The day we commemorate the birth of our blended nation, New Zealand.
On February 6, 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. For more information.
The words blended nation set off some insights for me as I thought about these times of blended families. When two divorcees come together to create a family each bringing with them their children. The insights were around the dysfunction that can happen under these circumstances. And the birth of the nation was not much different. There was dysfunction. Two cultures coming together and the expectations that each felt had been inherent in the Treaty had different connotations when considered in the language each was written in. There was the Treaty written in English as well as the Treaty written in Maori, the language of the people native to New Zealand before the English arrived.
What the Maori interpreted from their translation, was different to what the English interpreted in theirs. Much like the difference in values that might be expected in the joining of two families considering each was originally bought up in a different environment. And it has taken time to get past what has been at times an ugly relationship. War, disease and repression have been manifestations of the misinterpretation of the original spirit of the document. We are still working to iron these out and make reparation for the ignorance and misunderstanding that brought injustice and heartache to the Maori.
Today I came across this beautiful sculpture prepared by a Maori carver, Riki Manuel, to honour the opening of the new Christchurch Women’s Hospital a few years ago.
This aspect shows the child open to the world while the other side depicts a beautiful shyness with the child peeking out from behind the mothers legs.
That shyness, that innocence is a wonderful way of approaching anything new, without staunchness, without an egoic superiority, but with a coy interest in seeing how another is present in their reality and hoping that will be reciprocated as that other views us in a similar fashion. Through that coy interest we hopefully gain an appreciation for the other without having to change them to fit our world view.
It is a magnificent day here and I’m experiencing the sense of being led rather than leading and the absolute perfection of what I was led to along the way.
I returned via my beloved Botanic Gardens and was amazed as I walked across the lawns there my mp3 player going, headphones on, taking in some great Kiwi music. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a woman rocking a baby in her arms seemingly moving to the rhythm of the music that was running through my head. There was sense of disbelief, so I had to check in with the music again and I wasn’t mistaken. A wonderful sense of the oneness of all things in that simple moment. Wish I’d had taken video and added the music to it. But perhaps I’d never have gotten that synchronous moment to come together as it did then.
Today has been a great example for me of doing what I love and seeing the perfect unfold through doing that. I spent time this morning going through my email, looking at the site I’ve been working on, feeling uninspired until moved to hop on my cycle and get out enjoying the freshness, the peace, the beauty of how life is manifesting away from the house and neighbourhood.
I guess this picture encapsulates that feeling – although there are times I enjoy being inside at my computer there are other times when it becomes an obstacle to full enjoyment of life. There’s always a ray of sunshine waiting whether literal or figurative.
Just to round the day off perfectly for a good Kiwi bloke we have the first day of the IRB Rugby Sevens in Wellington and a One-Day International Cricket Match with our traditional rivals across the Tasman, Australia.
Absolute Blessings for me and for you.