ka awatea

A chill settles on bare soles; yet to be infused with a warm glow.  She often wakes at this time.  The flute-like call of the korimako, heralding the break of day is close.  Slipping out silently; inhaling deeply; savouring stillness.

Crouched on the dune, looking out over the dark sea.  Iridescent blue and violet streaks, tinge with delicate pink.  Stirring and shifting colours; layer upon layer.  Radiating saffron shafts.  Reaching out; further and further until a shimmering pathway connects ocean to land.  Still higher he climbs; strength growing with a slow ascent.  Bathed in golden amber, the sky canvass transforms.  Tama Nui Te Rā presents the new day. 

She treasures this time.  Yes, the sky and sea are at their most stunning.  But, it was more than spectacle.  It was this exact moment in time.  The one that existed only as dawn broke.  With serenity its only gift, the solitude softened her.  It didn’t matter what the day would bring, there was this one untouched moment.  That moment of hope and potential.  Unrealised; harmonious; absolute purity.  

And in that moment, she would think of her whānau.  Her Nan.  Her anchor when the fierce storms threatened to cast her adrift; terrified and alone.  Her Nan.  The one who bathed her in tikanga Māori.  Gently guiding her; showing her where she came from, to whom she belonged, and where she was safe.  Her Nan.  Who she still talked to everyday.  Sometimes in her heart, and sometimes out loud.  Her Nan, who she still visited as often as she could. Her Nan, who, missing her so very deeply, she would sometimes lie with; seeking for just a moment the infusion of wisdom and strength.  

And Matiu.  Matiu who loved her wholly and completely.  The one who had taken care of their children when she was overwhelmed by the darkness, the despair and the confusion.  Matiu; the one who had always believed in her.

Then there was Te Waiora; her baby who had brought her and Matiu so much joy in those early days.  Her haututu boys, so very full of life.  Piata curious about his place in the world.  Tai, needing much gentle care and nurturing.  And of course Aria, their blessed glittering star.  She also remembered the tiny baby lost.  That crushing anguish that immobilised her.  And now, comforted, she thought about him, eternally protected in her Nan’s embrace.

In the purity of this moment Ripeka understood her past, her present and her future.  Woven together, made strong by enduring interconnected strands.  As Tama Nui Te Rā whispered his greeting to her, she took a deep breath.  Slowly letting go, she thanked him for the moment, for the warmth of his blessing, and for this, his promise of hope and potential.  She stood.  It was time to go.

From Te Manu Kai i te Mātauranga: Indigenous Psychology in Aotearoa/New Zealand (2016). Eds. Waikaremoana Waitoki & Michelle Levy