Strengthen your wellbeing, let nature in

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura are partnering with Hāpai te Hauora and the Mental Health Foundation to encourage wellbeing, using ancient Māori techniques.

Led by Kaiārahi Māori Mason Ngawhika, the initiative is part of a larger movement that takes a wairua-centred approach to health.

“A strong aspect of this approach is connecting with the environment, with maunga (mountains), moana (oceans), whenua (land), awa (rivers),” says Mason. “A wairua-centred approach is about developing a wider, inclusive eco-system for health, using the knowledge of past generations to support the generations to come.”

While this initiative will focus on mental health and wellbeing, the effect of having a positive mind set can lead to more healthier lifestyle choices.

“One of the common insights across our work shows behaviours like smoking, alcohol abuse, overeating and lack of motivation to exercise, can often be a manifestation of trauma and stress. We can return to indigenous systems to help manage and mitigate stress, raru (issues) and negativity, in turn, allowing individuals to create a space for their own self-determination.”

On Wednesday 10 October, the west coast of Auckland will be in the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) phase of Tirea. Considered a low energy day, it is a perfect day to focus on mental health.

By integrating the moon’s lunar phases and syncing with the Manukau Harbour’s tidal flows, Healthy Families MMP will lead a practice demonstrating pure, a cleansing of negativity.

“The Manukau harbour is the largest of Auckland’s two harbours. Seventy percent of the water leaves and enters the harbour twice daily. Within each 12 hour window there is a massive amount of energy stored and released. For those of us ‘in-tune’, we can exploit this natural daily phenomenon.”

When the tai pari (incoming tide) reaches its peak just after midday, there will be a short period of tai matatū (slack tide), followed by a gradual momentum shift as the harbour waters begin its descent. 

Using the tide’s speed and momentum, the practice of pure encourages issues and stresses to be cast into the outgoing waters (tai timu).  

One can also tap into the tai pari (incoming tide). At the halfway point (tai whanake) where energy (hihiri) and vibrations (Ihirangaranga) are at their highest, the energy can be harnessed.

“This incoming tide is the perfect time to practice deep breathing,” adds Mason. “One can feel the shift in energy and can therefore tap into it. Its a perfect occasion to focus on goals that need to be achieved, recite affirmations and aspirations, practice karakia or, just sit and admire the view and be present in the moment.”

The pure ritual will take place from 12pm at the Mangere Bridge Boat Club jetty on Wednesday 10 October. Following a kōrero about the maramataka and tidal phases, and their use to promote wellbeing, there will be a demonstration of the practice.

Attendees are encouraged to register their interest by email to Mason Ngawhika – [email protected]