THIS COULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT NGATI KAHU AND ALL OF TAITOKERAU: Please read the whole article below by Tina Ngata (Ngati Porou) and consider the pleas of haukainga to our ra waho whanau and everyone else to not visit our rohe this summer.
"Earlier this week, our iwi sent out a pānui to whānau, acknowledging in a beautiful, heartfelt way the healing everyone finds when they reconnect with home every summer holiday.
The letter acknowledged that, for our whānau who live away from home, it’s not just a holiday but a form of rongoā (medicine). It’s a time-honoured tradition to return home, to connect with your ancestral soils, to cleanse in your waters, to let the winds of your home renew you, and to hold your loved ones close.
Returning home provides hauora wairua (spiritual health), hauora hinengaro (emotional health) and hauora whānau (communal health) that complements the hauora tinana (physical health).
We acknowledged the rongoā of a home visit is particularly relevant after the year we’ve had, especially for those in Tāmaki Makaurau. We also asked them to please carefully consider the limitations on our health system at home, that we are facing imminent mass loss, and to please consider alternative plans to help ease their mamae.
"It wasn’t an easy ask, knowing what a home visit means for so many of our relations. But, already, many have written back, sending love and understanding. And even though it’s difficult, they’re considering other ways of finding that healing, without placing the home communities at risk.
"Reading those responses of grace and understanding made me think: If this is the sacrifice being made by those with the MOST legitimate reasons to visit Tairāwhiti this summer, tourists really have no excuse.
"I don’t think any of those people casually travelling here think that they individually are a risk. They don’t seem to realise that, from where we’re standing, anxiously watching them drive past us, they’re just one of hundreds of others we’ve seen that week — and that, for us, that risk is cumulative. For us, that risk is severe.
"Or maybe they do understand, and they don’t care, because, for them, we’re just somewhere to use for an escape.
"I hope not. I hope you care. I hope you care enough to wait just one more summer."