My Hui Experience. Tamsin Leigh
“May the road rise with you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
Until we meet again, may life hold you
in the hollow of her hand.”
Something very special and unusual happened in Riverton this autumn. When I cast my mind back to the hui, it’s as if I am remembering a dream full of intense, sensory details; the cold, clear sunshine of Aparima; the taste of stange forest-fruits, fallen at our feet; the radiant warmth of familiar and unfamiliar faces getting to know one-another; the sparking of flame from remnant embers, first thing in the morning.
What a profound, connecting experience it was! What an honour to be held in nest-upon-nest of blessings - by mana whenua, by the Guyton whānau, and by Papatūānuku herself, glowing with appreciation. E ngā hau kainga, ngā ringa tōhaunui, me ngā kaitāuo kua whakarite i te hui, kei te mihi kei te mihi aroha ki a koutou.
Did I mention the food? Sam and Louie: holy heck! Kohlrabi steaks, chocolate cake, local rīwai and heritage-apple pie, coconut baked-fish stacks covered in flowers... (No pressure for next year, e Taranaki contingent!)
Permaculture is where I go for a hope-injection – and this year’s hui provided an exceptional dose. I’ve no doubt Robyn is going to save the world, starting with Southland! Soon our motu will be speckled with Longwood Loops, and there will be wildlife corridors from the mountains to the sea. Permies will speak farmer will speak Te Reo Māori. Strength in diversity: Mā tōu rourou, mā tōku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. (With your basket and my basket, the people will live).
We were a ragtag gathering of guardians come to cross-pollinate and sow hope and love into an unknown, emerging future. We were working at the edge of our awareness; that generative zone between diverse life experiences and contexts. Everyone contributed, and everyone received.
We were a hui of humans taking responsibility for the safekeeping of many sacred things – of timeless tikanga, like how to look after each other and the land and seas, how to tell stories and when to sing songs, how to be healthy and regenerate the generations.. This is our job while the majority of humanity catches up. More than once I looked around the room and said to myself “thank god you all exist!”
We’re doing okay, whānau. Keep it up.