Tokaanu, New Zealand

Dear Aotearoa, from mum

Ko Papatūānuku tēnei, it’s yo Mama here.

I’ve just been hanging about, letting nature do nature, rivers be rivers, skies be skies and after three weeks of Aoteroa Alert Level 4, forced isolation, I want to share my observations.

Wairoa, New Zealand Credit Arthur Rasmussen
Wairoa, New Zealand Credit Arthur Rasmussen

E aku tamariki, you have warmed my soul, I’ve witnessed extraordinary aroha as you’ve celebrated your siblings “essential workers”, lifting them up on your social media pages. People who you once barely noticed, now applauded with standing ovations.

For the first time in decades, I have seen the long absent smiling faces of villagers in Jalandhar from the peaks of my maunga Himachal Pradesh, faces usually hidden by smog and pollution.

On the edge of the Adriatic Sea the waterways of Venice usually dark and murky are noticeably clearer because you have given Hinemoana time to cleanse.

Tokaanu, New Zealand
Tokaanu, New Zealand

Each night I am mesmerised by the cloak of stars adorning my imperfect lover Ranginui. I feel peace knowing there is less deadly conflict and wars between our children.

You are practising whaungatanga like you did centuries ago, talking to one another, staying connected using your clever forms of technology. I feel the energy wrapped around my huge surface which for years remained largely disconnected.

You are behaving like true leaders, employers are empowering and entrusting their workers to work from home. You have stayed grounded, resting the skies and supporting me to breath.

While your rules and customs have been disrupted you have sought to use it as an opportunity, to wānanga, grow and progress.

Be assured that as you mourn in isolation for your mate , I am guiding your loved ones to their final resting place. Trust in me.

Let your restless hands return to your māra kai (gardens) work with Haumia-tiketike to feed youself. Leave Tangaroa, Rongo and Tāne to replenish their stocks.

I have had time to breathe, to pause, to relax and regather.

But be warned Tāwhirimātea has not settled. There are still those caught in his storms and winds of conflict, those suffering loneliness, depression, anxiety and poor mental health. Comfort them and support them.

Like our karakia, send your thoughts and prayers to those caught in the domain of Tūmātauenga. Those caught in conflict, victims of abuse. Isolation increases anxiety, creates anger and violence. So protect your whānau.

Many of you who have plenty, not only continue to have plenty, but have maintained their life of plenty at the cost of those with little or nothing. Be generous and thoughtful.

Strive for equality and equity in your planning, development and implementation of solutions for all New Zealanders. Recognise the systemic and structural racism that created indigenous inequities.

Understanding your privilege will be your defining role.

Even though we are in a moment of isolation, of taking time, of wānanga, don’t think too long e aku tamariki mā. Like the whakataukī, ka whati te tai, ka pao te tōrea – when the tide ebbs, the oyster catcher strikes.

E tai mā, pao, pao, pao!

(Written by Boyd Broughton)

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