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.
koru hand painted rocks
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.
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!

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