02 May Te Tiritiri o te Moana
As we settle into our new whare in the Hokianga we reflect on our time spent in Kokatahi, Hokitika.
Living in the shelter of Te Tiritiri-o-te-moana (the southern alps), the reflections of lake Kaniere and the embrace of the Kokatahi ngahere, you learn in no uncertain terms that you are teina to taiao. You learn that to be in relation with taiao is to be prepared to move with the current as it approaches, not to swim against it; but to make the most of the waves and direction in which it may propel you.
Rather than be overcome by the idea that you are teina, you learn instead to listen to all the loud and gentle ways that taiao are communicating with you. Whether it’s through the blooming of the Rata, the flowering scent of the Māhoe, or the drying of Harakeke seeds. I think of all the ways they are saying “come with us” “ko tātou tērā.”
You learn to chop the wood when it’s dry, to hang your washing when the sun is out and the wind is blowing. You learn to pick the Pikopiko in spring while it is still young, and the courgettes early before they turn to marrow. You learn to leave the weeds in times of drought to retain water and to pull them up before they start to seed. There are lots of things you will notice, but many that you won’t be able to explain or justify. Like the day that hundreds of dragonflies filled our backyard.
You relinquish the illusion that you can control the outcome, the pace, even the pathway. You sink yourself into the tide and understand truly what it means to be teina in the context of a wide, expansive, and powerful whānau and the mana – agency, power, strength – that comes with that.
Staring out now at Te Hokianga Nui a Kupe, ngenge from the heat and the way the salt water dries my hair. But can’t wait to sink into these new rhythms once I get over my teina self.
He mokopuna tēnei nō Tarutaru, nō Te Ruapounamu, nō Tauratumaru. Ka hora tōna whenua taurikura ki Pukepoto, ki Utakura anō hoki. Ko te Tai Tokerau tēnei e ngunguru nei.
Haylee is the Kaiārahi Training and Nutrition Lead for Toi Tangata.