• Chantel Matthews

Morning Pages - Waerea

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

12 December 2020

Artspace Aotearoa Waerea

On arriving at AA as the secretary of the board ready to take the minutes for the Hui-a-Tau AGM, Te Manu Taiko, Tūī Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield asked if Kaihautū Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Layne Waerea and Geneva Alexander-Marsters and myself would participate in the Waerea (blessing) which involved using wai from owairaka spring and kawa kawa leaves. As wahine we are the bearers of peace and as pou our role was to stand in each corner and sprinkle the wai with the Kawakawa around the building while she recited a composed karakia specific to the occasion. Naturally and intuitively we all moved in sync as the audience stood by and we found ourselves on either side behind Tui. At the end we placed the cups that held the wai and kawa kawa in front of her with taonga which was a taiaha so she could later cleanse the objects.

One thing I was particularly interested in was using the cups from the kitchen to cleanse a space with sacred wai and kawa kawa as she later explained that kawa kawa along with the spring water draws out negative energy and replaces with positive which is elevated by the incantations.

When I consider Tikanga, combining cups with the ritual of cleansing spaces but what is so different about tea being a ritual within healing retreats and kawa kawa being an ingrediant for tea.

After the Waerea the floor was opened up for anyone to hui about anything that they wanted to get off their chest, no one responded.

The following events that took place at the AGM were unexpected and the complete opposite to what we had experienced earlier. An address was presented that I can only describe as disappointing and sad as I witnessed two pakeha women stand up and use māori language against māori in a māori led kaupapa. They referenced scholars, academics and tupuna of Māori and Pacific descent in the wrong context and without due diligence. No citations or footnotes to attempt to put context to why they would use such referencing.

It was a really good example of old ways not wanting to let go and make space for a minority voice.

Image from Artspace Aotearoa Website