miss 6 and 3/4 year old Teia…
We were having dinner tonight (roast chicken!) and she says quite confidently, “I think the wish bone can come from either the leg or the wing.”

“Oh” I said having an internal chuckle!
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Now my initial thought was to correct her, but I thought, no, I will allow her that moment of confidence and belief that the wishbone actually “can come from either the leg or the wing” and one day she may eventually find out that it actually comes from somewhere else!

She has always been big on the wishbone when it comes to chicken in our house. She’s always trying to hunt it down and if you dare get it before her, she’ll let you know about it and when she does get it before you, she’ll let you know about it too!
But never have we talked about where the wish bone actually comes from, even though she has found it before on many occasions from the actual place where it comes from!
Now I’m not sure really what my point is here, other than the fact that I wanted to tell the story because it was SO funny at the time but also, sometimes I think things are better left as they are, especially for a little girl whose confidence comes not from having to get everything right all the time but from having the believe and confidence that anything is possible…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Trust

This rock is very definite today; the lines and colours are solid and permanent.
Trust is a big word. I’ve started to write about this in many posts before, but for whatever reason the kōrero didn’t feel right, so I left it… and now it has come back! And sometimes the things that are hardest to post are the most important.
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Issues of trust have presented themselves to me often over the past month and when I look back on this year, I realize that my life has been one big trust! The things that I have created, the journeys I have embarked on, the decisions that I’ve made have all been decisions of trust.
And I feel like I’ve come to a point, you know that point where all you need to take is one more step and then you’re there? But that one step is a step that you keep trying to take your whole life… some take that step and some don’t.

But its there, within your grasp, and for whatever reason, you find it the hardest thing to do, even though it requires just that one step…
So I’m at this special place, it’s like all the issues of the past have come to the present, ready to be released so that I can just take that one step… This feels like the biggest trust of all, but it will only take one step…
Arohanui,
Jo x

This Old Lady

I was walking today, being present in my surroundings and I was amazed at how much I took in. I walked to town which is only half an hour but in that time I saw so many things… scenes presented to me, full of messages, I would have missed them if I was not fully present.
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So I experienced many things today but the highlight was during the walk home, seeing the old lady who lives in the white stucco house on the corner. She’s over 90 years old, but she was out in the sunshine tending to her garden as I walked by. And if you were to see her garden you would agree that it is immaculate!
I stopped briefly to talk and I told her how wonderful her gardens look and she replied, “oh they need some work and I’m going to mow the lawns this afternoon!” My gosh!
And that old lady, she’s always been like that, as long as I’ve known her to be the old lady on the corner. And to top it all off, she even dressed the part. She had her sneakers on like she was gonna run a marathon!
Sometimes we can be inspired by the most unlikely of things, but this old lady she inspires me every time I see her out there tending to her garden. I always find myself looking to her house even as I drive by, just to see her gardens so alive and to be reminded that – hullo – I’m not even 40 years old yet so I should just stop complaining about all the aches and pains and get on with it – for goodness sake lol
Arohanui,
Jo x

Looking Back – Moving Forward

I’ve just looked back over the past few days and realised that the rocks I’ve painted have been either white, grey or yellow! Maybe a bit boring, but for me the colours suit my moods and what has been going on in my life at the time. And I’ve definitely been in a contemplative space lately, thinking lots about the future and the coming six months.
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And perhaps these colours also reflect this time of year…
So a blue rock today, and when I look back to all the blue rocks I’ve painted this year, they have been times of transition, moving from one place to another and coming back into balance.

My thoughts go back to one of my first blue rocks I painted in Feb which was all about water… a theme that has been strong in my life over the past six months and will continue into 2012, Water is also about who I am so coming back into my own and speaking my truth…
So I’m creating this space within and my physical creative space at home has changed too, reflecting more and more each day – who I am and nurturing my spirit.
Arohanui,
Jo x
I received a couple of CDs in the mail today and was so inspired and warmed to hear Acoustic Activists play and sing their beautiful waiata. I am moved and hopeful that here in Aotearoa, we have the ability to share our messages with the world in a way that can make a difference. Ngā mihi aroha ki a koutou! : )

Why I Paint Koru

Why do I paint koru? A friend prompted me to write about this, when she asked me what the circles that I paint mean to me…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to circles and spirals. As a child in school I used to create borders for my assignments that were continuous koru. I would watch nature’s many patterns and shapes and am still in awe of them today. So nature inspires me to create spirals…
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I also feel relaxed when painting spirals on to rocks. I go into a meditative space where I’m fully present with the rock and as I paint I’m totally in the spiral going round and round with it. Sometimes the spiral can go on for a long time and other times it will stop soon after it started. But each time I draw or paint the spiral, it relaxes me and is very calming.
And the more I paint circles and spirals, the more I find out about them as a universal symbol. They are embedded in many cultures and symbolic of many things; life, new beginnings, growth, change, simplicity, balance… and everyday I find new meaning for the koru which inspires me to tell more stories through them.
And right now spirals and circles feel very much a part of me and who I am. They have messages that I want to share, often messages that aren’t revealed to me until further down the track and their simplicity and perfection draws people in, and this encourages me to continue to create them.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The World is Your Kina

I heard this kōrero today from Trevor Moeke – the regional manager for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa here in the East. It was at the wānanga graduation that he spoke about kina… and he went on and on and on about kina…
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But the gist of his kōrero was about how kina is such a delicacy and when we eat kina or even before we eat the kina, we salivate and work up to eating it and then when we do eventually eat it, we savour the taste in our mouths, waiting for the next bit to go in, all the time looking after this kai from Tangaroa…
And so he likened the kina to our dreams our aspirations, something special to be nurtured and cared for. When we look after our kina we are taking responsibility for our own destiny…
And his last words were, that reaching our destiny is not without its challenges and those spikes of the kina represent those heke, those times where we have to really dig deep to achieve our dreams but if we can endure and work through those challenging times, then therein lies the hua, the delicacy, the dream, there for the taking, for eating, to enjoy and take in… hei oranga mo te tinana, te hinengaro me te wairua… as health and wellbeing, it nurtures, our body, mind and spirit.
You had to be there to fully appreciate the kōrero but it was a wonderful way to end the LONG graduation ceremony.
And why kina? Because apparently they don’t get oysters in Waipiro Bay where he’s from so kina is it!
Arohanui,
Jo x

E-motion

Marie my osteopath was talking to me about the physical body today and how we have to keep our bodies moving, in “motion” otherwise we get tense and tight and things shut down. Which makes perfect sense ne?
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It was like a revelation for me, not because it was something new but for the first time I saw an example of the connection between the physical body and our emotions (the solution also contained in the word emotion) and how we store our emotions in the body through lack of expression or release or activity or movement which can manifest as dis-ease in the body.
So how cool I thought, that the word “emotion” contains the word motion – the very solution that allows the flow of energy through the body which releases a whole lot of things including built up stress which then allows the body to function again, the way it should.
I’ve always known that there is a connection between my emotions and my physical body through observation, and there is a lot of research out there that proves this also, but to see it in this way was quite revealing and healing for me. Which in essence is the whole point of what I’m trying to say really. That to express your emotions freely is to allow the flow of energy again…
The motion of emotion, sets the physical body into action which releases stress from the body that allows energy to flow through the body which helps the body to heal…
Of course it’s not that straight forward, easier said than done but then when I think again, it is that simple isn’t it?
Arohanui,
Jo x
I was a bit reluctant to post this tonight. But I was also reluctant to post my first rock on Jan 1st 2011 too! That fear thing again, it comes and it goes but nothing like facing that fear and doing it anyway!

For Now

As we head into the second half of the year, I find myself delving deeper and deeper into my life, why am I here, what is my purpose? The restlessness and the tiredness I mentioned a few days back, it all make perfect sense with where I’m at…
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And where I’m at is listening; listening to my soul speak, to find those things that move me to action, those things that will take me to the next step in my journey. Because that is all there is for now. We can plan ahead a year, two years, five years but what is right in front of us is what’s most important…for now…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Acoustic Activists

We watched Operation 8 tonight at the Dome Cinema here in Gisborne. I don’t know where to start with this documentary other than, I cried, I got angry, I laughed in bits too but deep down in my heart I realised that nothing has changed from when our ancestors lived to today…
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I thought about those who had gone before, I thought about my own family, my life. I thought about those mokopuna at Ruātoki who will never forget the day of the police raids, never… those whānau whose lives were invaded, mistreated, disrespected…

It really hurt to see this… and looking back through our history, nothing has changed…
There is so much I want to say and perhaps I will leave it to others to share their kōrero but I will finish with this whakaaro…

At the end of the documentary there was a young kōtiro – Majic, singing a beautiful waiata and it reminded me of a wānanga I was at not long after the police raids on Ruātoki in Oct 2007. At this wānanga there were a group of us artists, sharing and creating art in many forms and sharing whakaaro about many things including the importance of art in our society today.
It reminded me to keep telling our stories, to share our messages of hope through our art, to share with others who we are. So it encourages me, that we as artists have a mission, we are needed in this world to make a difference, to bring about change and when I hear this kōtiro singing her waiata for the people, it fills me with hope for our future…
Kia kaha koe Majic, you and all our rangatahi are the voice for the people to carry us into the future.
Arohanui,
Jo x
The trailer for the documentary can be seen on You Tube here: Operation 8 Trailer Gisborne has another screening on Sunday at the Dome Cinema at 4pm. They also have an official movie FB page where you can check out screening times and find out more about the movie. FB page is: Operation 8: Deep in the forest.
And I hear along the FB kumara vine that Majic has an album coming out soon – watch this space, this girl has got a beautiful voice with an important message!!

Restless

It’s one of those times when I’ve got so much to do and I want to do everything at once! And restless – so so restless, but tired at the same time.
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I’m tired from all the travel and have only just got my feet on the ground again… and it won’t be long before the next journey begins and each journey has been a stepping stone to the next journey..
So this restless time is one of those “intermission” times I’ve posted about before, the in between project time, the ideas time, the brainstorming time… but I must remember to rest, my body is telling me to rest! And this restless in between time is probably the most important time of all because its where great ideas are conceived before the action begins!
So embracing this time and enjoying the sleeeeeeep!
Arohanui,
Jo x
It’s a bit of a contradiction being restless on one hand and then having lots of sleep on the other, but I feel like its a good thing right now! I’m getting my sleep so I can be more productive in my restless moments – ha!

What Really Matters

I’ve been prompted today to think about what really matters…
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Life is not about waiting for the right moment or having regrets but taking action and living, really living with love in your heart and appreciating every moment…

I believe everyone wants to love and be loved, to be cared for, to be joyful and full of life and vitality and to achieve their heart’s desires…

I am grateful for my mother who today reminds me of life’s precious moments, that at some point in our lives, we need looking after, we need to be nurtured and cared for…

And at other times in our lives we need to be selfless enough to nurture others, to care for others in their times of need.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Ngā Tae Whenua

We’re here at Pungarehu marae beside the Wanganui river and I’ve just come to the waters edge… This river is beautiful – I hear sounds travel up the river and echo all around me…
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When I bend over to wash my hands in the awa (river), I think to myself, how far up the awa have those sounds come? The native trees in front of me on the other side of the river are like all the ancestors lined up in a row, greeting me…
And what really amazes me are the kohatu (rocks) of this river, so many colours and the red stands out like the blood that runs through our veins and the blood that is our rivers that are the veins and the lifeline of Papatūānuku that connect us with one another and give us life.
So I can have all my acrylic colours in the world, but none of them come close to being as beautiful as the colours of this land. It encourages me to search for more colours of the earth, to create more with the earth, just like the natural ochre I used while in Australia. Papatūānuku is rich in love and rich in colour. I am in awe…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Wānanga – A Perspective

In Wanganui at the moment with Todd for his final te reo o Wanganui wananga…
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I love wānanga for many reasons:
They bring people together to share kōrero and stories about many different things.
People leave with a full kete – with new ideas and perspectives, often challenged.
Overwhelming at times, they can take you to depths and places that you would never have been to before
Having been at many wānanga and reo wananga there is so much sharing of knowledge and so much to take in. I sleep for a while after but I’m also re-energised. It is often hard to comprehend on just a physical level as you are engaged on all levels – mentally, emotional and spiritually…
And a reo wānanga is special because our language is beautiful and conceptual and there is a whole different world seen through our Māori language.
I imagine the wananga of old were amazing experiences, enlightening…
Our current ways of learning in schools are restricting, whereas these old schools of learning, these wānanga allow for possibilities and potential. I reckon all learning should be done wānanga styles!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Flying with the Moon

I flew from Gisborne to Auckland, Auckland to Wanganui today. The trip to Wanganui was at night and it was the first time that I’ve flown with a full moon. I’ve heard that the second full moon is the Māori moon, and this is the moon that was shining tonight.
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I looked out the window as we took off and saw the bright light and even though I was not on the side that the moon was on, it was bright enough to see…
And when we flew past Taranaki heading toward Wanganui – I knew that the maunga was there even though I couldn’t see it! The lights were lit up in New Plymouth and then there was this big void in the landscape and I knew that Taranaki maunga was there.

A wonderful experience that sent me on my way and reminded me of all the kaitiaki (guardians) that are around us that come in many forms.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ngā mihi aroha ki a koe e tōku tiiki i tēnei tō rā nui. A te wā ka kite atu i a koe… Arohanui, nāku xx

Puanga Kai Rau

Puanga kai rau – an abundance of food at Puanga…
Ngā mihi o te tau hou Māori ki a tātou! Happy Māori New Year to us all!
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They say that the Māori new year begins on the new moon in June which was on the 1st of June and today the 15th of June is a full moon… I was in North Queensland when the new moon appeared so I’m having my own Māori New Year celebration right now on the full moon!
Many iwi around Aotearoa celebrate Matariki or the rising of Pleiades as an indication of the Māori new year, but in Taranaki in the west we celebrate the rising of Rigel or Puanga which appears in the west before Matariki.
So the Māori new year is a time when food storage pits are full and kai is plentiful as the whakatauki or proverb says… for many it is also an opportunity to start new projects, to set new goals and to celebrate being Māori. And many celebrations happen all around the country at this time of the year!
No reira, me whakanuia kahatia e tātou tēnei wā o te tau! Let us all celebrate this time of year wherever we are in the world.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Inspire Uplift Heal

So I’m home and grounded but I feel like I’m on cloud nine! And there’s more to come!koru hand painted rocks
It’s amazing what intention can do. Speaking your truth and being who you are can create magic everyday and bring to fruition those dreams you first thought impossible.
My vision is: “Inspire, Uplift and Heal through Nature and Creativity” and everyday I live with this intent I myself am inspired, uplifted and healed in many wonderful ways.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – Just for you Jacq! Rā whānau ki a koe e hoa – a special gift you have to heal, always giving with your insight and words, I look forward to seeing you shine, when you spread your wings and fly…
And today I also honour and remember Mahinekura who believed in me and encouraged me to speak my truth. Arohanui.

Kahu

The kahu (hawk) followed me all the way home today. Every corner I turned, the kahu was there…
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I’m used to seeing kahu while driving but today was extra special – so many! I must have saw at least 20 of them flying and it all started in the morning when I woke up at Trudy’s house. There was a kahu circling down below…
At one point a kahu stopped just as I drove by and I looked to the side of the road, into this birds eyes and wow! And I’ve never seen it before but this bird had a bright green head, with a brownish blackish body – has anyone seen a hawk like this before?
And then to top it all off, when I get home to Gisborne, Todd says to me, guess what I found on the road? It was a kahu that had been hit by a car, he brought it home so we could honour it and bring its feathers back to life through our creative work. I have a piece I’ve been working on for a while that came to a halt and now I have the materials to finish it!
Its a special piece for many reasons, will post it when its finished.
This rock was taken while driving through Ohope as the sun was setting…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tena Koe

I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded the plane home today and the guy at the counter said to me “kiaora” and then as I left he said, “Tēnā koe” I thought, wow that is SO awesome that someone has taken the time to learn our reo and is using it to greet people as they leave Australia.
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It really made me feel looked after on my journey home to Aotearoa today… It was a very special experience for me…
And I heard that flights were cancelled at 1pm due to ash coming from somewhere… my flight left at 12.50pm – now how is that for divine timing?

Tēnā koe to the man who greeted me in my language – I have no idea if I will see him again but from that moment I felt like I was looked after for my journey home!
Arohanui,
Jo x
Much love to cousin Kiri – so lovely to spend a little time with ya even for a short while xx

The Alchemist

Di gave me The Alchemist by Coelho to read and so it is coming home with me, kind of like a companion…
I first heard about it 13 years ago when I was taking photographs on the Kaituna River. One of the rafting guides mentioned it to me and I thought, wow that sounds like an interesting book… but never got to read it until now. So it was gently put into my lap…the timing may not have been right then but it is now. I am ready.
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And thus far, the book is about following your heart, trusting that what your heart speaks, is your truth and that you we should all follow our truth. And I realise that my whole life has been a journey to speak my truth, to be who I am and to share this with others.
So thanks Di – our meeting was meant to be! But we already knew this didn’t we…
And the circles are fitting also. Spending time with cousins Tina and Kiri, its like we have done a full circle – its been over 10 years since we lived in Auckland and hung out, so old circles and new circles have come together… and currently creating new circles for the future.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Whanau Is

Cousin Tina picked me up today so it was nice to catch up with her and reminisce about the times we’ve spent together and how far we’ve come since then… And then catching up with cousin Kiri was, as always a joyful and interesting experience! But so wonderful to spend time with her again too!
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Whānau is grounding, is memory, is cruising, is aroha, is whakapapa, is reminiscing, is connection is comfort…
Nice to be grounded and spend time with whānau before heading home on Sunday.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – this is a beautiful rock that is an irregular shape and it sparkles when you see it from a certain angle…

Words of the Moment

Memories of times gone by, beautiful healing with Di, present moment, going with the flow and just doing what ever you feel in any point and time…
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Challenging, growing, changing, new beginnings, every day a new life…
Arohanui,
Jo x
Happy birthday to my darling niece Ani who turned 16 today. How appropriate that a lot of my memories for healing are when I was 16 years old and that I can gift this rock to the next generation… Arohanui ki a koe Ani xx

Barefoot on the Earth

I woke this morning in the bush, a stunning day and something happened that took me back in time to when I was a teenager going through a lot of stuff and I realised that this was a part of my healing. It was so profound I knew it was for me…
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So I left the beauty and connection of bush today, off to another journey to heal. I put my feet in the sea again, to wash away those unwanted wounds, to walk barefoot on the sand was an amazing thing…
Walking barefoot is so healing, I walked barefoot during the time I was in the bush and today as I made my transition…
And then Tea Tree Bay where these amazing trees stood around, it was like walking into a corridor of ancestors, like they were making way for me and then down to the sea where the rocks were, the stories that lay before my eyes embedded in the crevices where water flows, shaping, forming, changing.

And there on the horizon, the beautiful mountains all lined up in a row…another special place that I feel connected to…
Another day another journey tomorrow. And so grateful for Di who has come into my life and who is sharing this journey with me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Feeling Is Seeing Is Being

In nature – seeing is feeling… the leaves talk to me…
I was out in the bush today, creating in nature. I found a beautiful spot with a rock in the middle and I painted it. As I painted I tuned in to the land, the birds, the trees and thought about the snake and my fear and excitement all in the same breath…
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As I felt the snakes presence in the landscape I also thought about my colonized view of the serpent, representing evil, but whose skin is so in nature and in tune with nature. He slides along the earth close to Papatuanuku, could there not be any being more connected than he?
And as I felt this presence I understood too that nature does not have to be seen to be felt. I could be miles away and still feel a place… But the snake did come out for me today and she was beautiful… so graceful in movement and very
healing…she presented herself just as I was walking by and in that moment, she and I became one…
I was also reminded of my own shedding of skin, this new life I am about to begin…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I say she because he or she is contained in the word – it’s like the Māori word for she or he which is the same – ia. This rock is not the rock that I painted in the clearing but a rock that I painted right outside my door in this beautiful paradise I was staying…

This Land is Alive

koru hand painted rocksThis place is so alive. Floating Land is over and I’ve said goodbye to my sacred
space beside Lake Cootharaba and am now at Ross and Tamzyn’s sacred space just out of Cooroy. The first thing I noticed is how alive this bush is.

Spiders SO big and my fear of being in that very space that is so much a part of me. This aliveness, this health and wellbeing, this connection to nature, it has made me realise that there is still an even stronger urge to connect to nature, to find myself even deeper into the parts of me that still need healing in order for me tohelp others in their own journeys.
Nature is so beautiful and perfect and yet I fear this at times – a challenging space to be in right now but amazing and exciting at the same time. Another internal journey and reflections of nature revealing to me, the essence of who I am. I’m meant to be here.
Arohanui,
Jo x
It was lovely to meet Gaylin today and we both realised that we were brought together to do some healing work together with kohatu. I’m looking forward to this!

What If

koru hand painted rocksSunday 5th June – today is the last day of Floating Land and the conversations about water are coming to an end although I feel they have just begun. One of the things I remember in amongst all the korero was not an answer but a question…What If?

And so it has prompted me to ask my own questions… What if I had a voice? What if my story was heard? What if we all valued our natural environment and people? What if we all loved one another and cared for one another? What If?
So if these are my questions then perhaps the journey I am on will reveal the answers to me…
I painted two rocks today – as people shared conversations, I painted… I didn’t get to paint all the conversations but that’s ok… there will be more to come…
And one final question… What If we were all living our lives on purpose and knew who we were, what could be achieved?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Attachment Time Place

koru hand painted rockFloating Land is nearly over and I’m feeling a little sad to be leaving this beautiful place but realize my attachment to the land and water here is something that I need to let go of in order for me to continue on my journey.

I’ve been conscious of this attachment to time and place, that feeling like you’re having to be somewhere at a certain time but being here has enabled me to see that if we trust we are always at the right place at the right time then I believe we are living in tune with the rhythms of life and this is where the real magic happens.

Nga Manu

I woke up this morning to birds singing and when I came down to the space there were birds there as well just as they were when I first arrived. I feel like this journey is coming to a close… the lake has been such a place of healing and reflection for me… a space of giving, sharing and aroha…
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I jumped on a rock today to paint it and also shot some video of me painting. It was quite revealing and I saw that I am so in myself and focused when I am painting. And to be standing on this big rock in the water has brought everything together of who I am, the importance of my story and sharing this at Floating Land with the community and of what is to come in the future.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Beauty in Everything

These two ducks went swimming by today. Well, paddling or swimming, whatever they do to move in the water! I’m not really into ducks but these ducks were something else. I couldn’t help but notice them gliding peacefully through the water, leaving a trail of patterns behind them. And such a beautiful colour… anyway, no ordinary ducks these were, but I wonder if it is this place that is opening me up to the beauty within me and within the landscape? I am seeing the beauty in everything right now, with new eyes, I feel like I’ve been born all over again…
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I had some special moments today with special people. A lady who had attended one of my workshops chased me up the street and wanted to give me a film she made of a special place here in North Queensland. My healing waters workshop moved her so much she wanted me to experience this special place as she felt it would have an effect on me.
I spent some time today with Steve, an artist here at Floating Land and as we chatted I painted one of the rocks at the back of his installation. It’s so good for the soul to connect through storytelling and experiences in life. Thank-you Steve.
And so many other people I had conversations with, awesome conversations, and I just want to say that it was such a joy to finally meet Dianne and Pete today who I will be spending time with next week. I am so grateful for this!
And then to top it all off – dinner with wonderful friends from all around the world.
What beauty will tomorrow bring?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the duck photo is coming soon…

Korowai

There’s this amazing tree in the space beside the lake where I am working at the moment. It’s like this totem pole in amongst all these other trees which are also like totem poles. I took photos of it today and it is very feminine as Ilka said and to me it looks like a woman wearing a korowai contemplating life, strong, centred and focused. She is being nurtured by this korowai, it’s like a cloak of her ancestors, supporting her as she looks to the distance across the lake and out to the sea…
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I loved painting this rock today as I’ve loved painting all the rocks I’ve painted in this space. I feel like I don’t have to be perfect, to have straight lines… When I paint in this way, with the ochre onto big rocks that are embedded in the landscape I feel my message is so much more important than what the art looks like. I”m enjoying these moments of painting – earth on earth…
I’ve taken two photos of the rock today as I wanted to show you Ilka’s installation piece that is next door to me…Ilka has an important message too and her Deep Ecology work can be found here http://thelastree.net
Arohanui,
Jo x
I’m posting this rock from yesterday. I’m staying at an end of the hotel where the internet is very slow but it is probably the most beautiful part right next to the lake with trees outside my door…so I’m happy to compromise with a frustrating connection!

Sacred Waters

Something shifted in me today. I’ve felt something shift everyday since I arrived here. I knew I would come to this place and that it would be healing for me but I did not realise the beauty and sacredness of this place and that it would affect me so deeply.
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It’s absolutely beautiful. The spirit of this land is alive – I watched the lake today, the natural ripples and the man-made ripples…the water reflecting my emotions and reflecting those stories of long ago. Every time I looked to the same place, I saw something different.
The children came today. They were a breath of fresh air, a reminder of the playing spirit within me. And such beautiful water stories the children told about, from the heart…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ochre

I feel so privileged to be working with these natural pigments of the earth. It feels right and the more I paint with these ochres the more I want to work with them. The colours are so rich and deep, vibrant and alive. And when I am painting it naturally gets all over my hands…
koru hand painted rock
I painted this rock today – its about two metres long, bigger than what I normally paint! It has many koru for all the stories that were shared in the workshop today. I had 14 women and one man – a perfect balance lol (I’m serious about this – it only took one man to balance all that female energy!) but all meant to be really, a place that honours the feminine, sacred…
And painting in this way reminds me of our most ancient art form – markings that our ancestors left for us, telling their stories that they may be seen and heard and felt by future generations.
This land is indeed special…healing and renewing…
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow,
Arohanui,
Jo x

Water Within

I had my first workshop today – it was a stunning day! I woke up this morning after last night’s rain knowing that the land had had its cleansing and now it was time for the sun to shine again…
And people came to share their stories about water…
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One woman paddled over on her canoe and I thought wow, that’s cool! And then I met another woman from Taranaki – so nice to make that connection – actually, every day since I’ve been here I’ve met someone who is from Taranaki, how does that happen?
I realised many things today. I came all the way to Australia (which isn’t really that far!) to offer my creativity and passion for a kaupapa that is dear to my heart and I felt really appreciated, more than what I feel in my own country. People are hungry for connection, wanting to share a part of who they are, wanting to share their stories and to embrace their life journeys…
So I received healing today – a healing within from the many stories that were shared, the beautiful rock paintings that were created during the workshop as symbols of these stories and through the sharing of the breathe of life…
So my rock I painted today is now a permanent fixture in the Boreen Point landscape on the waters edge of Lake Cootharaba. And the painting may not last forever as the water rushes in to wash away the natural ochre, but the stories shared will remain with the land and the water for many years to come…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I forget about the time difference so am posting this just after midnight in Australia and it is after 2am back home!

A Water Story

10am Sat 28th May 2011
I’ve arrived at Boreen Point to feel the space I will be doing workshops in and I am taken back to my childhood where we had lakes all around us, the water lapping in and out, unlike the sea that is rugged and wild. This water, welcoming me, embracing me for the next few days.
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This is a different land – but I feel connection and I knew I would, not like the connection that I feel to my own land but a connection that is new, opening me up to new ways of thinking, new horizons, new stories…
The sound of the water has a rhythm, a rhythm that changes, just like we as humans change in order to grow…
Tāwhirimātea comes to greet me, a strong welcome and blow that you would expect from a rugged West Coast coastline back home in Taranaki…and I know that my ancestors are with me also.
So I honor this place, this whenua, this land, these waters that flow from somewhere and will flow to somewhere, just like the water within me that flows from me and will flow somewhere into the future.
I honor the people who have walked this land in the past, whose stories are embedded in the stones, in the trees and in the land…and I honor those who walk this land now, those kaitiaki who look after and honour this sacred journey, to allow healing for all.
And as I write this, I listen to the water, I hear the water sing, a different song… I look to the horizon and I see water there too – a reminder of my connection to Ranginui and Papatuanuku our sky and our earth mother and the stories that they share through the elements. The water that rises from the earth to meet the sky and the rain that falls to meet the earth again – a symbol of aroha, the sharing of breath, of life and love…
Pō mārie,
Jo x

Overwhelmed

8.30am At midnight last night (Thurs 26th) after I had packed my bags, I had this overwhelming feeling…I realized that everything I had done in my life was bringing me to this next journey. It was a pretty big revelation for me.
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And as I sit here at the airport writing this, I look out the window and see these formations and I realise they are old pa sites. They have a bulldozer on top of them digging them up and I understand in this moment, that my tupuna are with me on this journey, guiding me every step of the way and reminding me of my purpose and why I am here. To nurture both land and people, to bring both back to life again and to connect one with the other…
10.06pm Noosa time
Well I’m completely brain dead and know that I’m going to sleep well tonight! And I know why I’m tired – because its after midnight back home in NZ…it’s also been a busy last few days, getting ready to come over here and then actually arriving here for the opening ceremony at this amazing whenua and water at Boreen Point I already know its going to be a special next 10 days…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I really am brain dead – pō mārie! Oh and just want to mention the photo of the rock was taken on my balcony where I’m staying, I have a lake right there and the bush! Everything is perfect, the timing is perfect, the space, the energy, everything…

Māori time

I know you fallas know what I’m talking about!
Trudy and I were talking about this concept of time today – geological time versus human time – and then there is Māori time!
Most times you go to a hui and most times things run OVER time! I say most times because there are some hui where things do run on time and as planned! So generally speaking I am!
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Anyway, I think it has its place. We are an oral people and we love to talk and share kōrero (and some of us talk TOO much lol) This is how we connect and share. So this restricting idea of doing things within a timeframe is actually another boundary and our Māori concept of time is totally different to the time as we know it today. We looked to the moon and the stars and nature for when things needed to be done to guide us in our lives and things happened when they happened!
But in saying this, I’ve adapted to today’s concept of time and most times I have a plan although someone reminded me the other day about how my life has cruised along and one thing has led to another, all in its own good time! I think there is an element of trust in there too…
So what you do think about time and those who have experienced “Māori time” what do you think about this?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Detour

I got lost today. It took me three hours to travel from Hamilton to Miranda – I actually ended up driving in a BIG circle!
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But it was interesting…I travelled to parts of the landscape I had never been to before. So as frustrated as I was driving round and round in circles it reminded me of those undiscovered inner landscapes we all have, those ones we don’t allow ourselves to visit. We go against the flow of things so much, causing much stress and don’t allow ourselves to grow into these new experiences…
I actually got quite annoyed with it all! Trying to get to a place that I felt I should have arrived at three hours ago but realised if I had gone with the flow and enjoyed the journey I would have got there, all in good time and would have experienced a whole lot along the way.
Was awesome seeing the sisters Ngahuia and Terri today. We get so busy with our lives so it was nice to be able to sit and korero and spend time even for a short while…and now I’m in Miranda – yes I did make it eventually and enjoying the company of Trudy and Jim on this beautiful whenua…hei āpōpō…
Arohanui,
Jo x

First Light

Painting this rock was the first thing I did today. I had a million and one other things to do, packing, packing and more packing oh and of course I had to go and see Ron and see what fantabulous kākahu he had magic-ed up for me! And lunch with Todd before heading off into the sunset….on another journey.
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But it was SO great painting this rock first thing, not sure why its taken me 144 days to figure out its actually the best time to paint my rocks – hullo! Just like doing yoga, first thing in the morning, always sets the tone for the day. And this rock has certainly done that.
It’s like my guiding tohu (symbol) for my journey over the next few weeks, balance, male and female, connection…and commitment to bringing about change within and change in the world…and I’m going to Floating Land…where the theme is water…so helping water to flow again…
And driving through the Waioeka gorge today was so beautiful – the river was flowing, the trees were lush and green and the sunset was amazing. So I’m here for a night in Rotorua with my whānau, getting grounded and then on the road again tomorrow. The journey has begun! Officially!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – This rock is very special to me. Todd brought it back for me from the Wanganui river last year and it has a really beautiful energy…Ngā mihi aroha ki a koe e taku tiiki! xx

Rough Around the Edges

I want to talk about this photo today. It reminds me of being “rough around the edges.” You know when you’re not exactly perfect and you are perceived to be less, but you have heaps of other amazing qualities and what you don’t have in intellect or education you make up for in life experience and a whole lot of lessons learnt.
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Never judge a book by it’s cover – yes it’s very cliche and I don’t like sounding cliche but there is good in everyone and what may not look very welcoming or exciting or promising on the outside, can have potential to change the world.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Water is Life

I’m on the road again soon, on a journey to another land, to experience the spirit of that land and to connect with the hearts and stories of those who will be there.
koru hand painted rocks
I feel like I’ve been preparing for this journey for a long time. It’s going to be special, very healing for me, healing for everyone and how fitting that water will be the feature every step of the way…
Water is healing, water is health and wellbeing, water is life. Reconnection to self and who we really are.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Sounds of Hope

I was reminded today that it is really important to pay attention to our tamariki…
Many of our tamariki are being let down by those who are supposed to be caring for them. And caring is not just about providing those basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Caring is about nurturing, paying attention, taking an interest in what our tamariki do, giving praise, spending time every day, listening and learning and most of all showing our love…
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Children respond to love and affection; constant love and affection. It’s what breeds beautiful, healthy, independent, confident children who have good self esteem, who know what they want in life and know how to get it!
I’m watching “Sounds of Hope” on Māori television – a programme dedicating music to the children of Aotearoa and I’m totally moved by the kaupapa, the beautiful waiata and the words that are being shared. I’ve seen this programme before, but seeing it again reminds me of how special and beautiful our tamariki are and the importance of aroha for them…
…and I’m blown away by our musicians, such talent, music that speaks to the soul and is grounded in our land here in Aotearoa, straight from the heart…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – if you want to watch this awesome doco online, it should be up soon under Pakipūmeka Aotearoa on the Māori Television website. http://maoritelevision.com

Peas in a Pod

I’ve always been fascinated by how peas grow all in a row in a pod! Nature is so intelligent and perfect. How do peas in a pod grow like that?
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They remind me of sacred things, protected, to be nurtured and cared for, held in a blanket of love…

I think we all yearn to be cared for, to be held sacred… and in our lifetimes, if we are loved, we grow confidently with purpose and we see the sacred in everything…
Arohanui,
Jo x

My Māori Eyes

Our Māori language is so beautiful. It is conceptual and meaningful and every word tells a story. One word can mean many things and within all of those meanings, there is connection to the environment, to the land, to everything…
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When I started learning Māori full immersion, my life changed. I saw the world in a whole new way. My Māori eyes were seeing things that I did not think existed. I was no longer locked behind my pakeha eyes that could only see what was right in front of me.

But my Māori eyes, they could see far off into the distance, to the tallest maunga, down the flowing rivers over the landscape and out to sea and then up to the sky and the whole of the universe and back again…my Māori eyes could see deep into the past, they are forever alert in the present and they see many lifetimes into the future…
I try to imagine my life without my Māori eyes and think about what people are missing out on. Is my Māori language the only language that sees in this way? Because if it is, and I didn’t know my language, I would be doing everything in my power to learn it.
I cannot imagine life without it now, my life is richer, clearer and more meaningful and when expressing myself there is no need to waffle on, to justify and explain everything in detail, all I need sometimes are a few words and at other times, only one…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Vulnerability

I’m planning my last session with art students tomorrow and I’m thinking to myself, what is the most important thing that I would want to be sharing with them right now? What will have the most impact on their lives and creative careers from this moment forward? I came up with a few words…
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Being vulnerable. Taking risks. Putting yourself out there. Risking all, even if you do not match up to people’s expectations. And know this is ok. The courage to be imperfect and that there is creativity and beauty in imperfection. Failure = Success. Believe, even when believing is not possible. Believe, even when there is no proof. Create everyday. Commit to your passions everyday.
And the most important thing, be kind to yourself and know that you are enough.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Floating Land

It’s been a while since I’ve painted a simple koru, so decided to paint one today…
When I look back over the rocks I see a pattern; I have a rock that is quite lighthearted or maybe two and then I have another rock that is quite heavy in what I write about and that has perhaps taken me longer to paint. I feel like I’ve just come out of one of these heavy moments and now in that calm, still place again…for now until the next time…
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I’m heading to Floating Land next week, a community arts event in Noosa, Australia that explores environmental and cultural issues through the arts. This years kaupapa is water…
I’m excited about this! Here I will be sharing a Māori perspective of water and how an understanding of our connections to the environment can help bring about healing for our planet and people. I’ll also be collaborating with local and international artists on projects that will evolve while there and will participate in a variety of forums about sustainability, art, culture and water…
I also feel its going to be another healing time for me, another whenua, another land to experience, more stories to hear and to share.. And a journey of connection, as they always are…I feel this already…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the Floating Land website is here if you want to know more http://floatingland.org.au

We Are Who We Are

There’s a heap of political stuff happening at the moment. And I’ve seen some quite disturbing things lately…

One of them is a page that has been created here on FB in opposition to a Māori MP and I’ve seen shocking comments in other forums to do with things relating to Māori. It has been a reality check for me that racism is still alive in this country. It annoys me. It annoys me because most of the comments that are put out there are uninformed, with no tact or thought and just plain outright racist.
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I used to participate in these forums, just to give my view but realised that they weren’t worth participating in. People didn’t want to listen, they already had it firm in their minds what they believe about Māori and I don’t think anything is going to change that. There really are people in this country that are downright rude and disrespectful.
I wish that people would actually find out about Māori and who we are. Find out about our history, where we have come from, not because we want pity but because you will see that we were an independent people before we were colonised into a way of life that was unfamiliar to us, we were a strong people who lived in harmony with the land, we were healthy and educated within our own systems and we were creative, intelligent and resourceful.
Today we continue to be all of these things, still, but within a system that continues to keep us within boundaries and dictates to us how we as Māori should live our lives. 2011 – not much has changed.
Yes, we are not perfect but I believe the raru we as Māori are experiencing today, is a result of colonisation. But that is no reason to keep us in that colonised state. And most Māori are wanting to get on with their lives and contribute positively to society and ultimately the rest of the world. Most Māori are not wanting a hand out or a leg up, we are wanting to be independent. We don’t want to be dependent on nobody.
So I say to people, get to know us, come and live with us and find out who we really are. Let go of the fear, fear of not being in control…you might actually realise that we are willing to live with others side by side as a community. We have always been willing…
We are not about ownership, or money or power, we are about kaitiakitanga – being the guardians of this beautiful planet that we have been blessed with, whanaungatanga – family, sharing resources and living together as a community and manaakitanga looking after each other…this is who we are.
Arohanui,
Jo x

One Thing at a Time

The last two days, I’ve really tried to be present with everything I’ve been doing. When I’m cooking, I’m cooking, when I’m reading, I’m reading!
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I’m so used to multi-tasking, doing lots of things at once but I’ve realised that when I have more things to do than what multi-tasking allows me to do, it’s impossible to do! I used to be a strong advocate of multi-tasking but now I”m not so sure…
And you know what, doing one thing at a time is less stressful, and because I”m totally present with what I’m doing, I’m understanding it, I’m understanding myself and I can actually achieve a lot more by doing one thing at a time! I feel like I’ve made the discovery of the century lol but I think I already knew this and just didn’t allow myself to slow down enough to realise.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Daddy Longlegs

I watched a daddy long legs spider do something very interesting today. When I first saw it, I thought it was in a frenzy because it had been caught in a web of another spider but when I took a closer look, I realised it was spinning around in its web almost to the point where I couldn’t see it! Has anyone seen this before? Spinning round and round and round, my gosh, I wondered if he (or she!) was actually getting dizzy doing that!
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So I did a little bit of research and found out that daddy longlegs do this as a defense mechanism, so I’m assuming my presence sent it into a spin! I initially thought it was spinning its web, but nope, he had gone into defence mode!
So, my lesson for the day! And I’ve always loved the pungawerewere, the elaborate whare that are spun by spiders. I’ve taken many photos of them and I reckon they’re one of the most beautiful art forms ever!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Celestial Dance

I really thought I wasn’t going to be posting this rock today! I finished painting it around 6.30pm and then hullo – realised I had no natural light left for photos! So it was back to other options – tungsten light, light under the algae or light from the light box! So the light box it was. Whew.
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So there is a planetary alignment happening right now, visible in the early morning sky. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth all in a row…how lovely 🙂 I’ve always been fascinated by the night’s sky and was grateful when I had the opportunity 10 years ago to hear an old kuia from Tokomaru Bay talk about the stars and how we as Māori relate to them. A lot of her kōrero was about the Māori new year – Matariki or as we say in the west, the rising of Puanga (Rigel) which is coming up sooooooon next month! A wonderful time of year with lots of celebrations…
So I would like to say that I will be getting up early in the morning to see this planetary alignment but we’ll see what happens lol…but like all things here on earth and out there everywhere, we are connected and guided by those beautiful lights in the sky…

Arohanui,
Jo x

Follow the Leader

We are a society of followers following the leader. There is so much potential out there, but most people will settle for just cruising along following others! I understand this because I’ve been there, but wouldn’t it be the coolest if everyone lived to their full potential and brought to fruition all those wonderful ideas that they have brewing? And trusted themselves and believed in themselves and all that stuff? Easily said than done, but wouldn’t that be cool?
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I tell ya one thing, people would be a whole lot more happier because we’d all be living to our full potential and doing what we love…isn’t that the reason why we’re here?
A colourful rock today and a bit of passion in the post!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – rā whānau ki tāku irāmutu, kua huri ki te whitu tau – ngā mihi aroha ki a koe Rongomai! xx

Shaping Our Future

I’ve always been of the mind that we shouldn’t shape artists, but rather, give them the tools to explore and find the artist within themselves.
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Miss 6 year old Teia, she draws these amazing pictures of people that have limbs that stretch all the way across the page or curl around to reach up to the head to move some hair off the face. One leg is often bent to take a pose, like a ballerina and hair is always accentuated so there is no doubt who that person is.

The clothes are full of detail; right down to the colours, pockets and patterns. She draws real people, but not in the ‘real’ sense.

Now if you were in a learning institution learning how to draw people, you wouldn’t learn to draw like this, you would learn to draw “proper” figures with each person in proportion and everything in place. But Teia’s drawings even though oversized, underweight and over accentuated, are actually full of emotion and expression! The bodies have this movement about them and when you see a person with horns, and slanted eyebrows, you know that this person is angry!

I don’t believe that she would be drawing this way if we were constantly over her shoulder telling her how she should draw. She’s basically been left to her own devices since she started to create art which was round about two years old! So when she comes home from school with pictures where the lines have already been created for her, I shake my head and think back to my kindergarten days when I was drawing in colouring in books. Nothing has changed…

The good thing is, when she is home, she is creating constantly…and we’ve also realised her art is a vent for her emotions and how she is feeling…

So I believe, to allow an artist to blossom, allow them this right from birth, don’t try to shape them, but give them the support and the tools to find their own way.

Arohanui,
Jo x

Totara Tree

Yesterday I heard a version of the waiata ‘Totara Tree’ (composed by Wiremu Nia Nia) sung by the beautiful Maisey Rika. Here is a link to that version. http://bit.ly/mIC9zO I’m not normally in the habit of posting words by other people, but I wanted to share this waiata as it is everything I want to say today…
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Once I stood like a Totara tree
Gently swaying in the breeze
I hear the whispers in the air
And I cry…
I feel my Tipuna everywhere
Even next to me
Strong and tall
Proud and free
But still I cry…

We knew one day that noble tree would fall
But now a new one stands
Strong and tall
Proud and free
But still I cry…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – thanks Emma for sharing on FB!

Ka tika ra

To make it right. One of our pahake told me, this is what ‘ka tika ra’ means…
I understand fully how our tūpuna felt when their land, their foundation was taken from beneath them. Every time I return home to Taranaki, I feel that mamae still, I see it in the land and I see it in the people…
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It makes me appreciate people who fight for their right to be heard, to be able to walk freely on their land and to be who they are without being challenged by a system that is about conforming and monetary gain rather than the wellbeing of the land and the people.
I appreciate the passion that drives people to speak out for what they believe in, for remembering the legacy that our tūpuna left for us, and for bringing it to the table again and again and again, that we have every right to be here as kaitiaki of our whenua…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Science or Observation

I was having a conversation with a friend via email and she asked me about science in relation to the observational learnings of my ancestors and how I might see modern science and the ‘science’ of my ancestors working together.
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I was always a curious child who questioned everything, and according to my sister, very persistent with it! In other words, hōhā at times! But its a curiosity that has stayed with me and has reared itself again to bring about a curiosity with science as we know it today and how this could perhaps sit side by side with our Māori worldview.
Our ancestors learnt through observation. They were very clever and knew of stars that existed even before they were discovered by ‘modern’ science. Their learnings were at an experiential level – a part of everyday life. So as they went about their daily business such as fishing for food, they were not only becoming experts at catching the fish but they were also learning about the tides, wave patterns, the best time to go fishing, in what area and why. They even navigated by the stars and looked to the moon for the right days to plant food.
We are an oral people so our science was not recorded in books, but in the arts, songs and stories that have been handed down to us. In every carving there is a story, not only the story that is carved into the wood but the story that is contained in the wood itself, from the tree, and the grain that says how old the tree is.
I think the intrinsic connection that we as Māori have to the environment, this is our ‘science’, this is our knowledge already contained in our DNA. I believe in essence we are saying the same thing but in a different way but there is also a spiritual element that matauranga Māori brings that is missing in the science of today.
It’s very interesting for me and I look forward to the journey ahead!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Rua Kumara

I was watching this koroua on Māori TV tonight and he was sharing his knowledge about how our people used to live. He talked about a special way of preserving kumara and in the end I figured out it was the same process (but done in a different way) of dehydrating food that we know today. So food was dehydrated and preserved in a special way where the food literally lasts forever.

So whenever our people went hunting for food they could carry these dry kumara in their pockets as snacks. Dried shark was another food.
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He mentioned the fact that we have gone away from our traditional kai – eating from the land and sea and our daily exercise regimes don’t exist anymore because we are no longer hunting and gathering our kai but going to the supermarket. Or we’ve “thrown it in for KFC!”

So it was great to hear this elder speak as a reminder of what was once health and wellbeing for our people and what we should get back to in order to sustain ourselves into the future.
The photo shows a clear picture of winter on its way. I love it when the leaves fall, most people would sweep these off the driveway but I go out and take photos of them instead. We’ve had lots of rain over the past two days so everything is looking wet and fresh!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Too Much Mind

I’ve been asked recently, “where do you find your inspiration to write and create everyday?”
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Well, I don’t think about it and just do! When painting these rocks, I don’t think about what I’m going to paint at all and just allow the brush to paint. I also randomly gather up a few colours from my paint box and use whatever I have chosen. At times I’ve used colours that you wouldn’t think work together, but after painting the rock, they’ve worked together nicely!!
And writing is the same. If I’m thinking too much about what I’m going to write, then the words don’t flow so easily and I end up stopping and starting, writing and deleting and I know then that this is not going to be a good post. So I stop, and I wait for a time where the words do flow out and I totally trust the process…
And of course I am inspired by nature…the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars, the mountain and sea and everything in between…
And the rocks – the rocks have a story of their own…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Beneath the Surface

I’m amazed at all the wonderful comments that I get with the rocks each day and how profound they are! I was reminded of this today…sometimes I think my words and my paintings are quite subtle and not obvious as to what their meaning is and then next minute someone crops up with this meaningful kōrero that just stops me in my tracks – literally!
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Many of the comments resonate so much with me and I am even more amazed at how people who do not know each other and in some cases are on opposite sides of the planet, can see different things in the rocks and yet it all means something and works together nicely. There is something in that…
And not to forget all the lovely korero that comes via private messages that is equally important and meaningful.
So thank-you to everyone for adding your own flavour and insight, I have a lot of fun going back and reading it all and appreciate every word.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Squish

When I went outside today to hang the washing out, the ground was still wet from recent rain and my first thought was to put my jandals on so my feet wouldn’t get wet. But then I thought nah, I’m gonna go in there and squish my feet around in the water and feel the earth in between my toes…and so I did!
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It was the best feeling ever! It was like my feet were having a drink and being cleansed…and SO grounding!

So the rain has appeared again. Thunder and lightening came out of no-where tonight (and gave me a fright – it was SO loud!)…but I’m getting used to all this changing extreme weather, its become a part of my daily life, just like the painting of rocks! And it was a warm 23 degrees today so it was a four season in one day day! All part of the ever changing creative landscape, just as I’m creating – so is the universe!
Or am I creating the universe?
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

The Pink Bubble

I remember when I was living on the mountain in Taranaki, I had a pink bubble around my whare to give some healing, loving energy to the land and for protection. There were battles fought on the land, conflict, and people died on that very land where I was living and yet I felt such calm and peace in amongst all that…it was the living that I had to beware of…
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I’ve read so many posts today about Osama Bin Laden’s death. Some people are celebrating and others are not celebrating at all. Many many people have quoted Martin Luther King’s korero…”darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
So this pink bubble was a symbol of light and love, a way of protecting myself, my values and my beliefs, my way of life. And in a way it was also protecting the spirits of our tupuna who had died fighting for the land and what they believed in, their rights…
I don’t condone the acts of bin laden or any other person who intentionally kills or who intentionally does things to bring people down, but I also think that human nature has a way of revenge, of wanting to get back…
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – a continous flow of negative energy back and forth – who will stop this cycle? When I think about what is happening here in Aotearoa, in politics for example, I see tit for tat, tit for tat…ego getting in the way instead of coming from a place of aroha (love) and rangimarie (peace).
I learnt many years ago as a teenager (hard lesson to learn and still learning!) that I am 100% responsible for my own happiness, no-one else but me and if this is true, then we can never blame anyone else or anything outside ourselves for our chosen unhappiness. In any moment we are free to decide…
My gosh, I’ve just read this and it seems like its all over the place, but there is actually some substance in there! Make what you will of it!

Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

Change

Life is so fluid sometimes isn’t it? – well my life is anyway! Probably because I allow it to be and I think this is important because we get stuck doing the same old same old without growing, exploring and learning!
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So today’s kōrero is about change. The different journeys we embark on, the people we meet and the growth that we experience along the way. Change is an important part of life and if we are not changing then we are not growing.
I embrace change as hard as it is sometimes because it brings me opportunities that I would never have experienced otherwise. And change is happening all around us and within us everyday, so might as well go with it! It’s amazing how much we try and go against the flow of things…the tide comes in, the tide goes out, life has it’s ups, life has it’s downs…such is life!
Change – embrace it!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Intermission

It’s the day after returning home from being on the road. Driving can take a lot out of you and I always need at least one day to recover from a big journey – most times two days are needed!
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So it’s been an “intermission” day – you know just like at the movies when you have a break at half-time to go and buy some chocolate haha! So a cruisy day of reading, eating a little bit of chocolate (just a little!), writing, researching, painting and just lazing around.

I like days like these when you turn off things to just relax…and I always feel so much better after!
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

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…
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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!
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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….
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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…
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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
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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

Aranga

I’ve never really been one to celebrate Easter. When I was going to a Catholic school, we celebrated this time of year because its what you did at a Catholic school so it became a part of our lives. I vaguely remember having easter eggs when we were young, but I don’t remember any big celebration…
Like Christmas, I think Easter has lost it’s real meaning and has become another opportunity for commercialism and the promotion of products that actually don’t reflect what easter is about at all. Easter bunnies and easter eggs?
koru hand painted rocks

I’m not saying that Easter or Christmas is wrong or shouldn’t be celebrated, I just think that whatever our faith or beliefs, we need to remember what we are actually celebrating. What is Easter really about? You ask most kids these days and they’ll tell you its all about the chocolate!
For me it’s a time to celebrate life and for new beginnings…
Am sending heaps of aroha to Tam and Taare who got married today! Ngā mihi aroha ki a kōrua i tō kōrua rangi whakahirahira! Am celebrating your hononga today which has been a long time coming ne? Yay!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Trusting the Process

I never know how these rocks are going to turn out until I’ve finished painting them, and they are never finished until I feel they are. Sometimes, they don’t come out like I thought they would, in fact I’ve been surprised quite a few times! There are some that resonate with me more than others, but ultimately, most of them are not for me or about me…
koru hand painted rocks
When I choose the colours, I choose without thinking. Often I’ll look at the colours and think hmm…these colours SO don’t go together but when they are on the rock, everything works and the colours are right for the stories that are shared through the words and the rocks themselves…and the photographs – they too tell their stories…
I still have that perfectionist inside of me, wanting to make every line right, to paint a perfect circle, the perfect circle of all circles lol but I’ve learnt that if I trust the process, each rock, painting and story appear in their own perfect time.
I’m on the road home to Taranaki āpōpō, looking forward to that, always a spiritual journey for me…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Kōauau

I’m still on the theme of breath today…I spent a good hour this morning trying to play a kōauau that Todd made me – not as easy as it seems! It’s all in how you use your breath, a bit like a normal flute…but once you get it, the sound is stunning…
koru hand painted rock
As I was painting this rock I was listening to Hirini Melbourne’s Te Waonui a Tāne, an album of Māori waiata (songs) relating to our ngahere (forests) and within these waiata you can hear the birds, the trees, the insects, the water…
My ancestors connection to the environment enabled them to create amazing sounds with instruments fashioned from nature…the spiritual sound of the kōauau pongaihu – the gourd flute played with the nose and also the nguru, another type of flute which can be played with the nose or mouth…such beautiful music created with the breath…
Arohanui,
Jo x
I’ve painted this rock for Saul’s Dad whose birthday it is today 🙂

Earth, Water, Air

I had a wonderful conversation with a good friend in Oz today. We always have wonderful conversations that are profound and timely.
She reminded me of my connection to the earth, the sensitivity I have to the land, my connection to water and my understanding of water as life, who we are and where we come from and to air, the breath of life and what it means to breathe in and breathe out…
koru hand painted rock
And this rock is representative of all these things…the rock has been cleansed and shaped by flowing water, the markings on this rock remind me of the natural markings and pigments that are of the earth and the air that we breathe that is of nature of the earth and of water…all connected in a life giving cycle…
Green…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ants in Action

It’s a funny title for a post but have you sat and watched ants in action?
As I was painting this rock today, an ant walked by (literally!) carrying a piece of chocolate in it’s arms (or legs) I saw it carrying this massive thing that was twice its size and after a closer look I realised it was a piece of chocolate! God knows where the chocolate came from! 🙂
koru hand painted rock
I was really taken back by this ant’s determination – imagine carrying a piece of chocolate twice the size of you! Even better, imagine eating a block of chocolate, twice the size of you!
I’ve observed ants before and they are a pretty intelligent bunch. We get quite a few here so there’s plenty of opportunity to observe them and for such a small creature they have a pretty strong bite too!
One time I watched a whole army of ants go across some water, and you know what they did? They put leaves on the water and went across on them – I thought wow, now that is pretty clever! And they were all working together…which is the gist of my kōrero today.
I’ve seen heaps of things happening recently where people have rallied together and taken action on different kaupapa – all working together for a common cause. The re-building of communities after natural disasters, world wide calls to action to reduce poverty and hunger and locally, protests opposing the drilling for oil in our waters…
And then there were the ants…such tiny things with such a strong message.
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Completion = Control

Doesn’t it feel great to finish something? You know when you are doing something that needs to be done and you focus on it, you wanna throw it at the wall at times and then yay, it’s finished! Or even nearly finished is good too because you know you’re on the home straight – yus!
koru hand painted rock
Well guess what I’ve been completing today? TAX! Yes my tax and it feels bloody good to be in control of it all and getting it done! As an artist, it’s one of those things that kind of gets left to the last minute or gets put to the side for another day until another day never comes and then hullo, it’s all caught up with me and I’ve created an even huger (is this even a word?) task for myself!! So I’ve learnt my lesson and come up with a strategy to get my taxes done, to stay on top of it and be in control! And all this has come from not being in control by the way…
Its amazing what completion of things can do for your confidence and it’s all in the balance I reckon, giving time to it, staying on top of it and making it a habit.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Four Seasons In One Day

I’m in one of those breathe in breathe out moods where my wick is a bit shorter than normal lol – you know when things just really annoy you and you find it hard to be tolerant…
I find that the underlying beliefs, past experiences and habits that make up who I am, dictate to me how I react to a situation. In a way, if I’m not aware of them, they control my life…
koru hand painted rock
So anyway, that’s the mood I’m in – probably in line with the elements! We got our first real dose of winter today – the whole works! First the sun in the morning, then the clouds, then the cold with the rain, oh and then thunder and lightning!!

Don’t you just love the four seasons in one day thing…totally in line with my changing moods today!!! And to top it all off, it’s a full moon tonight! So am embracing these changing moods right now and thank nature for being so in tune with me haha!
And today’s rock is in total contrast to what I just wrote about…but you know what, I feel so much better now that I’ve got that off my chest!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Anga

I remember as a child listening to the sea inside a shell. I thought it was the most amazing thing being able to hear the sea even when I wasn’t there…I never grew up by the sea but our visits to Maketu and Taranaki were always times of anticipation and excitement. To smell the fresh salty air and to feel the ocean breeze was always a real buzz for me – a reconnection to home, a reconnection to Tangaroa…
koru hand painted rocks
So I’ve lived beside the sea for over 10 years now, in the west and now in the east and I treasure every day that I can be with Tangaroa and to experience his many wonderful gifts…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Peace & Calm

Am sending Papatūānuku peace and calm right now just after hearing of a severe aftershock in Christchurch, earthquake in North Queensland and tornadoes in the US…
I don’t know what to say other than it’s at times like this that you just want to send Papatuanuku and the world lots of aroha thoughts! Geez…hang in there Christchruch!
koru hand painted rock
And I know what a tornado feels like…I remember in Taranaki a few years ago, 2006 if I remember right, one swept through Rahotu. At the time you knew that things were not right, the wind speed got progressively worse, sideways rain and it felt like you were going to be swept away! Ross Bennett had come to rescue me because I had run out of petrol lol, not knowing that a tornado was brewing of course! And as quickly as it started, it stopped. If we had been a few metres another way I reckon we probably would have been right in it’s pathway!

So when it was all over, massive trees lay across the road and I couldn’t get home!
And then our massive earthquake in 2007 here in Gisborne – now that was not good! And I imagine that Christchurch’s earthquake would have been worse than that, but that was bad enough!!
So spreading some love and good vibes tonight to our planet and people around the world.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Black

This is the third time that I’ve painted black on to a rock and I must say I’m warming to it more and more!
Black has always been a dark and gloomy colour for me, one that you see lots of at tangi! I always make a point of not wearing black to tangi because there is already enough of it to go around! I wonder why people wear black to a funeral? Because it’s a sign of mourning? I’m thinking it’s a colonial thing, I couldn’t imagine my tupuna back in their day wearing black to a tangi…
koru hand painted rock
Black is also beautiful – there is something about black that is appealing…
And it certainly changes a mood…I’ve made a point over the past few years to remove black clothes from my wardrobe – its so easy to just go and put on black because it goes with everything, but now I’m all about the colour haha!

And I LOVE black and white photography! It makes everything so dramatic and allows you to feel a photo…
So my black kōrero for the day, nothing too heavy or emotionally draining lol or too long…very light-hearted so you know that the emotional drama queen is gonna come out again over the next few days haha!
Kia pai ngā rā whakata! – Have a good weekend!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – this rock still has some of the natural colour showing, I couldn’t bring myself to totally black it out! I think this black thing is also being influenced by Mel whose into black and who dropped off a black ‘paru’ art work for me the other day haha – she knows!

uku

I love uku and the works of art that are fashioned from Papatūānuku. There is something about clay – natural and of the earth, grounding…
koru hand painted rocks
We went to an exhibition opening tonight and although some of these students were first year art students, I was amazed at the work they had created and could see huge potential for them. It was very inspiring for me as an artist who has been creating for the past sixteen years to be experiencing these new works of art…very refreshing…
It reminded me of my first art course 17 years ago where I was discovering my own creativity and experiencing different mediums for the first time. I had finally reclaimed my creativity that was very much a part of me as a child but somehow got lost along the way…
And I talk about uku because there were some beautiful creations of uku tonight from students who had just started working in this medium. It was just so lovely to see and of course I couldn’t help myself and had to have one of those pieces!
But I always remember what it was like selling my first work of art – it’s such a buzz and gives you so much confidence to want to create more. Not because of the money, but because you have created something with meaning, that someone else wants. That feeling is so satisfying!
So I’m honouring these students and their creativity today and the path that they have chosen for themselves..
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂
Ra whānau ki a koe Waveney! This rock is coming to you! xo

Collective Consciousness

I believe in collective consciousness. I believe that as a global collective we can make a difference. We can bring about change, change that will affect all our lives here on earth, change that will affect the earth. I believe that what is affecting me here in Aotearoa is also affecting you in your part of the world. And what is affecting you is also affecting me. You are not alone in your world and I am not alone in mine, although I might try to pretend at times that parts of your world and parts of my world do not exist.
koru hand painted rocks
We are all connected…
I believe that the thoughts I have about the world, our planet, our universe all have an effect on me and my existence. I also believe that my thoughts affect all life on earth and everything that happens in this universe.
If I have the ability to have an effect on everything around me, the earth and all living things and the whole entire universe, then why am I not utilising this ability?
I remember many years ago reading, “your thoughts become your reality” and that is so true – I experience this everyday. So what reality do you want to create today?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another revived rock with many layers!

Challenge

It was a real challenge to paint this rock today. Layer upon layer upon layer and finally after the fourth layer – something that I felt happy with! It reminds me of my first big painting on canvas – my life mandala. There are at least 10 layers on that painting and I even stripped some of the paint off during one session! But painting that was like painting layers of my life, a process of letting go, working through, releasing…and this is what I felt today with this rock!
koru hand painted rock
It also reminds me of successfully bringing an idea to fruition – you keep trying and work hard until you get there! But often we try and then give up straight away because we don’t see immediate results. So we end up going from this idea to that idea and never really achieve anything!
If only we just persevered, we would have got there.

So this rock was a challenge but I have a real sense of satisfaction having worked through my frustration lol and having worked with the rock…there was a time where I wanted to just throw it into the ‘not satisfied pile’ and return to it at another time. But I don’t want to be adding to that pile anymore! And I know that whatever rock I paint is all meant to be!
Mission completed for the day! Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – and because I was painting this rock for what seemed like forever, I had to be creative with my lighting for the photo!

Purple

It’s been one of those days where I’ve just felt like curling up with a book. One project has ended and a few others are waiting on the horizon but I’m just wanting to catch my breath for a little bit…
I’m in that in between space again; reflecting, resting and re-energising…
Purple. It’s one of my favourite colours with green. Purple has always been a wairua (spiritual) colour for me – deep; it implies a certain mood and feeling in me…
koru hand painted rocks
So am nurturing spirit today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Six Pixels of Separation

Six Pixels of Separation – It’s the title of a book I’ve read at least five times by Mitch Joel and it speaks about how we are all connected. So if I don’t know you then I will probably know someone who knows you who knows someone you know that I know too…I think you get the picture!

Anyway…today I painted my 100th rock for 2011! I’ve been looking back over the past 99 days and am appreciating the wonderful kōrero that has been shared, the paintings that have been created with the kohatu and the fact that I’ve been able to share these with so many.
What started out as an exercise to be creating everyday has turned into many conversations connecting me to people, connecting people to people and connecting these special kohatu to people. I’ve also learnt a whole lot about FB and how it operates just through the posting of these rocks every day!
koru hand painted rock
So 100 kohatu down, another 265 to go – I still can’t believe 100 days has flown by already!
The kohatu have become a part of my landscape, they are my daily meditation, my one thing I do everyday and I’ve enjoyed sharing them with everyone! So honouring this achievement today… bring on the next 265 days!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another revived rock – I’m really loving bringing all these paintings back to life.

Possible

I was inspired today by a kōrero from an Irish woman who had been blind from birth but didn’t realise she was blind until she was 17 years old. Her parents instilled in her from three years old, a belief that she could see and so she went about her life – physically blind but still able to see.
koru hand painted rocks
I was amazed at this story. She did have her challenges but her message was that anything is possible.

We put so many limits on what we can achieve, so we achieve small and do not reach our full potential.

I hate to sound so cliche with all this kōrero, but if we believe in what we do, if we set ourselves goals where the sky is the starting point, then the universe will provide whatever we need to achieve those goals. I firmly believe this because I have seen this happen over and over again in my life.
But a word of caution, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!
Anything is possible.
Rā whānau ki a koe Toby Tahi – three years old today! May this rock be a reminder for you that anything is possible although I imagine right now as a three year old you will find great joy in touching it, looking at the lovely orange colours and adding it to your collection of play rocks!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the link to hear this blind woman’s inspirational kōrero on TED http://bit.ly/dQnjMT

Pāua

We have some lovely Māori kupu and pāua is one of them!
pāua – A delicious seafood eaten by Māori especially yummy fried with onions, garlic and did I say creamed?
pāua – A clingy child (or an adult) in some cases. Can also be a close friend.
pāua – The name of the purple colour that is beneath the top layers of this rock.
pāua – the beautiful shell of many colours that houses the delicious seafood. Often used in traditional Māori carving.
koru hand painted rocks
The other day was a kina day, today is a pāua day! Perhaps a craving for a pāua now? Just one!
Also been thinking heaps about this drilling kaupapa and the NZ Government allowing other countries to come and drill in our waters…and the fact that we can’t just go and get a feed anymore like we used to due to the decline of kaimoana in our oceans and in many places it’s just too polluted and not safe to eat!
Sometimes I wish the world would just be sorted and we didn’t have to worry about all this stuff. An unlimited source of kaimoana wold be fantastic and there would be no need to drill for oil because we have enough brains and innovation to come up with alternative sources of energy!
Anyway, am watching Homai te Pakipaki on Māori TV – love it and love our people and their ability to entertain in the moment! And there’s some real hard case people on that programme and SO talented! Young falla singing right now – Tangaroa Te Tai, he’s got a wicked voice, and with a name like that, of course he would! But then all the kai waiata have been awesome!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS Sometimes I use Māori kupu (see! kupu = word) and don’t translate so here is an online dictionary that I find handy for translating from english to Māori and Māori to english. http://maoridictionary.co.nz

Makariri

This is the first day that I’ve really felt the cold! I’m sitting with a blanket wrapped around me as I post this – not wanting to accept that winter is coming! Although I think I’ve softened a bit since living in the East. When I was living up the mountain in Taranaki – now that was cold! It snowed and you could see your breath – you know when you breathe on a cold frosty morning?
koru hand painted rock
I remember as a kid growing up in Waipa village in Rotorua, we would run around in bare feet, stand on the ice puddles and would love running on the frosty grass in the morning. But now, the slightest bit of cold and it’s under the blanket lol
I was walking this morning at 7am and it was cold but it’s that fresh brisk cold that lets you know you’re alive and that kick starts you into gear in the morning – when you can eventually drag yourself out of bed!
Now this is a sure sign that winter is coming – I didn’t paint fast enough to catch the natural light outside for a photo of this rock so I had to use the light box instead. Lucky I’m resourceful and have plan b’s, c’s and d’s aye!
This rock has many layers – it seemed to go on forever with layers of light blue and purple underneath, which is another reason why I missed the natural light – oh well!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Play

I don’t think we play enough! We take life too seriously sometimes – I know I do!
There are days where I wish I was a child again, with no responsibility, free to play whenever and wherever and not have to worry about the world and what is happening in it. Oh to be a child again! Just the other day in a post I was talking about self responsibility and now I want no responsibility lol And yesterday I was talking about planning and now I want to have no plans lol
koru hand painted rock
I was contributing to an online conversation today and after a couple of posts I realised that I’d much rather be playing outside in the garden and enjoying the sunshine and appreciating what I have right now…not that the conversation wasn’t important, because it was, but just in that moment I thought it would be so much better to be playing!
So a playfu rock today, the shape, the colours and the photo! It reminds me of a snail or a journey to the other side of the rainbow…where the pot of gold is waiting of course!
Sleep time I think…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Organise

Yesterday’s new moon has prompted me into another ‘getting organised’ mood. So today I’ve been doing exactly that! Getting myself organised for the months ahead, planning for new projects, revisiting ideas and turning them into action plans!
I’ve also been doing tax for what feels like forever but am feeling good about being in control of it and getting it done! So am balancing my creative pursuits with giving attention to the business side of things.
koru hand painted rock
This is what I am trying to instill in art students at the moment – that in order to be successful as an artist, to do what you love and create an income for yourself as a full time artist, you have to have the business sorted! Goal setting, planning and managing finances all need to be done just as much as the creation of art!
If you had asked me ten years ago, do business and art go together? I would have said no. I was too busy creating to be worried about anything else and having to deal with all that ‘stuff’, would just get in the way of my creativity. But after six years of being in business as an artist, I know now that to be successful, you have to be business savvy. Even if you have an accountant to do all your finances, its still important to know what is happening in your business and to plan plan plan!!
I asked the students the other day, “do you think you can be an artist in business?” Most said yes! Which was great! But I also gave them insight into some of the realities of being in business – not getting an income every week like you would if you had a job and the fact that success requires commitment; total commitment to your creativity and a total commitment to do whatever is required to be successful.
Bring on the rest of the year! It’s nice to see the eyes light up, hopeful, to hear the questions of enthusiasm and to know that these are more future artists to fill our universe!! 🙂
Arohanui,
Jo x

GDP

GDP = Gross Domestic Product
Why are we so concerned about gross domestic product?
Why do we value our economy more than we value community?
Why do we value the tangible things and fail to acknowledge the intangible?
koru hand painted rock
I studied economics in school because I thought it would be useful. I never really got it, even after studying hours on end for exams. I passed my exams (just!) but I still don’t get it.

My understanding of the situation here in Aotearoa now is that we value our economy more than we value our environment and our people. We give emphasis to those material things, those tangible things such as oil and milk that will give us the best return on our dollar but at the expense of our environment and our people. I don’t get this! Yes there are huge financial rewards and the creation of employment for people and the list does go on…but are these worth risking the earth? Really? And people?
I’m constantly baffled at how we continue to do what we’ve always done until it’s too late. Power and control – the cause of our demise I do believe. I wonder what our world would be like if we all just let go of a little bit of ego, just a little bit and actually started caring for one another and our environment? How different would things be?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another of my revived rocks from the “not satisfied with this” pile of rocks! You can see the old lines that I’ve covered over with the new ones 🙂

Paru

We went to a traditional dyeing wananga today and saw the most beautiful thing…PARU!
For those who don’t know what paru is, it is an amazing black mud, high in iron salts that is used by Māori as a natural dye, especially in weaving and for the dyeing of natural fibres and materials. This paru was as black as black can be! When you think you’ve seen black – you haven’t seen black until you’ve seen paru.
koru hand painted rock
As I was taking photos, Todd had scooped up some mud in his hands and described the feeling as “a dense, oily, silky, smooth texture that was soft and melted in your hands…” And very effective – the paru was not able to come off right away!
Apparently you know when there is paru somewhere because the water is brown and murky, but underneath lies your treasure – black gold as it is known to some people because it is highly valued and like gold.
Our tupuna (ancestors) were very resourceful and knew their environment so well. There were many trees that were used in the dyeing of fibres – some beautiful colours such as the vibrant orange yellow that comes from the raurekau and the natural brown mordent that comes from many of our native trees.
Nature can provide us with everything we need including a huge array of colours! I am SO looking forward to experimenting with the natural colours of the earth in my painting on kohatu and with my art in general.
I feel very blessed to have been given this knowledge to add to my kete. I was also given a koromiko tree today to add to our regenerating native garden. So grateful – but all just meant to be really!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Honour

I spoke to my Mum and Dad today. Mum in Rotorua and Dad in Te Puke. I’ve realised now that I am older, how important my mātua are to me. As a rangatahi, a young person, selfish and tied up in my own world, I took my parents for granted. Actually I took life for granted. Life was all about me. My sisters will say that as the youngest I was spoilt but of course, I don’t agree! But I will say, Mum and Dad were at times soft!
koru hand painted rock
We had a colourful upbringing and although at times it may not have been ideal, I am grateful for my experiences as a child that have instilled in me a resilience to bounce back from anything and an ability to be resourceful and solve problems.
Today I honour my mātua. I am grateful that they are still alive today and everyday I am thankful for that.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’ve used black paint again on this rock. I don’t use black much, in fact this is only the second time I’ve used it on a rock!

Splat

I’m still on the orange earthy theme – just can’t help myself when I start working with a colour! Sometimes it just goes on into the next rock!
koru hand painted rock
So I’ve called this one “splat” because I’m in a splat mood whatever that means! I felt like being loose with the paint brush today, slapped on the paint, didn’t wait for it to dry and then piled on another colour…wanting to let go of painting fine detail to enjoy the spiral going in and coming out…

I like this rock. Maybe because I totally let go of the outcome…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Manuka Honey

One of the many colours in this rock is called manuka honey. It is a creamy colour that is not visible but it is there! And as I write this I am listening to a Kuia from Ngāti Kuri talk about manuka honey and its healing properties. Saana Waitai Murray is her name and her whānau have created a sustainable business for themselves beekeeping in the far North creating pure manuka honey!! The best in the world she says! And by the way, this kuia has been instrumental in the Wai 262 claim.
I am inspired by what they are doing for themselves as a whanau and I think about the many opportunities there are for people to create their own businesses from something that they are passionate about and that they love to do!
koru hand painted rock
I see so many people working in a j-o-b that they are not happy in, working for someone else and fulfilling someone else’s dream. So many people say to me, “I love what you are doing, I wish I could do that!” But they still remain in their JOB. I can understand people need financial security but often at the expense of less time to enjoy the things they really love to do and add to that a whole lot of stress! But I think the biggest thing that is sacrificed is fulfillment, real fulfillment that can only come from doing what you love.

I wonder how many people can actually say that they are doing what they love?
This rock has many layers – it’s actually quite small but you can see its had a fair amount of paint piled on to it! I’m glad I was able to revive another rock from its doom and gloom in the corner haha!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – have started planning for the first book of kohatu! I’ve decided that instead of doing one book for the whole year I would have 3 or 4 books so its not such a big task to compile it and people get to enjoy the book before the year is over. I’m thinking A5 size, high quality digital print, spiral bound, colourful and sprinkled with some of the wonderful words that have accompanied the rocks – not just my words but everyone’s words! What do people think of this idea? Should I have one book or a few over the year? What do you think of the size and what would you be willing to pay for this book? Any other suggestions of what should go inside? Would love your feedback – thank-you!

Transform

I started painting this rock a while back. I can’t remember exactly when – maybe a year or two? It was one of those rocks that I started painting, then part way through I looked at it and didn’t like what I saw so it got put in the “not satisfied with this” pile.
koru hand painted rock
So I’ve breathed new life into this painting…the old purple paint underneath merged with the new layers of white and red paint…

I am reminded in the first layer of my need to be perfect, my desire to get it right but I embrace these new layers and what I have created today – this new story.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Saying NO to drilling

I watched a video today on Facebook – Te Whānau ā Apanui and others had come to tautoko (support) a flotilla of yachts in Auckland on their way to the East Cape in protest of the Government’s decision to allow oil giant Petrobras to drill for oil offshore. I had goose bumps watching them do their haka, just as I did watching a young Māori woman at parliament do her haka the other day in protest of the Takutai Moana bill. I am constantly in awe at our people’s stamina and courage to stand up for what we believe in and our ability to take action.
koru hand painted rock
On my flight from Auckland to Taranaki last week I sat next to a young Māori falla whose current job is working on oil rigs around the world. He had an answer for every question I asked…and he knew those rigs inside out. He knew many of my whanau who have worked on an oil rig or who are working on the rigs now and when I mention the young man that lost his life on a rig in Taranaki a few years back, he knew all about that too. 28 days on the rig and 28 days off the rig…not ideal, but it is their life…
At the end of last year I interviewed one of our pahake (elder) in Taranaki. He talked about the first oil rig that was established here in Aotearoa. These are his words…

“At the launching of shell Maui out Oaonui; at that time shell was a contract signed between Warren Freer who was minister of energy for labour and shell chairman international…that deal was signed at Oaonui. Robert Muldoon came into power a short time later…and that was the first oil rig ever built in NZ off the shore of Taranaki…
One of the old koroua was Mohi Wharepouri…Tainui, Waikato Maniapoto, Taranaki…I always remember fondly sitting by Mohi when he stood up and he said to Robert Muldoon and the chairman of the board, “Pakeha you bring a taniwha and you put it into Tangaroa. You upset Tangaroa, you upset me. From this day forth, whatever you do, we be watching…”
I believe if we continue to abuse our earth, to deplete our earth’s natural resources, there will be consequences and as we’ve seen recently, mother nature does not forget…I’m saying NO to drilling and I support all those who are making the journey to the East Cape. Kia kaha koutou! Ahakoa kaore au e tae atu a tinana, ka tae atu a wairua!
And finally – I feel like I’ve been going on forever with this post, but rā whānau ki a Māori TV – seven years old today – woohooooo!! You rock Māori TV!! I remembr this day seven years ago, we sat in front of the TV for the whole day, watching this amazing vision finally come to fruition for our people. And seven years on – still going strong!!! Too much MTV!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Bless

The earth is shedding some skin, letting go of those things that no longer serve her or humanity and replacing them with love…
I know when I go through change, there is a shedding of skin, a detoxing of my physical body, an emotional cleansing and a spiritual release.
koru hand painted rock
I think about what can happen during detox; the initial stage of discomfort, headaches, agitation…I believe the earth is experiencing her own detoxing, her own release…
So much change in the world although I have no fear…
There are so many beautiful things happening and we need to remember these things too. From disaster comes connectedness, from death comes life, from change comes growth, learning and understanding…
I receive many email newsletters with special messages and this one arrived this morning…
“to bless means to wish, unconditionally and from the deepest chamber of your heart, unrestricted good for others…”
And everyday is a blessing and in each moment there are many things we can be grateful for.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Saying NO

I got a call from a research company tonight and was really annoyed that my evening had been interrupted!! I reacted and ended up sitting on the phone for a good 15 mins answering questions that I wasn’t really hearing because I was too busy reacting to the situation and mumbling under my breath! At another time I might have been ok to answer questions but this was the wrong time!
But it was my own fault! I could of said NO – but I didn’t! And I think in the end this is what really annoyed me, the fact that I should have said NO, but I didn’t.
koru hand painted rock
At times we don’t know how to say NO to people and end up in situations that we don’t really want to be in because we feel an obligation, or we don’t want to let anyone down or we are forever trying to please other people or…and the list goes on!
We fill our lives up by saying YES to everything that comes our way but at the expense sometimes of our own sanity or our own wellbeing.
I can remember many times trying to juggle many things at once, having sleepless nights, stressed, just to fulfill something that I couldn’t say NO to.
One of the things that I’ve found helpful in sorting out the no’s from the yes’s is knowing what my vision or purpose in life is – which totally skipped my mind when I was on the phone! For example, when I’m going through my emails, or sorting through paperwork I ask myself, does this piece of paper or this email or this thing contribute to my vision for my life? If the answer is NO then it gets deleted or thrown away. This is handy especially for those bigger decisions that need to be made. But of course you have to know who you are and what you’re about to be able to do this!! But it’s a very effective tool…
Ahhhh…I feel much better now that I have got that out…writing things is a great form of venting lol
Remember earth hour tonight at 8.30pm wherever you are in the world…and a BIG happy birthday to Nikolien…hope you have had a wonderful day!!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Reflection

Today is Day 84! Wow! 84 days ago I decided that I would paint a rock a day…I remember that day…yes I’m going to do it, nah I’m not! Yes I will, no I won’t, yes I will, yes I did! The fact that I was going to be painting a rock a day was enough of a challenge for me, but to also tell the world about it? That was a major for me.
My first rock on Jan 1st 2011 was all about facing that fear I talk about above. Putting myself out there, opening myself up…here is that first post. http://on.fb.me/i65YQv
koru hand painted rocks
So what have I learnt after 84 days? Heaps!!!
I’ve learnt that I can commit to something and follow through with it.

I’ve learnt that if you do something enough it does become habit and becomes a part of who you are. This project, these rocks are very much a part of who I am. They are like my daily journal writings, my internal dialogue coming out on a rock and in the words I write with the rocks.
I’ve learnt that these rocks connect people, they connect me to people and they connect people to me. Those who choose to connect with these rocks, these rocks are for them.
I’ve also learnt that some people will stop by every single day but they will not say a word. These rocks are for them also.
I’ve learnt that not everyone will like what I do.
And I’ve learnt that that’s ok!
I’ve also learnt that many people love what I do, they love these rocks and I am humbled by all the attention they have been getting.
I’ve learnt so many things about myself and one of the most important things is that this is not about me at all.
The list could go on forever! Perhaps at Day 168 I will stop and reflect again…
Happy birthday to Gaye Ireland! This rock is for you…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Sea and Clouds

I flew home to Gisborne from Taranaki today and captured some wonderful photos from the sky. I was hoping to capture Taranaki maunga as we left but I was on the wrong side of the plane!! So settled for some of the rugged Taranaki coastline instead…which of course is beautiful!
koru hand painted rock
But as we left Wellington I looked across the water and there he was in the distance…aaaahhh…I felt like he was doing a big mihi to me…kia kaua e wareware kia hoki mai…it was a special moment…I also looked down to Poneke, to Wellington city and thought of those who marched to parliament to oppose the marine and coastal area bill…and saw this beautiful coastline in the distance…
I took some wonderful photos of some fluffy clouds before going into them on our descent and remembered as a child laying down in the grass observing them as they floated by. I used to see all sorts of shapes, patterns and faces…I felt like a kid again sitting at the window of the plane waiting for the next moment to capture on camera. From Taranaki to Wellington the falla next door was trying to have a conversation with me and all I was worried about was looking out the window lol. I even caught another plane on video – well I think it was a plane, it was moving pretty fast!!
You can see my photos I took today in this album: http://on.fb.me/gr3SY1
I’m not sure where I sit with this new marine and coastal area bill, I didn’t really understand the foreshore and seabed act but what I do know is that I have an intrinsic connection to the sea and the land and no matter what parliament says, or anyone for that matter, no one can take that away from me.
If you look closely you will be able to see the sea and clouds in this rock…The photos I took today are of the sea and the clouds and one photo is like a wave of cloud moving across the sky!
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

Stop

Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to stop, relax and listen to whats going on around us and more importantly what is going on within us. I’ve been so busy this year, well actually last year’s busyness has flowed into this year. It’s been a good busy though, doing things that I’m passionate about and love to do but it’s so important to just take stock and breathe…
koru hand painted rock
Jacquie a good friend of mine texted me the other day from Australia, randomly as she does, but not really random because everything she says is always profound and important for me. Her words were words of encouragement reminding me of my many gifts that I have and that I should in her words, “write down what some of those things are today and each day till you’re exhausted”
So I’m sharing her thoughts with you today.
This evening, I had my artist talk at Puke Ariki and am so grateful for those who supported the kaupapa and gave their feedback this evening. It reminded me of the importance of my work and why I am so passionate about storytelling and art as a way of sharing messages and bringing about change.
And rā whānau ki a koe Gillybean!! Happy birthday! Hope you’ve had an awesome day kare!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’ve now stopped to relax with…chocolate!! I’m listening within and its telling me that I SHOULD have chocolate, one for every gift that I have, and I have a few haha!!

Conscious Living

“Until something is raised to consciousness you really can’t respect it or treasure it”
I’m in the middle of putting the last touches to my video for tomorrows presentation and I came across these words from a dear friend…
koru hand painted rock
They will begin my video presentation tomorrow.
Kua hoki mai au ki Taranaki! I’ve come home for a couple of days to give an artist talk at Puke Ariki about the kaupapa that I’ve been working on for their latest exhibition. I’ve been gathering stories in the community about what they see as the future for Taranaki as it relates to sea, mountain, economy, community, neighbourhoods and energy. But I’ve realised, that for the community it is far more than that…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Sun and the Earth

I’m not really into painting flowers on rocks but when miss Teia came home from school today, I listened to her story about the sun and the earth as I painted this rock…so today’s korero is all hers!
Jo: So what have you been up to at school today?
koru hand painted rock
Teia: Oh learning about the sun…The sun isn’t really the sun, it’s actually a star. But it doesn’t come out at night time so it’s actually a day star. You know we can have day stars too you know!
Jo: Oh.
Teia: And it’s very hot and if you stay in the sun too long you get sun burnt and that’s not good! It’s the hottest thing in the…in the thing…
Jo: (now laughing to myself)
Teia: And then the earth. And the earth is round but it has another thing around it. And then it has a hole. And the hole is getting bigger because we drive our cars around and smoke and gas gets everywhere. So we have to stop driving our cars to school. And the ice is melting at Antarctica. And the penguins are dying. And this lady she came to our school dressed as a penguin and someone said to her you’re not a penguin! Penguins are supposed to waddle!
Jo: (still listening)
Teia: So the hole is getting bigger and we have to stop – now!
Jo: Stop what?
Teia: Making the hole big!

Jo: So where is Antarctica?
Teia: It’s up the North Pole somewhere!
I hope you enjoyed that lesson on the sun and the earth – it actually went on for much longer than that but it certainly made my day!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I tried to make the painting as loose and as imperfect as possible and the gumboot in the photo is Teia’s gumboot 🙂

Landscapes of the Heart

I’ve been listening to stories today that I recorded in the Taranaki community at the end of last year. When I first had an overall view of the stories I saw there were similar thoughts and themes that ran through all of them. But when I listened more closely, I realised that the people and their stories were actually quite different.
koru hand painted rock
“Landscapes of the Heart” is a project I’ve been working on over the past few months with Puke Ariki museum in Taranaki as part of their current exhibition, ‘What If – The Future of Taranaki”. This exhibition asks the community a variety of questions about how they see the future of Taranaki as it relates to the mountain, sea, economy, energy, community and neighbourhoods.
The project uses storytelling as a way to engage with the community, to give them a voice and an opportunity to share their personal stories.

Why storytelling?
People feel valued when they are given this opportunity, they feel heard. They respond with an open mind and in many cases an open heart and a desire to want to share their stories…and of course there’s an element of trust that goes with this as well.
I believe in the power of stories to bring about change. I believe that through our storytelling we can connect with one another and we can see another’s point of view. We may not agree with it, but we can acknowledge it and see it as it is. And from this common place where all these stories and people meet, change can happen.
I’m grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity to hear these stories, but it is only the beginning…
On Wed 23rd March at 6pm (yes in three days time!!) I’m giving an artist talk at Puke Ariki in Taranaki where I will share more about this project and show some of the stories that I have gathered. If you are in Taranaki – would love to see you there!
Arohanui,
Jo x
The book that is in the photo is a book I’ve had for nearly fifteen years! It’s called, ‘Work With Passion – How to do What You Love for a Living’ by Nancy Anderson and has been a great reference book for me over the years.

Rona

I’m watching the night sky tonight, not because everyone is saying that there is going to be an extra big moon in the sky but because I always like to see the moon when its full. I feel the moon when it’s full…does anyone else feel that? You just know when it is in the sky, this massive circle…even when it is not visible, you know that it is there…
koru hand painted rock
One of the first stories I heard about the moon was in my bilingual class at intermediate. It was about Rona and how one night when the moon was full she went out into the darkness to fetch some water for her husband in a taha (calabash). She would fill her taha and each time she did the moon would hide which meant she couldn’t see where she was going. She would trip and the water would come pouring out so she would have to fill it again. She did this again and again until she got so irate with the moon that she cursed the moon…pōkokohua!

The moon was angry with her so he pulled her from the earth and carried her into the sky where she still resides today with the moon…Some people say that she can still be seen holding on to a ngaio tree which she held on to in an attempt to not be taken away…
We all have our stories about the moon. I know one thing for sure is that my ancestors were guided by the moon in their everyday life. They knew when the right time was to plant and they often made reference to the cycles of the moon…I am also affected by the moon…
I hope everyone is having a massive time at WOMAD this weekend – the biggest celebration of music, art and dance happening in Taranaki!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Memorial

There was a memorial today for the recent Otautahi (Chch) earthquake and I’m so grateful that there was live coverage where we could all tune in. It was a HUGE turnout to remember those who had lost their lives and to support those who mourn their loss. The rescue workers were honoured for their work to save lives and to recover those who had perished. It was also a time for the community to band together as one to remember what had happened and to celebrate the human spirit that has been evident over the past few weeks.
koru hand painted rock
I don’t think I could ever know what it has been like for those in Otautahi although watching the TV coverage was hopeful and made you feel proud to be part of the wider Aotearoa community. The service honoured all cultures as the loss and devastation was felt in many parts of the world.
The koroua who opened the service articulated words of kotahitanga and at times funny, he gave a great analogy of us all being as one. And despite the religious overtones of the whole thing, it was easy to just put that aside and appreciate being alive…
There was a host of stunning waiata; Dave Dobbyn may have gotten older but he still sings his waiata like I remember it many years ago. And the Prince of Wales blessed us with his presence and a message from the Queen. Again, not too fussed about the waiata “God save our gracious Queen” but when Prince William stood and spoke on behalf of the royal family, he reminded me of his mother who was a great humanitarian and who would have been right there in the thick of things…
So again sending love and peace around the world today, to Otautahi and to Japan.

And to all those who will be celebrating at WOMAD over the weekend at home in Taranaki – enjoy!!!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I felt like painting three rocks today…

Ripples

Todd comes home today and tells me that he bumped into a woman downtown that says she has started painting a rock a day after seeing my rock of the day project! I thought how cool is that, that what I am doing with my rocks is actually inspiring others to do the same!
koru hand painted rock
I love that visual of a stone being dropped into water and causing ripples…and it only takes one stone…
And actually I’ve had many ripples created since I started this project and all I did was make a commitment to something I was passionate about and put it out there.
Just imagine what we could achieve in the world…peace, love, respect, caring…one ripple at a time…
Dropping a stone into the ocean to send ripples of aroha and peace around the world today. And sending our sunshine to Japan…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Praying Mantis

Have you ever sat and observed a praying mantis? I’ve been doing exactly that over the past few days – there’s been so many around. They seem to like the comfort of our home because whenever I try to put them outside, they just find their way back in! They are such amazing creatures!
koru hand painted rock
I am amazed at how alert and on to it they are. They have a certain elegance and beauty about them. One landed on my arm ( I only just realised they fly!) and just sat there, its reddish orangey eyes staring back at me! And the antennae were constantly moving, this one I think was eating although it could have just been licking its legs!
I have seen them in action before. One totally devoured a monarch caterpillar on our swan plant and all that was left of it was some black substance that was dripping to the ground. It was a great idea to put them on the swan plant to eat the aphids but what happens when the aphids run out? The caterpillars!
I like to think that these praying mantis around the place are a good tohu, a good sign. And I do believe we are connected to all living things and have felt very connected to these creatures over the past few days. And when looking this praying mantis in the eye today, it was like for a few moments our worlds had merged in to one…
Sending much aroha and peace around the world again today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Heal

There are a lot of videos on the internet showing the devastation of the disaster in Japan, footage that you would not see on mainstream television. I can’t bring myself to watch it right now. The comments are painting a picture for me and it scares me to even take a look! A lot of healing to take place in the world, a lot of internal healing also.
koru hand painted rocks
I did see in the news that there was a 60 year old man rescued 15km out to sea. That is hope for me. That all is not doom and gloom and there still is life to preserve and hold on to. And every bit of hope there is, we need to hold on to. I celebrate with this man his life, and I also am sad that he will probably never see his wife again who was swept out to sea. And this is one of many many stories, I am sure will emerge. And the reality of many people not seeing their loved ones alive, ever again.
It’s a hot day today in Gisborne, it’s like summer has returned. Such a luxury. I thought about taking my new surfboard out in the sea and then my thoughts were of the people in Japan, the water and ocean that connects us, the loss of life out there…I just couldn’t bring myself to go there…wanting to respect the huge loss of life – it has really affected me.
A time to heal land, a time to heal people.

Self responsibility to heal.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another soothing rock to paint, it is a pastel yellow colour called moonbean. The spiral is healing…

Sustain

This rock is full of a whole lot of stuff!
So many thoughts going around in my head at the moment. Many things happening in the world, planetary shifts, change, and plenty of internal shifts as well.
Today, I’ve been listening to stories I’ve captured on video about sustainability. It’s a funny word thats been thrown around quite a bit and used in many ways. In fact, its seen to be “cool” if you have some kind of “sustainability” attached to what you do. Many people I have talked to all have different views although one common thought is emerging and that is we need to look after our planet in order to sustain our existence on this earth. Because if we are not looking after our planet, then how can we expect our planet to look after us?
koru hand painted rocks
And our relationship with the earth is non- negotiable.
I watched in total disbelief as the tsunami in Japan totally engulfed everything in its way, this black mass moving across the land…the strength and power of the water was mind boggling and I imagine if you were in its pathway, theres a good chance you would not survive. The images and footage that have emerged are disturbing…
I think about my life, the relationships I have, my family and friends, the work that I do, the struggles, the triumphs, everything in my life that I am dealing with right now and then I see this and it puts everything into perspective for me.

What if we all ceased to exist on this earth? What if we were here today, gone tomorrow? In light of recent events, that is a very real possibility and that reality is increasing by the day. I imagine there are many around the world who are also questioning their lives and their existence…
I decided yesterday to create an evacuation plan. We’ve started stocking up on water and other things which will continue over the coming weeks. I never thought I would say it or even be doing it but the feeling to do this is so strong…
I feel even more passionate about my work than ever before. The stories I tell, the art I create, the messages I share are now more important than ever.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I have no anger at Papatuanuku for what has happened. I am sad for the loss of life and I am sad that it has come to this. But I also understand that this is mother nature’s way of healing herself, letting go of unnecessary things that no longer serve this planet, just as we humans go through a process of letting go to heal ourselves…

Japan

I feel for those in Japan right now. The media presents sometimes a conservative view of the effects on human life, perhaps to not instill fear in the people but the reality is right in front of our eyes. There is major loss of life, no doubt about that. And it is in times like this that there is a need for people to reach out to each other, to love and care for each other.
My thoughts also are still with those of our own whanau and friends in Otautahi who are trying to rebuild their lives and I can only imagine that this recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan has made them relive Feb 22nd all over again…
koru hand painted rocks
I feel like the work that we do and the messages that we have to share about looking after our earth, are so important now more than ever. Mother nature will always prevail and we have seen how powerful she can be. We have civil wars happening but this recent series of natural disasters reminds us of our vulnerability, our impermanence and our need to really take stock of our lives and how we exist.

What do we value? What are our beliefs about how the world should be and how do we exist on this planet?
I feel for everyone around the world and I feel for our earth. Sending much aroha at this time…
And again, I am grateful for life…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Silence

Silence…
I enjoyed the silence as I painted this rock, relaxing after a morning of sharing with art students…I am amazed at what can be achieved in silence. A still mind, reflection, contemplation, relaxation…
koru hand painted rock
Not too many words today although this rock speaks volumes!
Kia pai nga rangi whakata – have a good weekend.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – When choosing colours sometimes they jump out at me and at other times its not so obvious which ones to paint with. But I do like discovering new ways of using colours together, what they look like and how they feel. Thinking beyond the colour wheel and just painting with whatever colours I want to and whatever colours feel right at the time. And of course always a photographic exercise to find the perfect light 🙂

Planting the Seed

I had my first class today teaching art students about the business of being an artist. It was a great day! It’s not something that many artists or aspiring artists would want to be learning or would even think about learning and so being as practical and as creative as possible in the delivery was essential! At the end of the day, I realised how passionate I am about sharing what I have learnt with others and how much I want to give!
koru hand painted rocks
I think when you get older you start to think about how you can contribute to other people’s lives. That’s where I’m at, although I feel like I’ve been in this place for a while now! But your focus changes from being all about self to wanting to give to others. And at some stage you do have to pass on what you have learnt in the hope that this will inspire others to take what you’ve taught them, use it, turn it into something even better and then pass it on…
And I am also learning…Everyday I get to share with others is another day of learning…and I’m so grateful for that.
This rock is for Nikki’s Mum who turns 60 today – it’s so nice being able to paint a rock and then send it off to someone for them to enjoy!
Arohanui,
Jo x
A few of my photos lately have been all about light; well all my photography is about capturing the light in a certain way, capturing a mood or feeling but there has been some quite special natural light around lately…loving this photo, its soft but its hard, it has reflection and mood and I like the natural colours that appeared as a result of the way in which the light fell on the light box.

Te Ua

When I picked up this rock from outside it was full of water. It had been raining and the rock had absorbed a lot of the rain so my first thought was to dry the rock to paint on…but instead I left it wet and painted it! koru hand painted rock
It reminded me of how precious water is and the need to preserve it. I thought to myself, how cool that this rock can hold so much water and wouldn’t it be even more cool if every house in town had a water tank to catch the rain? It just makes sense doesn’t it? We put pipes in the land to drain the water but when it comes time to needing it, we have none! So appreciating the rain today, so refreshing and cleansing…and there’s something in that rock being able to hold water both physically and conceptually…hmm…
Today is March 9th and according to the Mayan calendar it is the beginning of the Unity Wave of Consciousness which will carry on for the next 18 days. It is also the last wave of the Nine Waves of Consciousness. I talk about this because this rock was painted for Drew and his wife whose 20th wedding anniversary it is today. Yay!!! When he called me to ask if I could paint them a rock, he mentioned this date as also a significant date in the Mayan calendar. Check out more info here unity wave
Much aroha to you both, hope you’ve had a fabulous day!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Crowns and Colonialism

Teia came home from school yesterday with a crown that she had made and quite happy with herself that she had done a brilliant job of it! And it was a beautiful crown, one of the better ones shes made so far. She’s probably created about 10 in all her 6 years of life…
koru hand painted rock
Which is my point really. What is up with all the crown making in mainstream schools? Since childcare and then kindergarten and now her second year in school, she is still making crowns!! And – of course the crown is already sized for her and comes with pre-made lines so that she can colour in the inside and then glue her pre-made shapes on to it!!! Do they think she can’t think for herself, that she can’t draw her own lines and create her own shapes the way she wants to create them?
She’s been doing art since she was a baby – and she is naturally visual and kinetic so she learns hands on as many of us do. Which by the way, can be an issue sometimes!! She has a studio at home where she creates every day when she comes home from school and on the weekends and then she goes to school and has her art made for her – in the form of a crown??
Hullo is all I can say and I don’t really know what has changed since I was in a mainstream school learning about how Captain Cook discovered Aotearoa!!
Actually, I take that back. Something HAS changed and that is the introduction of kura kaupapa Maori – Maori immersion schools in Aotearoa. That was one of the best things that happened for Maori and for Aotearoa.

Ma te wa – until tomorrow,
Jo x
PS – A mixture of colours in today’s rock – plum, green, white and red!! A bit of a burst of energy or possibly venting!

Samadhi

I was reading a post yesterday from Ray – a Vipassana meditation friend who had just come off a course serving for 11 days. And he was asking what had gone on in the world while he was on the course. It’s a bit like that when you have no contact with the outside world! I remember coming out of one course in 2001 to front page news that a plane had flown into the World Trade centre! Not great news to come out to but grateful for a balanced and equanimous mind at the time!
But seeing Ray’s post immediately took me back to my first Vipassana meditation course in 1999 and how that experience changed my life forever.
koru hand painted rocks
Not being able to talk for 10 days didn’t bother me. I could handle that, actually I welcomed the silence, peace and tranquility of the meditation centre. The challenge was more about the journey within that I was about to embark on. And how would I cope sitting from 4.30am until 9pm at night – just meditating – and doing this for 10 days! How would I cope??
But I survived, and my life is so much more richer because of it!! And I am a sucker for punishment so I went back for a few more courses over the next six years, just to make sure that the pain (physical and emotional!) was real and perhaps there was a possibility that it would no longer be there? No such luck! But it had become less!
Samadhi is a word that I remember well from my first course and if I could have right focus and right concentration of mind then this would help me get through each moment. And I find that I am still reaping the benefits in my life today. I am not perfect of course and at times I lose focus and get distracted, but less than I used to. And I have so much more awareness now, especially of self.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Space In Between

I love this rock I’ve painted today. It’s one of my favorite rocks so far. It was very soothing to paint.
The weather is changing. It’s been raining for most of the day and I’ve been in a different space. An in between space where I’m neither her nor there, just in between. It’s kind of an odd feeling…a transitional space perhaps, reflective, just being…and there is probably some tired in there too! I woke this morning with a million and one ideas floating around in my mind which is great but now I’m tired!
koru hand painted rock
I feel the need to declutter again and let go of a few external and internal things and perhaps then I will see a clearer pathway and will venture out into another space. But for now, am embracing this space in between…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I took this photo on my laptop. I quite liked the idea of having the rock and the paint and the metallic surface coming together. The dark grey colour in the middle is the natural colour of the rock, the other greyish colour is called delta grey and the creamy colour is called manuka honey.

Art

My art is not defined by another person. It is personal, intuitive and has many layers.

I believe we all have the ability to create art. Art is not just a painting on the wall or a sculpture or a design; art can be a song, a dance, a few words, any kind of expression of a person and who they are.
koru hand painted rocks
Art can make people smile, it can make people cry. It can make people angry. For me, art connects, it is emotional and changes something inside me. Art is about change. It is my hope that my art changes something inside another person. That is my intention.
Art should not be confined to within walls. Art should be everywhere, in every space…

Nature is a work of art, the most beautiful of all. When I look at a sunflower, a kina or a caterpillar, I see art. I am moved by that. When I look at people I see art. When I see something, I see it as a photograph, as light, as a work of art.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all realised the artist within? What would we see?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Autumn

I love Autumn. It’s in between summer and winter, not too hot, not too cold and the colours of autumn are so vibrant and exciting! Its still warm at the moment but you can feel a hint of coolness in the air…
I walked out to the garden today and was happy to see the monarch butterflies floating by. We didn’t see them for a while and our swan plants were empty for a couple of months! The kamokamo have finally come away for real after teasing us for a while last year and the beetroot are massive! We had forgotten we even planted them in the garden because they were buried under everything else!!
koru hand painted rocks
I wonder about the seasons though. Things are definitely changing, summer seems to extend out a bit further and I’m not sure why, but this year things have grown a lot slower. But – the weeds still manage to survive! Although, I like a garden full of dandelions! The leaves are yummy in salads and Teia and I Iove making oil with the flowers…but not as many dandelions this year either…the lawn should be covered by now for Teia and I to roll around in and take photos haha!
Or was I away from home so much over the past few months that I missed all the growth??
So I’m embracing this time of year, change of season, change of energy and looking forward to the coming months which will be full of creativity (of course!), overseas travel and sharing some of my learnings with others…
Ma te wa – until then,
Jo x

Orange

Feeling like sending lots and lots of aroha today to everyone wherever you are!!! I believe in the power of love and am feeling all the love flowing around Aotearoa right now!
koru hand painted rocks
I believe it is at times like this when we are vulnerable, that we reach out, we connect and we remember who we are and why we are here.

Arohanui ki a koutou katoa,
Jo 🙂
My rock is a pretty intense orange today – so hence the title!! I was quite taken with how intense it looked on the rock and then when I photographed it, it looked even more orange!! And much aroha to Jacq who called me today from Oz! Whenever we korero the words shared are always meaningful and profound. It never ceases to amaze me at how perfect the timing is – thanks Jacq xx

Risk Taking

I’ve always been a risk taker. When we were young, we were not “protected” children where our parents constantly worried about us and kept us safe. In fact it was quite the opposite and we probably should have been cared for better than we were! Love my parents to bits though, they brought us up the best way they knew how…and in hindsight this freedom as a child has enabled me to be open minded, creative and resilient.
koru hand painted rocks
We can only truly experience life I believe, if we allow ourselves to take risks and step outside our comfort zones. If we allow ourselves to feel, to really feel and express openly these feelings, to expose ourselves to those who are our worst critics and to face our worst fears, then this is risk taking…
If we are doing what we love and being who we are with no fear or no care about what others think, then we are risk taking. When I decided to be an artist full time six years ago, this was a huge risk, not only because I would no longer be getting a regular income but also because of the criticism I would receive from those who saw what I was doing as “impossible” and an “uncalculated risk” and how could I possibly live? Resilience is a big thing and teaching our children how to problem solve in this day and age will go a long way, believe me!
There is no greater joy than doing what I love and being who I am. I welcome challenges and the opportunity to take risks everyday because they remind me of my strength and resilience. Through opening my heart and my mind, I allow myself to step into the unknown, to make mistakes and just like a child, to be totally present with what is.
Life is one big risk, so we might as well risk all and make a good go of it!

Te Ao Mārama

An understanding…
te ao mārama – the world of light, life, earth, physical world
ao – the world, light, specific period, cloud, a day, dawning of the day
mārama – illuminating light, to understand, be clear, light
marama – moon, month
koru hand painted rock
And those are just the short answers!
I love our Māori language because it is so conceptual and every word is a story. I love going onto the marae and listening to our pahake speak in such poetical ways…it is one of the most beautiful languages I know…

Our tupuna (ancestors) were so connected to the environment and our language reflects this. They knew of planets in our solar system even before scientists had discovered them. They knew that the moon has an effect on the earth and that it also affects us as people living on the earth…They navigated by the stars in their journeys across the sea and they knew when the time was right for planting and what the weather would be – just by looking to the sky.
The Maori word for moon is marama. It is also the word that we use for month and just as the moon goes through its cycles every month, so a woman experiences her own cycles which are influenced by the moon…
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂
PS – Day 60 today – its been two months painting a rock a day – yay!!

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