In my wharenui (meeting house) is a carved figure. It represents Hinemoa. She is a source of pride and mana for her iwi. Her descendants deserve to be proud. She is the embodiment of mana wahine, ihi, wehi and wana (woman power, energy and passion).
We were watching from a distance. A lone bushman was bent over his chainsaw. He tugged on the starter cord. The saw coughed. Another pull and it started, a throaty growl announcing that it was ready for business. Oddly, the noise seemed small. I felt the same. When you stand alongside the impenetrable wall of a pine forestry block, small is the right feeling.
Māori culture sits on values buried deep in the beliefs and attitudes passed down through the generations, the touchstone of identity and belonging, a well-spring of pride and inspiration. It has survived because of how it makes us feel. It is an emotional connection to what is important and what we stand for.