Aloha for Aotearoa

New Zealand is on my mind.  Travelin' Tootsies got me thinking about some of my epic voyages (doesn't epic voyage sound cooler than travel experience) - at the top of my list is New Zealand (NZ) - it was my first solo trip.  A few hours after posting Travelin' Tootsies NZ was majorly on my mind when I heard about the large earthquake that hit Christchurch.  I spent the next several hours waiting for word to make sure my cousins were safe (and they are). While in NZ I really felt a kinship with the Kiwi's.  The people of Hawaii and the Maori's of Aotearoa (or New Zealand in Maori) have always had strong ties.  My most formative years were spent sailing aboard the Makali'i - a polynesian voyaging canoe.  The Maori's share a maritime history as rich and unique as Hawaii's.  On one of my first day's in NZ I was in a gallery when I ran across a series of quotes from the Captain of the Makali'i (Uncle Clay) and Papa Mau (who helped Hawaiians resurrect the art of wayfinding) - both men truly changed my life.

"The canoe represents family.  It's about sharing - history, values, culture, kuleana [responsibilities], kokua [help]."

"Sailing a long distance the canoe becomes our island.  We have to learn to live and work in harmony.  These are values that are translated to land.  On land, think 'canoe'."  -Uncle Clay

"To navigate you must be brave and to be brave you must remember.  If I am brave, it is because I remember the words of my fathers...When I voyage I forget everything else and think only of what my Grandfather, Father, and Master taught me.  Then I am not afraid."  -Papa Mau

One of the beautiful things about the canoe is that it really does translate to land - when I'm feeling lost and need to remind myself where I'm from I think about the canoe.  Sometimes at work I'll hum or sing some of my favorite 'canoe songs' - it wakes me up and helps me realize that my love for the ocean matters.  It helps remind me that we are connected by the people who have come before us - and that our actions and attitude matter.  One of my favorite songs is Ia Wa'a Nui and when I was in NZ I heard a maori woman sing this song.  Hearing her sing a song I knew so well - a song that reminded me of Makali'i - a song that speaks of ensuring you've built a strong foundation - made me realize how interconnected we all are.

When I finally got word that my cousins were alright I tried to go to bed and I just laid there wide awake...I was so upset with myself!  It bummed me out that it took an earthquake to make me reach out to my girl cousins but what really bummed me out is that while waiting for word I literally thought through and pre-planned my response for every worse case scenario.  For example, I had decided that if they had been hurt or killed I would finish class this week and then fly directly to NZ - when my business was complete there I'd fly back to Hawaii and then go back to work for my normal rotation...I'd have to finish classes next vacation.  So when I was lying in bed not only did I feel bad that I'm not a good keeper-in-toucher I felt bad that I had planned for the worst instead of hoping for the best.

Uncle Clay and Papa Mau gave me a strong foundation.  They taught me to remember my ancestors, how to gain strength from the people around and me and most importantly how to give strength to the people around me.

Yesterday I decided to change my ways.  I made a conscious effort to pause several times throughout the day and hope for the best.  I sent as much Aloha (love) to Aotearoa as I possibly could in a few moments time.  I'm so thankful that my loved ones are safe.  I feel I owe a few moments of time for those who's loved ones aren't.

While I pausing I've been humming this chant - to remind myself that it is important and to help give strength to those who need it:

One: I ku mau mau! (Stand together!)

All: I kuwa! (Shout!)

One: I ku mau mau! (Stand together!)

I kü huluhulu! (Haul with all your might!)

I ka lana wao! (Under the mighty trees!)

All: I kuwa! (Shout!)

One: I kulana wao! (Under the forest trees!)

All: I kuwua! (Shout!)

I kuwa! huki! (Shout! Pull!)

I kuwa! ko! (Shout! Push!)

I kuwa a mau (Shout! Snagged,)

A mau ka éulu (Snagged is the tree top!)

E Huki, e! (Pull!)

Kulia! (Strive!)