Aoraki Bound – Changed me

I remember when I hopped on the train on March the 1st and headed off to Picton. I would arrive and relax. One problem, though I was far from relaxed. I was full of nerves and apprehension.

Could I run 3km in under 25 minutes. Had I trained enough. Was all my Bootcamp sessions enough to get me across the line.

I was reading the handout from the Aoraki Bound team. There was a quote.

“When the butterflies stop, then stop talking”

I certainly had butterflies. So I talked with the two sisters that sat opposite me. One had travelled back to NZ from USA for their annual tramp. I told them what I was about to do.

Both of them said they would do what I was doing in a heart beat. The concept must be right.

8 days at Outward Bound in Anakiwa then 12 days doing various things as you traverse the South Island and ending up at Aoraki. All the while immersed fully into Ngai Tahu culture and history.

What have I done?

What’s a pakeha fellow like me doing in a course like this?

Let me say that I have been working for Ngai Tahu since July 2011. I am committed to the iwi, to my work.

Now I need to commit more to learning the culture.

I was in for a real surprise.

I truly got a sense of what Ngaitahutanga is and that it is a lifestyle a way of being. The spirit of which I was about to be brought directly into full contact.

Firstly there was the full on schedule of physical and mental endeavours pushing you in ways that you never realised you even had in you.

Top that off with some full immersion into the real essence of Whakapapa , Korero, Mahinga kai. Getting to understand this culture was a mind and body experience like no other.

I had some goals I wanted to achieve and set in place. These seem like real goals that are achievable and can be done. Not aspirations but things I can set in place and not just spin a whole bunch of plates and see what fate deals out.

Some Pounamu found me. An event that surely was straight from some drug induced hallucination. I saw a piece of broken glass shine at me with intense sunlit rays. It was overcast completely. I went to pick up this glass. Once in my hand it was pounamu. I was overcome with emotion. What’s happening.

The other thing that I was subject to was the sheer aroha and understanding from a group of 12 strangers . We were in this together. Whanau took on a whole new meaning. I was slowly beginning to understand the we. My whole life thus far had been self reliant from a very early age.

Affection and love in such a way I had not experienced.

Most of my life I have considered this to be underserved on my part. Trusting comes hard.

As I process the events over the 20 days, I have changed in some ways.

Can I commit to keeping this going. Did I do some growing.

Yes I did so thanks Aoraki Bound and Kupe 651