Northland is a timeless place of new beginnings. It was here that the Māori explorer Kupe arrived on his wooden waka (sea-going canoe) to discover New Zealand, then later returned to with a band of Māori settlers aboard the legendary Ngātokimatawhaorua.
Paddling a waka requires determination, cooperation and strength of vision. Each time Kupe - and those who followed - made landfall at Hokianga Harbour, it was the culmination of a long and intrepid voyage with only the stars to guide them and their own muscles to power the journey.
When those brave travellers arrived at the end of their long voyage, they set foot on a Northland that was very different from the one we can visit today. But, as always, this land of great bounty and promise was a home to be cherished and protected.
A replica of the mighty waka Ngātokimatawhaorua sits near the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between a collection of Māori chiefs and the English Crown in 1840. Ngātokimatawhaorua is a symbol both of the bravery and desire of those who first came here, and the modern-day voyage of two peoples who now travel together in cooperation and mutual respect.
This place is home, always has been. This is an ancient home that was gifted to my ancestors. If you were to climb to the top of the highest hill, and cast your eyes out for as far as you can see, that is the ancient house of my people.