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one family's change of direction to reconnect to their Māori culture

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Ngā Rū Whenua//Earthquakes

Kia 0ra rā 🙂

This post is a slight deviation from my usual kaupapa but I will continue on with that later. In light of recent events here in Aotearoa I thought I’d write a ‘lil something on the recent rū whenua or earthquake.

E ai kī Ngāi Māori, ngā rū whenua are caused by Rūaumoko who is the atua of earthquakes and volcanoes. Rūaumoko is the pōtiki, the youngest child, of Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother). Following their separation of their parents’, Ranginui’s tears continued to flow down to Papa, flooding the land so the sons decided to turn their whaea away from Rangi. They faced her downwards so that their parents’ would not constantly see each other’s sorrow and grieve more.


Rūaumoko & Papatūānuku: Robyn Kahukiwa

According to some, when Papatūānuku was turned over her baby Rūaumoko was still in her kōpū, in the womb. In other tales he was at her breast and was therefore carried with her to the world below. There, he was given fire to keep him warm and it is said that the rumblings that disturb the land are made by him as he moves about. Ko Rūaumoko e ngunguru nei- It is Rūaumoko who rumbles. 

Last Sunday, we were roused from sleep at around midnight by our house shaking. The bed was swaying and the blinds were billowing. In my sleepy state I just put it down to strong winds but the hubby was also awake, calling earthquake. I was waiting with baited breath for the kiddies to all come rushing in for a sleepover…but this didn’t happen (whew!), the shaking subsided and I very quickly drifted back to sleep! I woke in the morning to see that my windows were actually closed and then turned on the telly to see that it wasn’t just a weird dream! Wnzquakeow! A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Kaikoura, on the East Coast of the Sth Island and we felt it up here in Hamilton..I couldn’t believe it! I had experienced earthquakes before, about 4 in the 2.5 years of living in Ōtaki, but nothing as big as this. I really never expected to feel it this far north and inland. After checking that everyone was safe’n’sound down in Ōtaki and the Wellington region, our lives went on as normal, with some weird weather patterns all week. But those further down south have had to deal with: tsunami warnings, damaged buildings, closed cities, blocked roads, heavy rain resulting in flooding and a mini tornado! And then there are the poor people of the South Island and Kaikoura which have seen the entire town shut down since the quake. I think they are still feeling aftershocks too and many people would be suffering with Post Traumatic Stress from the devastating Christchurch quakes of 2010..not cool 😦 kia kaha koutou!

Although Aotearoa doesn’t have the snakes, spiders, jellyfish, crocodiles and the multitudes of other things that can kill you in Australia, it does have earthquakes…and they are far from fun and not really an experience I want to share in again! Whether it’s Rūamoko moving about, the powers of the Super-Moon or, as Brian Tamaki the Bishop of Destiny Church believe’s, because of all of the deviant homosexuals and sinners (lol..he whakaaro rorirori rawa tēnā…twat!), I guess it’as a good reminder for us all to have an emergency plan in place and ready to go for when the unexpected does occur..

Well, ko tēna, tēnā.. kei te huri tonu te Ao..the World is still spinning!

Mauri ora 🙂






A slow start

Kia ora anō 🙂

OMG I cannot believe it has been a year since my last post…to say life has been crazy this past year is an understatement!! Heoi, me waiho tēnā kōrero ki te taha i tēnei wā…he kaupapa anō tēnā! I might get to that at some other point but for now I will focus on finishing what I started in Te Tīmatanga.

Following on from my previous post- Te Tīmatanga, we (hubby+me+pēpi #1) are now living in Aotearoa, in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton to be exact and it is 2011. I pretty much got straight into mahi, with relief teaching at 3 different high schools. This was definitely an eye-opener for me as each school was totally different. I worked at one of the top-decile schools, one in the middle and one closer to the bottom. The lower-decile school had low student numbers but most of the students were Māori…and when I say Māori I mean most of them were tangata whenua, had been there for generations and were no strangers to their marae, whakapapa and tikanga. I found it so hard, and so, SO confronting. They knew I was from Aussie and new to the area and yeah combine that with all of my own insecurities and having little to no family/friend support base and I was a mess. I hated going to that school..I would even cry about it, I felt so far out on the outside of the outside that it wasn’t funny! Thankfully it wasn’t long before I picked up full-time work at a mainstream school and I could push those insecurities to the side for the time being.

So there I was, happily plodding along with mahi and making new friends. My students were all pretty cool kids, a mixed-bag of races and which made each day interesting. There was a definite trend among the Māori kids to be the trouble starters, the waggers, those with little engagement with the education system. There were some that worked hard and rose to the surface but many fell through the cracks.

At this time, hubby had begun his first year of tertiary study at the University of Waikato, studying Primary Education. He enjoyed his study but it wasn’t long before he got the idea that he really wanted to help the Māori kids and the reo Māori speaking kids. Pēpi #1 started Kōhanga Reo, childcare delivered by Māori, for Māori and in te reo Māori. So, we were starting to hear some kupu māori and thought we better up our game a bit to be more involved with pēpi and to better understand what her teachers were saying to us!

We began a night course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa which involved 3hrs of class once a week with a weekly tutorial as needed. This was a Te Ara Reo programme and was delivered mainly in English, for absolute beginners. It was a mixed group, in both ages and cultural backgrounds and most of us were also working.twoa We learnt some of the very basics but it wasn’t long before work and other commitments got in the way and we started to drop off on classes, just doing the bare minimum to pass!

Through his time at uni and in talking to others who had learnt the reo the Hubby decided that he would put his teaching degree on hold and that his second year of study would be dedicated to learning te reo Māori, in a full-immersion setting! This was a programme offered at the uni which took students from beginner to intermediate/advanced speakers of te reo in 1 year. Of course he was apprehensive, I was too, it just seemed like such a huge jump into the deep end…but in he dove. 2012 was full-on for the Hubby. He was out of his comfort zone most of the time and quickly found out that the term ‘beginner’ was used quite loosely as most of the other students had a fair idea of what was going on!! This didn’t dissuade him though, on and on he kept pushing. He was lucky to have a cousin in Kura Kaupapa who he would bribe now and then to help him with his mahi, otherwise he would have definitely drowned! At the latter end of the year things jumped up to intermediate/advanced level and Hubby felt he couldn’t keep up any longer so he stopped his programme of study. This didn’t mean he had given up though, he just realised that he needed more time in the intermediate level, so he signed up for an intermediate, full-immersion programme back  at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for 2013. Here, stuff started falling into place and finally making sense for him!


Big sis sussing out her tungāne..

At the end of 2012 we welcomed pēpi#2 into our whare, our son, and I was off work. So, Hubby talked me into also going back to TWoA, to enroll in a beginners, full immersion course. I was apprehensive and still had many issues with my māori identity and lack of knowledge of anything māori! I had an interview and broke down into tears after being ask to do a mihi/introduce myself in te reo māori..I couldn’t do was horrible. I didn’t want to go back at all, but come the first day and there I was, with Hubby and Pēpi#2 by my side. And you know what, it wasn’t so bad. I still didn’t know anything and felt totally inadequate as a ‘Māori’ but I soon came to realise that there were many others who were scared shitless just like me too, some with even more barriers than me. So it ended up being a good year! We also attended Te Ataarangi night classes once a week where learning is done as a collective with repetition, coloured cuisenaire rods and speaking only. This helped to cement in the basics and build confidence in speaking aloud in te reo. So, we were now able to hold very simple conversations and exchanges in te reo, mainly using commands.

So that was us, both studying te reo and busy running after our 2 kiddies. Oh, and before our tama’s 1st birthday I had the surprise of my life-falling pregnant with Pēpi#3!! Kātahi te ohorere ko tēnā

Arohanui ❤



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Te Tīmatanga

Kia ora!! Nau mai, haere mai ki taku blog tuatahi!!

Hi there and welcome to my first blog!!

I have been uhmming and ahhing about this for some time now but thought I better hurry up and get started before my memory begins to fade and I either exaggerate or forget certain moments we’ve experienced along our journey of reconnecting to our Māori culture and learning te reo Māori me ona tikanga (the Māori language &  customs). And yes! Sorry to confuse you all but some of my writings will be in English and some in Māori as that is just how my brain functions these days!! Aroha atu, aroha mai!! Continue reading