Whenua Ūkaipō: Returning to the Mother

Mother and baby are one of the most powerful relationships that can exist between two humans. The bonds, attachment and connections that come into play are evolutionary forces that nature has put in place to ensure the survival of humanity. Without the love and affection of (usually the responsibility of) the mother, the baby will die. So there are, emotional, spiritual and physical forces at play that bring mother and baby together. Very powerful stuff. When things are going right, the mother is in tune to every sensitivity the baby gives out.  However, when those bonds and connections are disrupted, especially across whole cultures and mass populations, the effects are devastating, because a powerful universal force has been disordered.

Across many cultures and peoples, land is often referred to as the mother, for example, Gaia, the Motherland, Papatuanuku, Mother Earth. There seems to be a universal acknowledgement of the deep and intimate relationship between humanity and the land. Māori knew of the power of this connection and we had many concepts, language and practices that re-enforced this. Two of these concepts I will discuss here are Whenua ki te Whenua and Whenua Ūkaipō.

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