The Story of Us: Pirarurau White


The Story of Us.

You and me.

Our families, our ancestors. Our whanau, our kin.

For me, this is what shapes my past, and what provides a platform from which to build, craft, CREATE, my very own story.

And like my ancestor, Piraurau – mighty Wahine Toa/Warrior Woman – it is about honouring the spirit and wisdom of my ancestors, and yet allowing myself to choose my own pathway. I have talked at length about the legend of Piraurau and her deeds (…read more here) and she has inspired so much of my creativity in the past few years.

Her courage in the face of adversity

Her dedication to her family

Her tenacity and grit

I am proud to call her “grandmother”.

Earlier this week I took my son out to visit her resting place, high above the beautiful Pigeon Bay on Banks Peninsular which was her home and where her children grew up. She lived there with her husband Thomas White, originally an orphan and whaler from Boston, MT. They lie together now, forever overlooking her chosen place.

It was an emotional trip for me actually. In a way it was a trip to let her go. Not to turn my back to her, but I have felt recently that I am being called to tell other stories. And in order to do this, I must allow her to rest and turn my attention to some of my other ancestors. I took her a Toki – fitting I think because she has inspired hundreds of these precious taonga (treasures). But it’s not goodbye – quite the opposite really. It’s more about taking all that she stands for into my heart and understanding the gift she offers. Maori have a saying;

“Ko to ngakau ki nga taonga a o tupuna”

In your heart lies the treasures of your ancestors

So thank you Grandmother…I will come back and tell the story of your father, your children and grandchildren. But for now, I gratefully accept your treasures into my heart and I turn to tell another story.


Watch the video introducing the next ancestor that I will be introducing below.

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