Taranaki is my pou. When I look to my mountain I feel connected, I feel grounded, I feel strong. Taranaki is my tipuna, my identity. When I travel away and return, I see my maunga and I know that I’m home.
I visit my mountain often, when I need time to think, to reflect and to be re-energised. My two boys have started coming with me and it is exciting to see them connect as I have from before I can remember.
Beneath its shadow lies the rugged Taranaki coastline, the whenua where my tipuna lived. My father was born on our family farm next to my marae at Puniho Pā and my favourite memories are coming here as a boy with my cousins. This is my turangawaewae, like my mountain, it is the place that anchors and sustains me.
Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Matanehunehu te awa
Ko Tarawainuku te marae
Ko Puniho te papakāinga
When my wife was hapū we looked at different options for a place to raise our family. We wanted our children to know who they are and where they are connected. Puniho Pā was the obvious choice.
Following conversations with whānau, kaumātua and marae trustees we relocated two old buildings, and joined them together to make our home at the pā. We established a garden, built a deck, installed a coal range and solar panels to cook and heat our water. We are very much amateurs at living here but have benefitted from the learning that has happened over the last seven years.