Matariki ahunga nui.

Jodi Hawe (Taranaki) reflects on Puanga past, present and future.

Growing up and while everyone else was celebrating Matariki our dad would gently remind us, “Kāo, we come from Taranaki, we celebrate Puanga.”

For Puanga every year we would have extended huge whānau picnics, BBQs, or hāngī celebrations where hītori, kōrero and pakiwaitara of our loved ones past would be told, photos viewed and shared all the while tears flowed. After a while, tears would turn to laughter followed by whānau sharing their tūmanako, hiahia, and moemoeā for the future – some big goals, others small, some short- and others long-term.

Not until recent times have I come to appreciate and recognise why Puanga was so significant to my parents but after the passing of our mum I gained more clarity and understanding. This time of the year gave importance to reflecting on the past to retain the kōrero and add new ones. Grabbing hold of everything our tūpuna built through tūmanako, hiahia, and moemoeā and making it better for them and generations to come. Mixing the old with the new, creating and holding space and place for us all to succeed in this time and āpōpō.