When the moon is as thin as an eyelash, it bathes in the life giving water of Tane, Te Waiora o Tane, where it is nourished, polished and rebirthed in its waxing glow. With the rising new moon, fish and birds move in shoals and flocks, the hunters and fishers move with inner-sprung energy, the people become nourished and replete with reward.

Te Waiora o Tane is a metaphor for health, degeneration and rebirth, the ability to heal oneself. Waiora is the healing waters, Hauora, or more fully Te Hauora o Tawhirimatea is the healing winds of Tawhirimatea from the ancient proverb meaning “Return to the ancestral hilltops and ridges to be ritually cleansed by the healing winds of Tawhirimatea”.

Hauora and Wairoa. Hauora is about our physical well-being, the balances in our lives we must reach, the male attributes of the wind and weather, too much wind and you topple over, no wind you are becalmed, stagnant. Yet one must experience both sides to know where the middle is. Waiora is about the internal mental and spiritual flows. It has the female energies. Waiora is about nourishment, succor and splendor for the mind and the soul.

The first question one is asked in Maori thinking is “No wai koe?” meaning … “What birthing waters have you emerged from?” or “Where are you from?” What is your river, lake or spring?  Then “Ko wai koe?” …  “What waters define who you are?” or “Who are you?” Who are your parents?

In Maori philosophy then, water is the central definition of who we are and where we come from, the essence of identity, the anchor of turangawaewae, a place to stand, a place to come back to be buried, a meeting place with the ancestors and for future generations. This knowledge of history and future makes us well inside, gives us emotional and spiritual positives with all thumbs up.

Without this inner sense of well-being and optimism our spirits flag and sag. No wonder then that too many Maori are unhealthy and occupy the lowest socio-economic levels available in Hawke’s Bay. There is very little traditional land left to identify with and there certainly isn’t any water left in many streams, rivers, springs and wells in papakainga areas. There is no control or authority by Maori over water resources or water allocation. The “wai”, the wellspring of Maori communities has been sucked dry by horticulture, viticulture, agriculture and every other culture except Maori culture.

It is about time that these other ‘cultures’ and their instruments, Regional and District Councils, recognize the original culture and restore the hauora to the wairoa, that is restore the rivers, wells, creeks, streams and aquifers to a state that supports the well-being of Papatuanuku, hence the waiora of the Tangata Whenua. Ngati Poporo of Bridge Pa and their hundreds of whanau members depend on it and deserve it.

They need to be bathed in Te Waiora o Tane to possess Te Hauora o Tawhirimatea. Their eyelash of moon needs to grow into a full moon splendor.

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