timoti and tamariki Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive whakatauki

I’ve been musing on this whakatauki lately;

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou
ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive

and how it applies to pakihi.  

Firstly, I was considering how these large corporations are selfishly doing irreparable damage to Papatūānuku and her people, all for the sake of the mighty dollar. Meanwhile Mā and Pā whānau are being told to reduce their waste and have a car free day. Of course, all effort is a great thing, however until big business comes to the table our efforts feel like a drop in the plastic ocean.

Then I was thinking, well how did we get this way?  Consumption. And who controls consumption? We do.  We the consumer hold the power.  Where we spend our putea matters.  If the masses could unite and spend all their putea with small, whānau friendly, papatūānuku friendly pakihi we would hit big business where it hurts – in their all mighty wallets.  

And that led me on to thinking about our pakihi, Taonga by Timoti, and how we couldn’t thrive in our mahi without your support.  We have a symbiotic relationship, you and us (how’s that for grammar?!).  We create taonga for when you need that extra special gift for your daughters graduation, your husbands 40th birthday, your grieving kare, or to keep a nephew connected to the whenua as he heads off on his OE. Taonga made with aroha and intention. Every single one unique and ātaahua.

In return, your putea literally puts kai on our table and a roof over our heads.  Because of your support we have been able to get our potiki riding lessons that have been a massive help on her journey of mastering her anxiety.  We fixed our sons motorbike so he can enjoy the thing he loves the most. And our eldest is having art lessons that are helping her process those crazy teenage hormonal years. We also intentionally support other small businesses; the greengrocer, butcher, fromagerie, market vendors and road side stalls. Spending our putea with other whānau businesses wherever we can. On top of all that, your putea also allows us to purchase all the things we need to carve 6000 taonga for our care experienced tamariki!  Woohoo!

Truly, by supporting one another we are filling one another’s basket, helping one another grow and thrive. In turn, that ripples out to the tangata around us.  You with your gifts of pounamu and all the love, respect, honour and awhi they represent.  Us with our gifting of taonga to care experienced tamariki, as well as supporting other small businesses with our putea. It’s a beautiful thing for sure. 

While we are having a korero about symbiotic relationships, Tim and I wanted to share a couple of stories about awhi we have received lately that have been a huge help to us as we negotiate the challenges of running our own pakihi.

Meet Hawea Tomoana.  Hawea’s wife showed him our Tū Māia article on Facebook and he thought,  “wow, what an awesome whakaaro!” So he set about doing what he could to carve some Ira taonga for us to gift to care experienced tamariki through Tū Māia.  We have received 30 taonga from Hawea already, a huge help to the kaupapa, and he has more in the works.  Nga mihi mahana ki a koe Hawea. 

Hawea began working with pounamu after he retired from 40 years working in education and it is is now one of his greatest passions. This is what he had to share about pounamu carving and why he felt drawn to support theTū Māia kaupapa;

   “I had a couple of lessons with carvers Dave Goodin, Murihiku and Aaron Greaves, a local Hastings carver several years ago and since then I’ve been   hooked.”

I have never sold any of my work, and I don’t intend to, but I get great pleasure from making taonga that give so much pleasure to those who have received them – my whanau and friends.                   Hawea-plaiting-cord

I have a very modest setup in my shed at home.       

Earlier this year my daughter, a teacher, had been working with a young boy and she and his other support people were sad  that he was being sent away to the South Island into care. She asked if I could make him a pounamu for comfort and to remind him of the love and support he has back here whenever he feels down and lonely. From reports that came back, he really treasures it, refuses to take it off as it is a constant reminder that he has a team of adult supporters to come back to.

 I also believe that a pounamu worn close to the heart can be quite a warm and comforting thing.

Last year I was on the paepae to welcome a new staff member to the Voyce Whakarongo Mai Napier office, filling in for Hunia Mackay, Voyce’s Maori cultural advisor from Tamaki Makaurau. At that pohiri I met an amazing bunch of workers passionate about their roles, helping young children in care to feel happy, loved and valued.  So that’s why I’d like to support this mahi.”

How awesome is that?  Hawea, like Tim, felt the call of the pounamu in a way he couldn’t resist.  And through his mahi pounamu he has been able to see the tangible effect pounamu has on those who wear it, helping them to feel awhi, herenga and aroha (support, connection and love). That is exactly why we do this mahi and this Tū Māia kaupapa.   

Big ups also to carver Aaron Greaves who gifted Hawea some pounamu slices to carve Tū Māia taonga from.  Pounamu is not cheap, so it is massive when carvers awhi each other in this way.  Again, we see the benefits of helping one another thrive!

The second major koha we have been blessed with lately is from Number One Electrical Solutions. We met Tahi when he was looking for taonga.  We were able to help him out during challenging times and became firm friends.  When Tahi was here he noticed the shonky electrical system Tim had rigged up to his workshop (I won’t go into details, it’s too shocking! ba da boom 😉).  When we explained that we just couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars needed to install the line correctly, Tahi offered to do it all as his koha to the Tū Māia kaupapa!  Needless to say, we were dumbfounded by his generosity and excited to take him up on his offer.

A couple of weeks ago Tahi arrived at our whare with 3 men in tow and the work began. It was 3 good days of mahi and various electrical cables, boxes, cords, lighting and even a sound system installed!  The difference this makes to our mahi is huge.  Firstly, it’s a lot safer!  Secondly, Tim can now run the bigger machinery he’s been wanting to use, work later with decent lighting, set up further carving stations for our carving courses and do it all to great tunes! In turn, I can now work from my office, giving me silence and space to get the creative juices flowing (it’s not easy getting mahi done with 3 kids whirling around me in the whare). Here’s a little insta clip of Tim speaking about it what the electrical koha means to us.

A massive mihi to Tahi and the boys at Number One Electrical Solutions. If you are in Nelson/Tasman or Waihi, Katikati, Paeroa and need some electrical work done, give them a call.  They work fast, efficiently and do a damn fine job. timoti and number one electrical solutions

So, back to our whakatauki. Tim and I really believe that if we all work together, putting tangata and Papatūānuku before putea and combining our skills, talents and resources, we can build thriving whānau, community and country.  It’s in our mission statement, (People before profit, Papatūānuku before profit, Integrity before profit ). We live it out in our daily lives.  We are thankful to you for your contribution to our bread basket and grateful that we can contribute to yours. 

As always, we love to hear your ideas on all the thoughts put forward to you.  Discussion is key! 

And remember;

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive

Kia pai tō

Morganne rāua ko Timoti

Kāhu hawk pounamu pendant

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