Our story begins Matariki 2008.
A cold crisp night on Te Awhina Marae, Motueka.
Women gathered to share stories, friendship, kai – June 8th.
My baby, my third son, was born on the one night he wasn’t supposed to come.
A pregnancy full of sadness and stress, the end of a marriage, the beginning of an unknown and uncertain future.
My eldest son, 19 years old, angry, confused – accepting, supporting – “Ok, so I’m going to have another brother but please, just one thing – don’t have him on my birthday.” – June 8th. My midwife – “Ok, so not on my birthday – birthday dinner, a glass of wine.” – June 8th. My sister at a whānau birthday party – June 8th. A rugby team with few wins this season, unexpected trophy winners – celebrations – June 8th.
A sudden “clunk” as baby suddenly engaged, time to leave the marae, eye signals to say I’m ok, slipping out quietly. Calm in the dark – he’s not coming tonight.
Stopping off to clean the birthday dishes and let my new 19 year old know I’m thinking of him.
Out in the night to my home alone and all at once, labour begins…
A cell phone with no credit, how to IOU? Fumbling with small phone buttons and filling the birthing pool.
My sister picks up, my midwife too, my baby’s father.
A beautiful pool birth – a perfect baby boy – the whenua (placenta).
My midwife full of reverence for his first formed organ, encouraging me to look at the placenta, to understand what she is looking for, the health of the whenua, my own health – the health of my baby.
And so, of course we want to take it, to plant it, to anchor this new life to the whenua (land), but how? An ice cream container and into the freezer? Surely no – but actually, yes.
And that is when the idea of Waka Whenua was conceived and so began our whānau dream, our aspiration to create tangible expressions of love and connection. A modern context for an ancient tikanga/customary practice.
A way to actualise the stunning wisdom behind the whakatauki:-
“HE TANGATA TAU ANA KI TE WHENUA, TU ANA KI TE AO!”
“THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SETTLED IN THE LAND, STAND STRONG IN THE WORLD!”
Waka Whenua Limited registered November 6th 2014.