Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe

Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe

Teena koe e te whaanau:

Much is contained in the Turangawaewae card.

Turangawaewae has different levels of understanding. Its translation is: The Place Where I Stand. This is a card about centering, about Belonging.

In many ways it is about how we define ourselves.

The meaning can be geographical, as in home place. The place of our birth may be the one place where we feel we belong. I was born in the Maniototo area of Central Otago, New Zealand. Whenever I go there, I feel a certain comfortable familiarity, a sense of belonging. The wide-open plains and vast bowl of the sky, the way the stars turn and swirl in the sky above me on a dark night, feels like home to me. To travel there is to return home. And it always will be home, although my life’s journey may require I live somewhere else.

 The feeling may relate to the place where I work, to an organisation or institution. A farmer may well work and live his entire life in one place, on one piece of land. He is that land and that land is him. He is home.

Turangawaewae may be found within a spiritual tradition or community of faith. A Catholic priest lives his adult life within the body of the church and its teachings. The Church is his turangawaewae, as is the church/building/parish where he serves. And, of course, the community of which he is a part.

 Turangawaewae may be found in family or within a tribe or culture. To say: I am a Cherokee or: I am French, carries layers of cultural belief, history, ritual and under-standings. And the fabric which interlinks all these aspects is the language of the tribe, for language both shapes the tribe and its members, and is shaped by it. It is an interdependent relationship.

 Of course one’s profession is also an aspect of Turangawaewae. It is so common, when meeting someone for the first time, to ask the question: what do you do? O, I work for Google or: I am a lawyer. Much contained is in those two simple answers.  You have defined yourself, named your tribe, and added layers of assumption and misunderstanding. You have also indicated social status. Imagine how different our relationships would be, how much more open if we were to replace that question with: please tell me who you are.

Turangawaewae may be found in a combination of all of these. It is an intricately-woven rope of many threads.

 Its centre, however, lies at the heart, in the heart space.

 And the card draws attention to this.

 The green background, with its checkerboard pattern, alludes to the environment and the tapestry into which each of us is intricately woven.

 Above this is the soul, here representing itself as a glowing gold oval toroid. The small red figure within the red space is surrounded by golden celestial wings. The golden path both emerges and yet recedes, an indication of the sacred contract between the Divine and the soul moving in the physical world. The journey is surrounded by a red ring, which points once again to the heart as being the centre of the journey.

Turangawaewae begins and exists within our hearts.

 And it asks us to consider the following questions:

 Who am I?

 Where do I belong?

 What does Belonging mean to me?

 What does Home mean to me?

 Have I found that place?

 Do I need to find that place?


Ngaa mihi ki a koe


Tony Bridge

Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe

Picture of Tony Bridge

Tony Bridge

Tony Bridge
I am tangata whenua-Maaori (Te Rarawa, Te Rapuwai, Waitaha), following the songline gifted to me by my tupuna.
I am a weaver of words and pictures, a photographer, digital artist, poet, published author and Fujifilm Global Ambassador.

2 Replies to “Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe”

  1. Tēnā koe Tony
    He uri awau nō Ngāti Porou ki Ruatōrea me Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa.
    Ko Hikurangi me Whakapunake ōku maunga rangatira,
    Ko Horouta me Takitimu ōku waka tapu,
    Ko Waiapu, ko Mātā, ko Wairoa Hōpūpū Hōnengenenge ōku awa kōpikopiko,
    ko Te Aowera me Aranui ōku tūrangawaewae,
    ko Te Poho o Te Aowera me Te Poho o Ngapera ōku whare tīpuna
    Ko Andria Vagana taku ingoa.
    I am writing as I had the pleasure amd privilege of viewing your kari
    ‘Te Korowai O Te Rongo-The Enfolding Cloak Of Peace’ at a wānanga over the weekend which we used as guidance for the duration and I felt a strong connection to them, as did the other wāhine. I would love to purchase a pack of these taonga but cannot find them anywhere- are you able to advise how I can  add these to my kete mātauranga? Im not sure if they are available anymore but im hoping my tīpuna and our atua Māori can guide me to them, starting with reaching out to you. Āku mihi maioha ki a koe.
    Nāku iti noa

    1. Kia ora e Andria:
      Ngaa mihi ki a koe mo tou koorero.
      As mentioned in our Messges, they are some distance away.
      I will keep you informed of their development.
      Ngaa mihi

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