Words of a Kaumātua: When you want a smile, give yours away

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When you want a smile, give yours away When you want affection, you give affection When you help people, they help you When you want love, give your love Ka nui taku aroha ki a koe - My love for you knows no bounds. ~ Māori proverb #TeWikioteReoMāori #MāoriLanguageWeek #MahuruMaori Kua rongo ake au... Tuku…

Comforting Thought: Rangimārie

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Kua rongo ake au...Mā te karakia me te inoiMe te noho pukuKa tau te rangimārieki a tātau katoaI have learned that...everyone can do a karakia The Star Compass Atea a Rangi in Napier, New Zealand (Photo by A.Dennis) Kua rongo ake au...Mā te āta katakata āta harikoa anōMā te hiki ake i te wairuaE tau…

Words and Music: Earth the slumbering pūriri

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In the Beginning Earth Breath on me Earth the cool breath of life Earth the slumbering pūriri Earth the misty valley Earth the departed sun Earth the tingling blue sky Earth the dark sheen of a woman river Earth the mottling tides tumbling ashore Earth the sweeping godwits Earth our home Earth the giving land…

Book Review: Words of a Kaumātua by Haare Williams

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A compelling, rich and lush blend of essay, poetry, reflections and personal stories by one of New Zealand's most preeminent Māori writers. I have to admit that I didn't know much about Haare Williams before picking up this book in Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This is a definitive collection of Māori wisdom that is…

Wāhanga o Te Rā/ Times of the Day in Māori

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Learn some new words in Māori during Mahuru Māori/Māori Language Month. Here are the various times of the day...enjoy! Waenganui pō - Midnight Te Pō - Night Atapō - Before Dawn Ata Hapāra - Breath of Dawn Atatū - Just after sunrise Awatea - River of Light Ata - Morning Poupoutanga o te rā -…

10 Interesting things I Found on the Internet This Week #17

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A Shelf-Portrait with Alanis Morissette Rock goddess, highly sensitive person and all-round legendary bookworm Alanis Morissette talks about the books that have shaped and improved her life. A lot of great non-fiction here about mindfulness, spirituality and personal growth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwrLSpHz4lk The mystical beauty of an Ancient Egyptian daughter of Osiris (1913) An anonymous autochrome photograph…

E Pii, e Paa: A poem by Haare Williams

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This week is Māori Language Week/ Te wiki o Te Reo Māori. So I will be sharing some beautiful poems, proverbs and words in Māori and English for you to enjoy. Here is a poem by Haare Williams from his incredible book of wisdom: Words of a Kaumātua. E Pii, e Paa tiny bees swarming…

Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art) by Hollie Smith & Teeks

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Do you need some hope in your life? Do you want to feel some love and light in your bones and restore some wairua (spirit) to your life? Here is a beautiful Māori waiata (song) Whakaaria Mai (How Great Thou Art). I'm not really that religious, but this song made me feel something in my…

10 Uplifting things I found on the internet this week #6

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1. A book diorama of Georgian Dublin 2. Bunraku's atmospheric and chilled mix of ambient tracks inspired by different parts of Tokyo https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXYvr4JfdB5wNi2fBnotikIu3wXMxwDcg 3. The world's smallest and deadliest cat https://twitter.com/wonderofscience/status/1185331394332880896?s=20 4. Tree trunk landscape art by Alison Moritsugu https://twitter.com/ivanik_oksana/status/1261668587384823810 5. A recipe for salted caramel matcha latte by Cooking with a Wallflower https://cookingwithawallflower.com/2020/05/20/salted-caramel-matcha-latte/ 6.…

Book Review: The Heading Dog That Split in Half by Brown and Tait

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Aotearoa has a rich and varied history of folk legends and urban myths in addition to the rich history of Maori myth and legend. The Heading Dog Who Split in Half collects these half-realised dreams together with stunningly beautiful graphics. This book makes for engaging and captivating reading experience for readers of all ages. The…

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape, New Zealand

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People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

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Maori tribes have long held beliefs and customs about the native birds of Aotearoa New Zealand. Birds or Nga Manu had a vital place in Maori tribal life as they provided food, beautiful feathers for adornment and their strengths and personalities were a rich source of metaphor and poetry. Their behaviour was use to predict…

All About Māori Kite Making

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There are 17 types of Maori kites. Traditionally made from strong timber framing like manuka wood they were woven with flax and the paper and bark of the mulberry plant until the plant went virtually extinct. Birdman kites have a powerful symbolism for Maori tribes. One such taonga was gifted to the British Museum in…

Mana Wahine: The Female Moko in Māori Culture

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Tā moko represents a person's mana (status or power) in society. This is best highlighted by the time when the chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with their mokos in 1840. The Moko Kauae is a chin tattoo traditional reserved for Māori women with mana (high status and power). Traditionally, female healers (tohunga) had a close relationship…

Dolphins as Taniwha in New Zealand

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Dolphins are mystical beings full of intelligence, compassion and consciousness. For the Maori people they are known as  taniwha. They are considered tapu (sacred) and possessing a powerful mauri (lifeforce). What are Taniwha? Taniwha (pron. tan-ee-far) are mysterious creatures that dwell in the sea, rivers, lakes or in caves. They have a reptilian, fish-like or…

The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana

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This painting by Bronwyn Waipuka illustrates a story by Wairarapa kaumātua (elder) Mita Carter. Rehutai and Tangimoana were beautiful twin sisters who lived on the banks of the Ruamāhanga River. They both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, but he could not decide which to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from a…

A Brief History of Auckland’s 53 Volatile Volcanoes

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There are approximately 53 volcanoes in Auckland, which have over thousands of years produced an array of interesting lagoons, tuft rings and lava flows in Auckland city. The biggest, most active and most visible volcano - Rangitoto sits on an island of the same name in Auckland harbour. This has erupted repeatedly over the past…

Travel: Māori waka ama (racing war canoe) in Tāmaki Makaurau

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Waka Ama is a sport akin to outrigger canoe racing or group rowing. It's based on traditional modes of Polynesian sea travel which relied upon celestial navigation. Since the 80s and 90s high-tech canoes of Hawaiian or Polynesian design have become hugely popular as a sport among Māori, often performed as part of cultural festivals held…

The Māori Goddess Taranga by Robyn Kahukiwa

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In Maori legend, Taranga is the mother of the god Maui and her husband is named Makeatutura. When Maui is born prematurely, Taranga wraps his body in her hair and throws him into the waves. In the ensuing years, sea-creatures care for Maui, hiding him in the sea coral and kelp until one day following a…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Tane Mahuta’s Triumph by Jane Crisp

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In the beginning there was no sky, no sea no earth and no Gods. There was only darkness, only Te Kore, the Nothingness. From this nothingness, the primal parents of the Maori came, Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father. Papatuanuku and Ranginui came together,embracing in the darkness, and had 70 male children. These…

The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art

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Pania is the legendary Kaitiaki (guardian/protector) of the reef in local Maori legend and her wairua (spirit) is connected strongly to the moana (ocean) close by to the town of Napier. Legend has it that Pania was a shimmering and iridescently beautiful maiden who lives in the sea and following a human encounter and a broken…

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Waiotapu

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Waiotapu means sacred waters in Maori. It's an active geothermal area at the southern end of New Zealand's Taupo Volcanic Zone just outside of Rotorua. It's a place of surreal colour, beauty and otherworldly wonder. It's no exaggeration that you haven't seen anything like this before. The alchemy of mineral deposits mixing over thousands and sometimes millions of…

An interesting holistic model for health according to the eight tentacles of the Octopus, Te Wheke in Māori culture

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The Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) which includes myself, have a very different way of defining health outcomes compared to western medicine. Te Wheke (the octopus) is often used as a symbol to define integrative and holistic health. This holistic approach to health encompasses ten elements in Maori life. Funnily enough this holistic…

Seawalls: Artists for Oceans in Quirky Napier, New Zealand

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On a recent cycling trip to Napier, the Polish Bear and I were astonished to find the most amazing street art in the side alleys, shop fronts and carpark walls. Art Deco Napier is a place full of surprises. Seawalls Napier: Bringing the oceans to the streets Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans is a groundbreaking…

The Māori and Matariki

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Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. In Aotearoa Matariki rises in mid-winter–late May or early June.  It traditionally heralds winter solistice in New Zealand or the Māori new year. Matariki translates to the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth,…

The magic of Matariki and Māori winter sea navigation

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Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. In Aotearoa Matariki rises in mid-winter–late May or early June.  It traditionally heralds winter solistice in New Zealand or the Māori new year. Matariki translates to the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth,…

Mysterious Rongorongo Glyphs from Easter Island

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A collection of 24 sacred wooden objects from Easter Island bear Rongorongo inscriptions, a system of glyphs that was discovered in the 19th Century and is still a mystery to historians. Numerous attempts at decyphering the proto-writing have been unsuccessful. These pieces of wood (a lot of it driftwood) are weathered, burned and damaged and…

Mana Wahine: Three Inspiring Māori Women

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One of my most endlessly popular posts is about Tā moko (Māori tattooing), so I thought I would do another to honour my Māori heritage. Recently on YouTube, I discovered an inspiring collection of stories about Māori women kicking ass all over the place. Called Totes Māori each video is edited creatively and made with uplifting and…

Eight Quirky Facts About The Kea: NZ’s Alpine Trickster

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Kea Nestor notabilis are an endemic parrot of the South Island of New Zealand. Playful, inquisitive, bright eyed and stunningly beautiful, keas are also incredibly resourceful. Many scientists argue that they are the world's smartest bird. Not convinced? Here are some more juicy facts to win you over. A kaleidoscope of colour The glorious colours…