Updated: Apr 8
Ko Tinana te Waka
Ko Tumoana te Tangata
Ko Whangatauatia me Taumatamahoe nga Maunga
Ko Karirikura te Moana
Ko Tangonge te Wai Ko Korou Kore me Te Rarawa nga Marae
Ko Ngati Moroki me Ngati Te Ao nga hapu
Ko Te Aupouri me Te Rarawa nga Iwi
Ko Arna Kamariera Ahau
Growing up in the city, very disconnected to my roots.
I struggled with it being a good thing, that I am Māori.
My environment (school, tv, adult behaviors etc) made me feel like I should be ashamed, because I am Māori.
Listening, watching and believing that I was less than, helped me to allow myself to be disrespected by others and also to be disrespected by myself.
Becoming a mother to four beautiful children, made me think deep about how I could create an environment that acknowledges, accepts and respects all of who we are, and encourages us to be proud of all parts of ourselves.
My thoughts took me back to when I was a child, when I had a visit from Wairua, and I was told I would later walk with Moko kanohi.
I found it difficult to believe, as there seemed to be a lot of prerequisites to receiving Moko kanohi and Initially I thought I wasn't "Māori" enough.
But the fire in my belly grew, it burnt bigger and brighter than any outside influence.
A fire that was full of my love for being Māori, a fire that grew with the love of accepting all of me. At the age of 35 I picked up the courage to accept such an honour of receiving my Moko Kauae.
I began my lifelong walk with the responsibilities that I have placed on myself to reflect the reason for doing so, but not the responsibilities that you may hear being attached to Moko kanohi.
For me, my Moko Kauae was a journey of accepting myself on all levels.
It helped raise the bar of respect I had for myself, and the new respect I now demand to be treated with by others.
It helps me to connect on a deeper level with my whakapapa.
It reminds me of my love for my culture, and it shows my children that being Māori is who we are, and something to be proud of.
I now find it easier to walk with my head high, and know that I am beautiful and I am enough.
I feel your Moko Kauae chooses you as much as you choose to walk with it.
And when, or if, you feel the fire burning, hear the calling, or are shown the way to, or just know that it's your time...
Then it is YOUR choice whether YOU accept YOUR responsibility or not.
Arna Kamariera Kaita: Raniera McGrath