I have known for a long time that I am of Ngai Tahu descent but, being Pakeha/Kiwi has always been at the fore front of that story. I recall my Mum and Dad talking about my Grandma and her Dad being Maori and that there was family land somewhere down South, but that was the extent of the conversation mostly.

I few years ago my sister connected with our Marae – Waihao near Waimate (my parent’s home town) and Karitane where NZ Plunket began at the local hospital many years ago. She visited with the Marae often and loved what she was learning. We took a trip together once and stood on a beach near Karitane – ‘our beach’ she described it as and I remember the feeling strongly – A feeling of peace, wonder and intrigue as she told stories about our ancestors and how they had lived here. I remember the most overwhelming feeling though and that was of ‘coming home’.

Professional colleagues had encouraged me over the years to develop this part of me but, for whatever reason I was reluctant. I wasn’t ready.

It’s been a slow journey over the years but, finally I am there and I feel a whole other part of me opening up and expanding. I feel more connected to the land. I feel the pain of colonisation and I suddenly have so much more understanding and empathy for what occurred so many years ago at the Waitangi grounds, for the many years that have followed and sadly still exists today.

I am excited about my journey. I am excited to have people rising up around me who want to support me professionally. I am excited that my Grandma’s and Dad’s heritage will be honoured and I am excited to feel a sense of becoming whole I guess you could say.

Wish me luck as I venture into this other exciting world and part of me.

Ehara taku toa e te toa takitahi engari he toa takimano.

My strength is not that of an individual but that of the collective.