Credit / Paul Taylor, Hawke's Bay Today (NZ Herald)
Whānau gathered at the Te Tira Moko Kauae o Ngāti Kahungunu community event in Hawke's Bay today have shared uplifting messages about moko kauae.
"Our moko is a flowing conversation of who we are," one wahine told those gathered this afternoon at Village Green Park in Havelock North.
She said her koro who wanted her to get a moko kauae had cried when telling her she was 'missing something'.
"There's only been one other occasion, or two, I've seen my koro cry and one of them was when my kuia passed away."
"He said, 'missed my generation, missed my children, won't miss my mokopuna.'"
"That was 26 years ago and I've never looked back," she said.
The wahine's kōrero was captured in a video shared online, which a member of the community at today's event has allowed Te Ao to share here.
Another wahine who spoke today and appears in the video shared kōrero about her own moko kauae journey, which she said she has never regretted.
She said it was at a mokopapa wānanga that she was educated about kauae and learnt that not only kuia can get moko kauae done, "So that was really meaningful for me."
"I dragged my older sister along with me too, we both were feeling the same, you know when the wairua's pulling you so strongly it's actually a feeling that you can't deny."
After speaking with their koro, she says "We did a lot of karakia that night because you have to know in your heart that it's for you."
"Only you will know in your heart whether or not it's your time, this is right for you in your journey," she said.
"In the morning, our tohu came and that's how we knew that this was right for us and I've never had a regret."
She said there will always be some people who have negative things to say.
"You just have to be prepared, people are going to throw things at you when you carry this sort of taonga, so you have to be prepared for that kind of feedback."
For her, the decision to get her moko kauae was to "uphold our mana as Māori," she said.
Te Ao contacted Piri Galbraith, who organised the event, for her reflections on today's hui. In a quick text response, she said it had been "tino rawe!!"
"It was an amazing turn out, 400 to 500 people. Aroha everywhere," Galbraith said in her Sunday evening message.
Yesterday, she explained that the event had been arranged to "whakamana Jay Scott" and "educate our people, educate tauiwi and keep pushing the positive."
Another community member at this afternoon's hui has also allowed Te Ao to share their video.