Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei whea te kōmako e kō?
If the heart of harakeke was removed,
Where would the bellbird sing?
Yesterday as I lay on the sea’s surface, feeling the rolling waves sweeping their healing waters over my body, I gazed at the horizon and rested my eyes. The cicadas’ cry echoed amongst the ngahere, their song carried on the wind out towards the Manukau heads. Gracefully tiptoeing across the sky, the birds danced. And as if Ranginui could feel my pain, the heavens opened and flooded me with their tear drops. I whispered out to sea, a private farewell to a woman who’s imprint will live within me, for the rest of my life. Moe mai taku mareikura, moe mai.
On February 20, 2016 my beautiful nan took her last breath. It was sudden, it was unexpected, it ripped at my heart and burned marks into my soul. Dawn Matata was most well-known as Ginny, Ginger (because of her Red hair as a young woman) or Dawnee. Or, to me, as my Ginger Ninja. We had our own precious bond and it was cloaked in love and adoration. Yes, we fought, argued, got hoha with each other, but my goodness did we love, laugh, joke, smile, celebrate, embrace, talk, sing, dance, create, and live life together.I was my nan’s first mokopuna, and in traditional Māori fashion, she and my papa had a huge hand in raising me. They say home is where the heart is, for me, home was always where my nan was. She had this amazing ability to make you feel so loved, so full of worth, so special. I know she loved me, and she loved so unconditionally, because I could feel it radiate from her in every encounter. Even when she was mad at me, which admittedly wasn’t often, she never left you feeling unloved. When I was a child, I was joined to her hip…she would tie bows in my hair, dress me in trendy suspenders (suiting her own quirky style well) and would take me everywhere. She taught me waiata, she introduced me to Cook Islands hula and, would make all my costumes. She taught me poi, would sing our whanau kapa haka songs with me, draw with me, cook with me. She was an amazing role model.
As I grew older, I admired and appreciated her so much more. Her art and weaving (she was an amazing weaver and helped make the tukutuku panels in our marae) were spectacular. Her way with children was inspiring. She was always so willing to pass on her knowledge.
Hearing the stories shared about her over this past week only reminds me how much she had impacted the world. And via Facebook, it was indeed the world.