MYTHOLOGY IN TRUTH: RECLAIMING A LOST WAY
TE HOKIANGA KI TE AROHA
RETURN TO LOVE
‘Te Hokianga ki te Aroha’ is a beautiful phrase to understand and to feel. The word ‘hoki’ is ‘to return’, a verb, an action. When ‘anga’ is placed after a verb, it becomes a noun, a thing or place. And so ‘hoki-anga’ is a returning place. The Hokianga harbour in the far north of Aotearoa/New Zealand was so named as the ‘Great returning place of Kupe’ or Te Hokianga nui ā Kupe, as it was either the place that Kupe intended to return to upon his/her departure, or perhaps it simply refers to the departing place of Kupe on his/her return to Hawaiki (the homeland). Either way, there is a sense of there being a ‘returning place’.
For us as human beings, the question is posed: If instead of progressing onwards towards some ideal we can choose to return to a way that we all know deep within, then what is the quality of that which we return to? If it were aroha, as in ‘te hokianga ki te aroha’, then we would be returning to love. And so, what is being explored and offered through this website, through The Return to Love Project (Te Hokianga ki te Aroha), is simply something that we already know, already have, and are returning to.
However, as we return to love, return to fully appreciating ourselves and each other as love, we naturally come together in connection and therefore true brotherhood. This is the deeper meaning of the word aroha – love and brotherhood. Brotherhood is not a gendered term, for there is also sisterhood, the building of relationship between two people equally. Brotherhood is a term connected with the building of a group, also in equalness, irrespective of the gender of those involved.
'Te Hokianga ki te Aroha'
The returning to that place within that is love
and that brings us together as one.
‘Ao-tea-roa’ is another beautiful word or phrase that can shed some light on New Zealand’s place in this world. The word ‘Ao’ is a place, a realm. ‘Tea’ means pure or white or clear, and so ‘Aotea’ is a realm that is pure or clear. The word ‘roa’ can mean long, but it can also mean old or of-long-ago, ancient, of the distant past. Hence, although Aotearoa is often translated as ‘land of the long white cloud’ (the word ‘aotea’ also meaning white-coloured-clouds), it could easily be translated as ‘place of ancient purity’ or ‘ancient realm of clarity’.
When we feel into this place we call Aotearoa/New Zealand do we feel the ancientness despite New Zealand often being referred to as a ‘young country’, either anthropologically or geologically?
And do we feel its purity despite the deep anguish associated with the many wars and divisions within her history, European and Māori?
And do we also feel the ‘Ao’ element of this, the sense of these lands encompassing a sense of place, being a distinct realm, containing a certain quality of energy?
Many visitors to this land express how unique and profound this place is, and not just in terms of its physical beauty, but rather the quality of energy, and how they feel, what they experience inwardly. Could Aotearoa be a place that offers a connection to an inner purity and stillness that we all can remember should we so chose?
I ngā rā o mua i hui tātou i tētahi atu wā
We have all done this before in another place and time