*Illustration by the ever talented wahine toa @maori_mermaid
I am slow to the tide of Te Reo, having dipped my toes in the water at school and again with basic holdings when my children were born.
Yet it wasn’t until I sat within the wairua of the words that I fully understood why I needed to know / be more.
I am being gentle with myself, cradling and soothing the shame that arises from not having the ability to converse in te reo.
I hope this blog gives you a little insight and provides gentle fuel for you to ignite a similar flame within you.
Learning Te reo is a coming home
It is an understanding of our how, of our who and of our where.
It shows us touch points of how we change.
Reo radiates the skill and ability of our tupuna to articulate the world around them and their involvement within it.
It shows us why we feel and see things the way we do.
It places importance on the aspects of life that is created to guard, guide and protect our whenua and our resources through the specific way that we articulate and do things.
It gives us the keys to our tomorrow using the tools forged from our past.
It enables us to be the guardians we are destined to be.
Our reo allows the breathe of our tupuna to be felt once more.
It is the way we can place our ears to their chests and hear the rhyme of their nga manawa (hearts).
It enables us to be wrapped in the warmth of their skin and feel the rise and fall of their chest and arms.
It is the way in which all our generations are held by the ones before.
When our language is alive, so are they.
When our voices unite so do they
When we speak we call them forward
When we stand they stand beside us
We understand that the partitions of air circulated their Tinana as well.
Our breath is also the breath of Tane, of Rangi, of Papa, of Tawhirimatea.
And the noises we make from hā (breathe)and throat, allows their lives and ways to combine with ours.
It is through our words that we grasp and ingest the concepts, that all is connected.
That we sit in our roles and provide for one another and our atua.
It is our reo that enables connection, correspondence and an understanding of constant.
Through reo, we tell our stories in ways other languages cannot.
The lessons within each kupu are many.
The kupu within our lessons are our anchors but also our paddles.
They are what we use to project us forward and give us stability and still when needed.
They are our movement yet our grounding.
Our flight yet our still.
They show us the ease that complexity can give, because they make things that are complex, simple and stable.
They enable us to understand and to make sense of our unique way of seeing and being in te ao.
We wish for all to learn and we wish for all to hold the feeling and understanding that our language is beyond the coupling of letters and meanings.
It is an expression, an art form that creates the most delicate of tools within each kupu.
Purpose and care are considered and honoured.
The naming of places items and people was/is deep and powerful.
As we understand, we are giving hā (breathe) to that entity.
That each time it is spoken it is conjuring the thoughts and entities that created it.
So next time you sit with a kupu before you, remember and recall the power and presence it has been made with, and enjoy the elevation that Te Reo was created to enable.