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April 8, 2019 | by  | in Homepage Ngāi Tauira Splash |
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He Tāonga

 

I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this kōrero, is to acknowledge that we are all connected to our environment, therefore we need to build more of an awareness and appreciation for its potential and contribution to our lives. Consequently through this frame of mind, I hope we can become better kaitiaki towards the well-being of our taiao for our future generations.

 

I’ve been brought up within a Te Ao Māori environment and thus connect mostly to indigenous kaupapa. It is through this connection that  I am a proud Māori wahine.

When it comes to the environment, I feel strongly connected through my whakapapa or genealogy. This is because, the pūrākau or ancient stories of my tūpuna and atua, continue to be at the forefront of my everyday life and have furthermore, set the foundation for my purpose and overall perspective towards my way of living. My whakapapa doesn’t start with me, with my parents or my grandparents, instead it starts well beyond that and begins with my atua, my tūpuna – Ranginui and Papatūānuku.

 

I recently have experienced changes, trials and tribulations that have heavily tested my ability to survive and cope not only as a Māori women, but as a normal human-being. As a result of these difficult times, before the commencing of trimester one, I made a decision that I would be more conscious and also more aware of my feelings. I began to note down what made me tick and what got me excited. I began to read more, swim, go to the gym, join the local netball team, began waking up at 5am. These were simple things that beckoned me out of my comfort zone and that I knew would challenge me in a positively. This would ultimately lead me towards improving the performance of my grades, narrowing my circle of friends to those more reliable, participating and being more active with whānau kaupapa, exercising greater patience and understanding within my personal relationship, growing in my health and well being, and essentially accepting my flaws and weaknesses to become a better person and reach my full potential.

 

I didn’t have to dig very deep to find what was going to guide me on this path towards developing self-awareness. Through this journey I have realized what really is most important in my life, by identifying my why. It is myself who needs to come first and foremost and what encourages me to verify this, is the sentimental connections I already have with the whenua, the moana and rangi.

 

Simple acts of venturing externally and becoming aware of my surroundings helped me to become more aligned with my internal true self. Whether it was soaking up the rays of Tamanui-te-rā, listening to the melodious calls of our manu, staring at the ever-illuminated whetū, embracing the pure light of Hina or feeling the refreshing breeze of Tāwhirimatea (the god of the wind) as he brushed past my face. I would always feel so much lighter and relieved after these simple encounters which is where I subconsciously redeveloped a deeper relationship with my atua, with my tūpuna and furthermore with Papatūānuku and Ranginui.

 

It is discoveries like this which have helped me to become so much more grounded and happy. I now know that I am on the right journey and the path I am following will assist in creating a better version of myself. It is interesting because, I have never felt such a connection with the environment despite the presence of struggles and adversities. I have become a stronger person mentally because of my hononga, my connection to our atua who are our tūpuna who I acknowledge deeply.

 

This journey of discovery has allowed me to become not only a better version of myself, but also a better kaitiaki for my environment. If we can connect in the most simplest of ways to our surroundings, there is an array of benefits towards our overall hauoratanga, both physically and spiritually, internally and externally. No matter the nature of your upbringing, or your worldview, I can guarantee that you will never take our environment for granted because perhaps this tāonga we call our Taiao, is one that acknowledges the significance of balance- We need our Taiao, as much as it needs us.

 

Tēnā rā tātou kātoa

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