My place to stand

Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples) have a concept Turangawaewae.

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.

Since the death of both my parents and now more recently the death of my brother, the place of my first months of life has increasingly become my Turangawaewae.

On a recent visit to Greytown, Wairarapa I went down River Road that leads from the house I lived in to the banks of the Waiohine River.
The river was grey-blue and running reasonably fast due to rain falling in the nearby mountains.
The trees on the banks were in autumn colours but the white light and heavy cloud dimmed those on this visit.

My mountain was somewhere amidst these mists.
The rain was falling steadily but it was a time to pause and reflect, to absorb the feelings of connection, and foundation.

A place to draw strength from this land beneath my feet and then continue along my life’s road.


9 thoughts on “My place to stand

  1. Gallivanta

    I am so glad you were able to do this and it brought you comfort. The concept of turangawaewae is a powerful one. In 2002 I went back to the place I was born, hoping to find it where I once felt it so powerfully; and it was not there. That was very disorientating. And, in many ways, I am still looking.

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      The feeling has grown in the last 10 years and has surprised me a little as I was a baby and left that area by the age of 18 months. I have some other places that I could call home but they do not speak to me in the same way. I hope you find your place to stand and it emerges for your with ease.

      1. Gallivanta

        That is interesting. I am always listening for the voice that will tell me ‘this is home’. I heard a whisper in Scotland. 🙂 But that was a very long time ago and may have been the result of wishful thinking.

      1. greenmackenzie

        Oh yes, but I think I’m greedy and I have two! One is in Lothian, around Edinburgh, where my father’s from and where I grew up….the other is Plockton/Skye where my mother grew up, and where we visited every school holiday throughout my childhood to stay with my Granny, my Mums Mum….and of course we still visit several times a year whenever we can….I’m a split personality between west and East Scotland, between lowlands and highlands…..but I like it that way 🙂

  2. Juliet

    How wonderful that you could return to your turangawaiwai in this time of sadness. I always feel replenished after visiting Taranaki, which is my standing place. These connections run very deep.


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