The Tapestry of Understanding
Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was a beautiful young Māori princess. Her name was Motoitoi. Her father was the great cheif Rahuki, and Motoitoi was his shining jade prize.
Motoitoi’s great love was her land, the rolling green hills, the bay at Purakaunui, the crashing waves at Karitane. It was there that she felt that quiet and familiar magic pulsing through her veins, making her heart beat with empowerment. Papatūānuku kept her barefeet grounded and Hinetītama kept her enlightened and warm of heart. She spent many a happy year wandering and exploring the land, she knew it better than all.
One day, everything changed. Far off in the distance, a large and alien vessel grew close. She knew in her bones, this vessel brought with it a future she could not understand. Her people gathered on the shore, unsettlement and fear boiling beneath the surface of their skin. The vessel had landed, and men, with white skin and blue eyes, rowed ashore.
The Disney like crown upon her head simbolises how the story becomes embellished and romanticized in this part... It was said that a great battle on the sand occurred, and many white men were killed, their heads chopped clean off! It was also said that it was love at first sight between Motoitoi and the captain, who went by the name Richard Driver. So in order to save him from certain death, she threw her father’s cloak around him, staunchly claiming him as her own. Her father said if they both want to live, they must go live somewhere else. So off they went, had babies, and lived happily ever after.
However, when you take apart the above metaphors, and hold them up to history, you find this is just a fairytale, much easier to hear than the truth.
Eventually some form of peace was formed between the white men and the people of the land, and Motoitoi, the grand prize, was married off to a white man. Though she bore him two daughters, he did not care for her. She did her duty as a loving mother, in a new and crazy world. Constantly battling the turmoil in her heart.
As time progressed, unhappiness gnawed at her like the waves of Hinemoana. The comforts of the tangata whenua were calling for her to walk. Barefoot, she wandered her land under the light of te Mārama, her body weakening and becoming colder with each step. Finally the flashing dawn of Hinetītama shone warmth upon her. Motoitoi lay in the grass, feeling warm and free, she let go. Papatūānuku began to tremble and Motoitois body, still young and beautiful despite her battle, sank into the ground, down down down she went. Finally, she reached the bottom, and was embraced by the welcoming arms of Hine-nui-te-po, who knew all too well the challenges of life and love, and letting go.
Motoitoi lives in the land, and welcomes her descendants, she is proud.
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