Kiripai Kaka

“Life brings to each person the grand sum of their knowledge and efforts. Home was and is the first and best classroom where our Mother was teacher and fully operational 24/7 attendant for all How to’s, When to’s and Please do’s. Dad’s complementary role was providence resulting from honest hard labour and consistency. It’s little wonder that compassion and consistency became part of my being.

So easy were these lessons to learn that when life wore down the natural frames of both of my parents, it became my blessing to care for them.  Firstly our Mum, who although ravaged by cancer, continued to teach me lessons of economy, compassion and service to others. Secondly, with Dad, debilitating alzheimers was hard to take but it was important to maintain his dignity and mana. In his small windows of awareness he too continued to teach and bless.

Life is for learning, living and giving which has become my heritage.”

He Whaea o te Ao

Cancer took its toll on our mother’s body. It killed me that she, who had fed the whole village, was now being deprived of food.

“We grew up on a dairy farm up North with animals, gardens and fruit trees, where immediate and extended whanau cared for each other. Trips to the beach were not to swim, but to gather kai moana, which we would share, a kete here or a bucket there. And then, perhaps, just a bowl for Granny Maku, who lives alone.”