Yesterday we spent the day at Te Puia in Rotorua. This amazing site is completely funded by tourism and a dedication to authentically educating the world about Maori culture and New Zealand’s native flora, fauna and geothermal wonders including the world famous Pohutu geyser.
While the geothermal activity was spectacular, I was more intrigued by the education I received about the Maori culture and its people. We were taken on a tour around the park by a very proud, passionate and well-spoken Maori woman named Milly. She won my heart immediately just by the depth of knowledge she conveyed and the connection she had to her culture. One point Milly made struck me to be so interesting – traditionally, when a Maori person introduces themselves to a new tribe or person, they first explain the family they are from, their ancestors, their land, their rivers, their trees and lastly, themselves. Even from as young as what Eli is now, the children are brought up to understand their connection and place within their community and the natural world. The Maori’s believe that the Earth to which we have come from not only feeds us but can heal us too – as Milly said, “nothing beats nature, hey?” The Maori people lived harmoniously with their environment for a very long time using the steam from the geyser’s to cook their food and the mud pools to heal the body and relieve pain. It seems to me, that many of the ancient practices and sciences of healing, Ayurveda included, not only saw the world around them as a source of food or medicine but as a part of themselves. Therefore, there was a sense of needing to nurture, protect and hold our natural world as sacred.
I left Te Puia feeling inspired by my time I had spent amongst the Maori culture and people. I also left feeling that we as a very young modern culture need to go back to practising some of the fundamentals of harmonious existence upheld globally by many of our ancestors - the Ayurvedics of India, the Maori's of New Zealand, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia and American Indians. Just to name a few. Currently, the Earth that we live on is suffering massive environmental blows to sustain our lifestyle, and in so many ways, we have never been so disconnected from it. We need to see ourselves as an intrinsic part of our world, not a separate entity controlling it, and start treating it with the respect it deserves. The Earth is our life force and our strength but will quickly put us back in our place if we continue to disturb, destroy and injure it.
As Deepak Chopra says, “we are a part of the universe and the universe is intelligent. The human body is part of the cosmic body and the human mind is part of the cosmic mind...The more we are in touch with this deeper reality, from where everything comes, the more we will be able to heal ourselves and at the same time, heal our planet.”
With love and light,