Ko Takitimu te waka, ko Mauao te maunga, ko Tauranga te moana, Ko Ngāti Ranginui te iwi, Ko Ngāti Hangarau te hapu, Ko Hangarau te marae, ko Renee Taylor toku ingoa.
Kia ora, përshëndetje, and hello.
Over the last few years my journey has seen me dive deep into reconnection with myself, my identity and my indigeneity. Being of mixed indigenous decent - Albanian, Māori, and Scottish- I always had somewhat of an identity issue. Never quite fitting into any world, but craving that belonging to all. Not being Māori enough, assimilating mainly to my pakeha heritage, and living home life very much Albanian. A brown sheep in a white world and a white sheep in a brown world as my dad says. Imposter syndrome game is strongggg.
Learning to freedive and spearfish at 30 saw me completely change the way I viewed the world, myself, and life in general. It made me feel whole and gave me that belonging and purpose I craved. The concepts of free diving, the mindfulness and breath work. The process of a catch n cook, from learning, to hunting, to dispatching, and then cooking… it connects me to all of me. Getting lost (or perhaps found) in the ocean, being directly responsible for my food source, learning about the effects on our taiao/natural world, how interwoven it is, and recognising the things we can be doing to improve the health of ourselves and the moana is all part of it for me now. I want to be able to share that with others that may feel disconnected too.
We live in a world that is largely male dominated, but of which has seen a growth in the recognition of this gender equity disparity. This kaupapa is here to encourage the restoration of balance through a feminine lens. To move away from the macho, and give permission to be nurturing and sensitive to yourself and to the environment. To be able to stand side-by-side with confidence, respect, and support for one another. Let’s restore the balance.