Ok, so first of all, I had every intention of starting off by writing about all the wonderful things I’velearnt in the past month or so. But due to certain recent events, I have something I feel needs to be said.

10299567_10152158935673722_6809860299639213845_nIm scared people, scared and angry for the future generations. When an eight month old baby dies from abuse, what is the world coming to???

Now stay with me here because I realise this isnt an issue that relates purely to Maori but it IS an issue that Maoridom can help with. I know as much about that case as anyone else can find out through the media, but I think its a safe bet to say that amphetamines and/or alcohol were involved. Call that a generalisation, call that judgemental. Whilst I mean no disrespect to the family, it is also a theory I have.

According to one kaumatua on the Maori channel – if more of our Maori people were aware of the teachings of Maoridom, and realised the strength behind them they would know that no matter what their troubles, they would be able to find assistance in those teachings. Those same teachings of their ancestors.

We need to go back to basics people!

Instead of churning out a generation of drones hooked on looking cool, acting cool, material possessions and then taking it out on the world when they realise the reality that life can be harsh! If the carers of that poor eight month old baby had known more about the teachings of Maoridom, perhaps that baby would still be alive today.

I found myself wondering about the relationship between the parents of that eight-month old baby, how it could get to the point where something like this could happen? And I remembered the many times I have heard my tutor comment on this. On the fact that males need to be more vocal to their other male counterparts that violence is not ok. One of the basic principles of Maoridom is that females are held in just as high regard as males if not more so. It wasnt until Pakeha arrived that our maori women (many of whom were chiefs/priestesses in their own right) were made to be secondary citizens.

I could take the easy path and say that this traditional (and basic) maori belief of equality is based on the pure and simple fact that without females there would be no life but its more than that. Traditional maori recognised that male and female need to work together to compliment each other. Within the Asian culture it would be called yin and yang.

In my theory and as usual I’mgeneralising here; females you need to hold yourself to a certain standard where you are deserving of the respect that is owed to you. And males you need to recognise that females are equals and treat them as such.

Again I see the need to go back to grassroots basics. For 10 plus years or so I listened to my father talk about his desire to do this and never quite understood why. Coming to understand this basic ideal of Maoridom has changed that for me.

From the male/female dynamic of people, to the male/female dynamic of maori atua. If you have heard of any maori gods, chances are they are the male ones Tane, Tangaroa, Rongo, etc etc I recently learnt that for each of these there is a female counterpart. Depending on what you believe, there are 140 maori deities, 70 male and 70 female.

In maori starsigns (yes there are maori starsigns and they dont change on a daily basis either) you have your birth sign (mine is Poutu-te-rangi) along with two other guiding elements, one male and one female. So much of te ao maori is in pairs and based on duality.

If the universe can naturally work in harmony like this why cant we as intelligent human beings do the same??

Wouldnt that be better than simply becoming another case of hangingwith the wrong crowd, its-my-parents-fault, take-on-the-world-with-drugs-and-alcohol-statistic? All I can say is for this mozzie, learning about my roots is hard enough, but reversing the effects of colonisation? Trying not to become trapped in the consumerism of mainstream and pop culture?? Not easy tasks by any means, but the more I learn, the easier it is to get away from those things, to go back to basics.

With the time of Matariki here, I have resolved to start fresh in a lot of different ways. The rising of the matariki constellation (otherwise known as Pleiades) signals the Maori new year. A time of new beginnings, and strengthening whanau bonds. Traditionally it was when crops were harvested, food stores filled, and maori generally hung out indoors as a whanau. Celebrating, learning, teaching, and remembering. Learning history and whakapapa, remembering those who have passed, and making plans for the future.

With that in mind, I attended a mau rakau class..and I was sore for two days after it. I am one of the least athletic people you could ever meet. But after thinking about it, I convinced myself to at least try and see how I go. When I arrived, first thing they had us doing was running (I dont run), then some duck walks (never heard of them before then), and then the other beginners/younger ones and myself were put into our own group to learn some basic moves did I mention I’m not athletic? After wondering why I would voluntarily put myself through this, I decided to suck it up and stick to it (for now) but only once a week.

Something else I’vestarted hearing about is Te Whare Tapu o Ngapuhi. The Sacred House of Ngapuhi. The saying goes something along the lines of if you are not Ngapuhi, you must descend from horse. Basically what this means is that if you are not Ngapuhi, you must be foreign.

Ngapuhi is the largest tribe within Aotearoa. Within the whare tapu o Ngapuhi, the mountains make the walls (there are a few, with changes having been made over time) The earth is the floor, and the sky is the roof.

Despite the numbers of Maori who affiliate to Ngapuhi, I feel it is one of the worst-affected iwi of Aotearoa. Of course, the actions of Te Rauparaha as he slowly made his way down the north island with his muskets would have had a big impact on that. The fact that northland was the first area of NZ to be settled by Europeans in my theory is one of the major reasons Ngapuhi are now the worst affected.

I recently met a first cousin of my dads for the first time. I was lucky enough that he had a lot of history on the area where my dad comes from. Trying to take it all in on the other hand is another story. Ive been told that when youre ready to know the whakapapa and the history, thats when you will remember it if thats the case than I am definitely not at that stage yet! But still I will keep persevering and see how I go.

The fact that I am absolutely SHOCKING with names doesnt help. Im one of those people who says things like James instead of John if you get what I mean. Although, when you start doing things like that with someones tupuna, they will get annoyed – and fair enough. Its only recently Ive realised how bad I am at this when it was pointed out to me several times in the one week. So all I can do is continue to work on it in the future I guess.

Before I finish up though, I would like to thank all those who are following my facebook page. Please dont be shy to contact me through the Missmaorigal page if you like. I have plans to start selling some merchandise online and welcome all feedback.

So, these are just a few of the things I have learnt in my journey so far.

Going back to your roots was once described to me as if you were in a orchard, surrounded by fruit trees. All the fruit from the trees are the knowledge and understanding that comes from everything you learn. Heres hoping I dont get lost.

  • Rawinia

    I like the benefits of red wine but I can’t afford it all the time. And when I do have it I have a glass a night or every other night. As opposed to introducing alcohol to 14 year olds I am against that. Just to have a couple is not my thinking for when my son hits 14. None. My papa was lovely untill he drank. He abused my nana, yet family members think its ok to allow nephews to have a drink at 14. We don’t need it and have never needed it. If we needed it Maori would have had it before Pakeha. This is getting back to basics.