Your impact on whakapapa seven generations after you
Sometimes you have a conversation with someone that leaves a lasting impression. One of these conversations that I will remember for the rest of my life, and has forever altered the rudder of how I stare the boat of my life. IU was with Tere at a conference talking about traditional Maori methods of strength and condition and pre-colonial diets. One of the presenters Paora Hurihanganui, spoke about looking past “what you do” and start thinking about “why you do it” from a tikanga Maori perspective. We were talking about exercise and eating well, but his challenge was “Why?”.
So, as you do at these events, you throw up the obvious answers “Lose weight”, “look good naked”, “Performance as an athlete”.
He kept asking us “Why?”.
Then we would go down another level and try to dig deeper with answers like “To be healthy”, “For happiness”, “live longer for my kids”.
But still he would ask “Why?”
So out of frustration we just shrugged and told us a story that made us all nod our heads and start to reflect on everything we do.
As Maori, we are descendants of tupuna that migrated from Hawaiki on the Great Waka. This journey wasn’t easy and when our tupuna arrived, only the strongest made the journey.
But they survived.
Then they were literally on an alien planet where the clothes they had were not adequate, the kai they brought with them didn’t grow the same.
But they survived.
When Europeans started to arrive, the introduction of Infleunza reduced the population of Maori by up to 30%.
And still they survived.
Given all of these barriers, your tupuna survived and their whakapapa is alive within you. With that context, you have a responsibility to the generations that came before you to ensure the survival and progress of the next seven generations after you.
My why, is to ensure that the impacts I leave on this planet benefits my whakapapa for at least seven generations after me.