Discovering your Taonga

Fwoooooar, so buzzy cuz. I awaken invigorated, sinking wai and basking showers at the Castle. Our room is a top floor hexagon shape, the bros up as I hear Manu Xi cranks to life and the colours of the rainbow fill the already sunlit room. Manu Xi was the evolution of Xi Bot, Erohix’s trusty mech that informs and translates the tikanga of new worlds. Vin’s already amping to soar across mountains flying that lil totem rider like a straight killer OG, but first we need to turn it on. The process is out of it with the inspire one: firstly all six batteries have to be charged the night before and they span twenty minutes airtime each at a hundy percent for the keenest of pilots. The master and slave controllers have to be unplugged before a double tap hold of the buttons unleash each devices true mana, then the trusty war dance as you twirl in a circle doing the mamba to align the earths x-y-z satellites with your very coordinates twice over. We both crackup ready as to take on tamanui and put our skills to the test.

“Let’s roll g.”

Have you ever lived knowing that what you’re doing is genuinely what you were meant to be here for, but you couldn’t possibly know until you’re in it, doing it? You’re the mastermind of your waka. Embrace your intuition and set goals that you’ll most likely loosely follow until you know that they’re actually what you’re most hungry for. Make those key relationships cuz, tame those taniwhas and run towards responsibility making your true potential look like a lil bish compared to all the kiwi-preneuers that definitely know we have that niche-taonga, but are more keen to be that behind the scenes kind of great guy with the world really having no knowledge of the dope things you do, and just settle for the way you present yourself on the daily. I think everyone admired the way Itachi lived his life, but won't ruin it incase you haven't gotten that far in Shippedun yet. We are in a thriving environment with room to breathe, where culture, skills and education are always like, "bro, you need to complete this or else you'll probably die from lowered morale, he iti feeds and a whack mana hit if you're feeling tino te vulns."

Te Ao Māori has borrowed a fingernail from Mahuika and is burning inside me everyday, I wake up a Kaihangarau, a kaiwhakanikoniko, a kaitohu haututū, a Māui on the quest to achieve greatness for my whānau ultimately by improving the lives of our wider whānui across Aotearoa.

I was raised all over Te Waipounamu with my mother who was a southern Māori gypsy and my brother who as a rugged fun loving afro dude from the Chatham Islands. Our bluff whakapapa is actual immense, going back to Awarua, Hokonui, Ōtākou, Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki, Kaikoura, Tuahuriri, Tamatea, far I don’t even know. The Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu bloodlines run so deep man it buzzes me out and I’m only just getting to know about this stuff. Imagine all the hearty as Māori that have like hundreds of iwi, but nowadays we only identify with one or the other. It really comes down to relevance to where you are and when you're put into that position to bust out a spontaneous pepeha so you can create that whakawhanungatanga opportunity and relate to the rohe you're in.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking as Winnix and I rolling in our SUV status to get a kawhe in Tahunanui, Nelson. Boss day, Tama was keen as on those rays. The coffee man on the corner gave us the in word that Divelles was the place to go if we wanted a good vibe cafe atmosphere. We thought he was lying until we stumbled across a hidden gem in a humble street having a humble jam. Who should be kicking it back in the coolest spot, but our brother Tihou Messenger. He’s a trooper change agent from Te Tai Poutini who hearty spreads those good vibes and inspires you with that 2020 vision.

We had heard rumours of a tohunga on the outskirts of this valley and decided on a whim to travel out to this strange arena. Upon arriving to a tightly knit community of young tamariki and caravan trailers a bearded Māori tohunga emerged from a small cottage. We hongi'd him and shared a waipero beverage and stories of mythical times. My wah had had her pounamu string on the cusp of breaking so I had initially sent it back to him to repair, so we had a legit reason to just roll up unannounced. But instead of doing a mad wero, he showed the meanest of manaaki and compassion towards our ahua and we all shared insights of our journeys.

He told us that is was no coincidence that her inanga taonga had found its way back to him as that was forged from the first rock he had ever found. It came to him in a recurring nightmare of a taniwha dragging him into the river. When he went down to where his dream had showed him he found his first boulder. And so began his quest for pounamu and the ancient art of taonga. It is noteworthy to mention that his story is way more profound and of higher value kanohi ki te kanohi. 

We were introduced to an abundance of pounamu, even some pieces that were of former tokis and had taken the lives of countless tupuna during Māori warfare. Vin was low key enticed by the dark hadou for training purposes, but the mauri was too buzzy to just be rocking a taonga of death, heavy no matter the size.

Our pōwhiri was cancelled at Wairewa Marae in Picton, so we decided to swim out to Arrow Rock seen around the bend of Tahunanui. All the rush hour traffic could see my keen as nature as I knew there were no boats around to rescue and Vin remained meditating on the beach. I fully underestimated the distance as usual, such a paos as mish. But on this day, I turned 24, what an adult guy. I kept thinking, if you give up now, you may as well just give up all your dreams and goals and head back to Bluff. Plus low key my biggest fear was swimming in the open ocean, I often practised my shark eye-gouging technique in my mind, but yeah long story short I almost drowned getting there. 

Then there was the climb to the top, I assume most of you reading this would have given up by now and have started swimming back unless you're hearty. I said the same thing to myself about not giving up, and climbed up careful not to cut myself on the sharp edges thereby making those sharks keen on the way back. Then I had to one-outs these seagulls who were buzzing out like why was I even in their whare. They kept my spot warm and I meditated sun gazing thinking about how my life had lead to this spot right here. It was humbling. I don't know how I managed to swim back, but I know one thing, I had earned the tohu of becoming a 24 year old on that day and realised that the real taonga was me being here on this earth. 

Later that night we rolled back to the tohunga and shared our mahi and stories with the whānau while taming a small pet moth his tamariki had saved. We were called outside only to discover a workshop bench lit up with tiki and ngā taputapu. With a smile and good mauri he turned to us and pointed to the taonga lying on the bench.

"Anei e hoa ma, select your destiny."

He Inanga tēnei

He Inanga tēnei

He Raukaraka tēnei

He Raukaraka tēnei

There is a whakaaro based around how a pounamu helps define the individuals ahua, such as a manaia, hook, swirl, koru, however as creatives we chose the style of the tino tapawhā, only because it’s whakaaro is based around being “undefined” and a “blank canvas.”

Fitting for the bros of one hundred studios and a thousand feeds, who are often always swimming up a creek of new creative kaupapa and who spend their time summoning the energies of immortal maui to smash out some epic mahi. 

Kia ora.


- Mads