Kia ora e te whanau! Welcome to another year of Missmaorigal and I hope that the start of 2015 has been great for you.
The past couple months since my last blog has been stressful and horrific to say the least but I’m picking myself up and looking forward to the year ahead. I start Te Ara Reo level 4 in two weeks or so and while I haven’t actually been to a training session this year… yet.. I’m planning on getting back into Mau rakau as well now that it’s started up again.
Next weekend ill be going to a takiwa meeting for my dad’s marae as well as I’m aiming to see how I can help out there without a car 🙁
So with tentative plans made, I find myself wondering how much I will actually manage to achieve this year. Life happens as we all know, and with that in mind, I’d like to ask any readers out there if there are any topics in particular (relating to maoridom) that they would like me to write about? While I know these blogs are meant to be about my personal journey back to my maoritanga my theory is that by getting a steady list of topics from readers, it will enable to me to focus on those particular topics and how I relate to them, while at the same time expanding my knowledge base.
One thing I really want to look into is the different forms of Maori art. Carving, ta moko, weaving etc etc. How much has Maori art evolved over the years?
And are our artists staying true to the tikanga of old? How has that tikanga changed? With that in mind, one goal I have set myself for this year is to make contact with a lady I know who is very experienced in weaving and get involved in her classes. Another is to purchase some chisels so that I can practice my carving skills and believe me they need practice J Te Matatini is practically here, and it’s made me even more eager to learn what I can about all the different maori art forms.
A close family member of mine is looking at getting a ta moko done. The thing is this particular person has only been in the country for a few months, and like me, was raised overseas. Obviously coming up with a design is that little bit harder in this particular situation. Which makes me ask the question – how were ta moko designs traditionally chosen? I’m working on convincing them to learn their roots themselves and possibly come up with their own design down the track when they are ready. Whether they take that advice is yet to be seen though.
From what I’ve been told, generally, tattoo shops these days won’t give you a ‘mock up’ of a design beforehand. Mostly because it gives the client the chance to say sorry im not quite sure I like that, can you do it again please? My theory is, traditionally, a lot of the designs would have been chosen already depending on the person. This mark to represent a kaikorero, that mark to represent someone skilled in the ocean, another to represent a skilled warrior etc etc. The only real question would be how they merged it all together to make one aesthetically pleasing design.
Something else I’ve noticed is that while I’ve always considered myself very much a beginner with a lot to learn. Ive recently had a very close family member come to me asking for whakapapa and wanting to get back to their roots as well. While I’ve only been out to my dad’s marae a handful of times, I was lucky enough to take them out there for their first time. This has made me realise that while I’m still a beginner with a lot to learn, I do actually have a little knowledge that could help others. Which after all is what it’s all about, passing the knowledge on to the right people.
Another goal I have for this year (as I said, I was wondering how many I’ll actually be able to get through) is to climb/camp at least one of the maunga of Te Whare Tapu o Ngapuhi. I believe that to truly connect to the whenua, you need to walk it, explore it, fish in the waters, camp on its land, and find any hidden caves. Maybe im aiming a bit high, but hey, I’ve never been one to do things in halves.
So that’s just a basic rundown of a few things I hope to achieve this year, and a few things I hope to learn more about. And of course I’m still working on some merchandise. But thank you for reading, as usual feel free to check out my facebook page and contact me there if you like. Be good to yourselves, and be good to others.
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For today’s modern Maori, the choice to learn and embrace their maoritanga isn’t a process that happens overnight. More often than not, there is a catalyst, a starter, someone or something that leads you to ask questions. Something that makes you ask yourself what it is to be Maori.
I can think of many people asking these questions, but where to go for answers? For an Australian-born maori (or mozzie) such as myself, the massiveness of these questions, and Te Ao Maori in general (The Maori World) can seem like a dark hole of unknown mystery. How to begin? Who to speak to? What will be expected of me?
While I would never dictate how a person should live their life, what I can share is how I am personally approaching it. From a self-proclaimed “mozzie” point of view. Detailing the highs and lows, the places I visit, and the people along the way. From someone that generally had a pakeha upbringing, it’s a complete shift in how you view the world.
Who am I to be writing this you may ask. Why keep reading? What is it about my opinions that merit your consideration? well, I’m a little political, and a little crazy. I have a lot to learn and my opinions are just that – opinions. They are not gospel, they are not law. I don’t aim to discredit anyone, but more to share my experiences with those who are interested. If one person reads this and decides to look into maoritanga for themselves, ill be happy. Check out my facebook page missmaorigal for more updates and information.
I should state from the start that at present I am semi-fluent in te reo so apologies in advance for any and all types of errors I may write. Obviously I will make all efforts to avoid any possible mistakes in the first place though. Not only with the language, but everything I write overall. My mother is Ngati Hari from Taumarunui, and my father is Ngapuhi from Nukutawhiti. This is my journey of discovery to find out what that means to me, Missmaorigal.