Meaning of whenua tapu

Meet my mother

Whenua Tapu. Sacred land.

I passed it today. It is impossible to drive between Wellington and Palmerston North and not pass it. Obscure to the passive driver, sometimes noticed by the OCD observer, yet ritually unavoidable to me.

I know when it's coming up and it stays within my mind for a long time after we pass it.

Lately, I have been taking particular notice to the pace of life and perhaps the lack of rest. Whether it is physically or mentally. A constant drone of distraction, a spell we are under.

Right this second as I write, I am on a bus entertained by my isolating headphones, switching between texting, Facebook and emails.

And this is a restful part of my week. I kid myself I am in a ‘resting’ time. While bombarding myself with various non-human interactions. As an introverted person because I find this less exhausting than being with people, I somehow conclude that I can refresh on this two hour journey. But I won’t, unless I actually rest.

Switch it off. Go to sleep. Pray. Relax Stop thinking about my endless things to do.

Back to Whenua Tapu.

This place is actually a cemetery, if you hadn’t gathered that. It is a sacred land area where we respectfully bury our dead.

Each time I pass it, whether I choose to or not my mind will always take a solemn break. I always think about the brevity of life, gratitude for my own and allow my heart to hurt a little.

My mother is buried there. She is aptly amongst one of the most decorated and bright cemeteries I have seen. Flowers upon flowers adorn the headstones as it is predominantly Pacific Islanders who rest here. I like that.

Irrelevant of whether I stop by for a visit, what mood I am in, how diatracted I may be, who I am with etc etc I will always allow myself to be a little solemn.

Not necessarily be sad or such things but to just ponder, pray and think. It's a landmark and reminder that although we are delicate and vulnerable people, my life has not turned out like it could have. It could have been much much worse. I am well looked after by a Father who loves me and calls me His Beloved.

It has become a reminder of a story. Full of tragedy and overcome by blessings. A personal heart breaker awashed with miracles.

It is unbelievably important to stop. This I am learning and a lovely friend is currently reiterating for me (I appreciate it, honestly!).

Passing Whenua Tapu has highlighted how I need to establish a reminder of a sort amongst my life in the tropics of Auckland. A place or a thing that will unrelentingly encourage me to stop for a minute or more.

To ponder, question, or just be.

To find my own slice of sacred ground in a seriously materialistic existence.

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