When you walk upon Aotearoa for the first time, the Land of the Long White Cloud, you will have crossed many horizons. And you will soon realise the strong affinity that exists between the people and the land here. For some, the environment is like a religion – a respect and appreciation of everything that has a life force.
Guardianship and conservation are what Māori recognise as kaitiakitanga – because serving the land directly serves our people. It was here before us and will be here long after we are gone. In this view, it is our duty to look after it for the next generation.
It is as simple as this. Nothing is taken or removed from the land before spiritual guidance and protection is sought. This goes for all the different iwi or tribes in Aotearoa – protecting the environment preserves the natural world and at the same time upholds and strengthens Māori traditions and culture.
Rich in spirit, rich in resources. Rotorua has been blessed with natural resources – its geothermal waters, an abundance of lakes, ancient forests, mighty rivers and majestic mountains. These treasured resources have sustained the people of this land from the days of old until today.
From the roofs on their heads and the clothes they wore, bathing, washing, and cooking food, the natural world has been a source of life and is utilised in the most respectful way.
So as you walk through our valleys, climb our mountains and wade in our waters, remember that we hold these gifts of the earth as sacred taonga, our treasures. And remember to practice kaitiakitanga wherever you go, not just here on our shores but everywhere that you walk.
“Tawa-ngāhere-pā is the name of this forest here in our village.
The Tawa trees are native New Zealand hardwood trees, a broadleaf tree that becomes a good umbrella for shelter. Although some people say it’s not good to carve, there’s a boy here who likes to carve with it because it’s soft.”