Tommy Kapai: Taking a thoughtful weekly walk

By Tommy Kapai

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The Pohutukawa tree from which strings of seashells hang.
The Pohutukawa tree from which strings of seashells hang.

The old people who have walked this land a lot longer than us, especially the old people in my life who we call tohunga, say that when you carry chaos in your life, take a walk around a sacred mountain anticlockwise and leave your troubles at the halfway point, wherever that may be.

A recent tragedy or a deep sadness for lost and loved ones all carry with them a korowai of not knowing how to deal with it, so a launching pad to let them go is a good call in any culture or religion.

Then once you have downloaded your demons or chaos or burdens of sadness and sorrow, carry on your walk in the same direction around the mountain with fresh thoughts of what matters most in life.

Conversely, if all is good in your hood then take the walk of life clockwise and give thanks for what we may take for granted.

Family, whanau, happiness, a full puku, good mates and not having to wake up to war are always on my radar when I walk with an attitude of gratitude, clockwise around our sacred mountain - Mauao.

Religiously on a Sunday morning me and my mate do this walk 'n' talk around Mauao and this morning we did it clockwise - without asking each other if there were issues that needed to be walked through predicating the necessity to do a Tirikawa to Tangaroa (anticlockwise) walk.

As we got to the base of the last big hill we both noticed something that wasn't there a few days back on our last hikoi and we both stopped at the same time to stare at it.

No - it wasn't a sunbathing seal stretched across Tirikawa Rock. Been there - seen that.

Nor was it black droplets of Rena oil or a beach full of beads. Been there, seen that as well.

And sadly or gladly it wasn't a naturalist who had wandered north from the sand dunes of Papamoa Beach.

Hanging down from one of the low bent over branches of a Pohutukawa tree, to the left of the track, were strings of seashells from the shore below, gathered together carefully and placed strategically for the viewing pleasure of passers by.

We looked again and again at them and then looked at each other with a stare that said "Cool eh Cuz!"

I am sure if you are one of the regular 2000 a day walkers around Mauao, both clockwise and anticlockwise you would have noticed this stunning creation.

Some kind caring soul had taken the time to string shells together and hang them down like a Hawaiian lei or a rosary of frangipani flowers you would find on a Bali Beach as part of their Buddhist beliefs.

It took me straight back to the beaches of Bali where offerings of thanks are a daily expression and now hopefully the custom has made its way to Mauao.

Perhaps the sea shells by the seashore were part of a peace offering? Perhaps they were made by a mother and daughter or father and son, sitting on the beach watching the world walk by?

Or they were just a random act of kindness by an ageing hippy like me and thankfully they have not been smashed, stolen or sent back anticlockwise around Mauao.

Small things mean a lot to me these days when sadness lurks in the shadows from recent losses, and there have been a few downloads halfway at Kuia Rock on my Mauao walks with my mate.

What motivates people to do these acts of kindness? Who was the raranga weaver who made the rosary of seashells by the sea shore on the side of Mauao?

Were they from here or another planet preparing us for the magical experience of a super full moon tonight known as a 'Super Moon' where the moon will be closer to us today than for any other time until November 2034? Now there's a cool story for the kids tonight.

Whoever you are and whatever direction you walked to get to the beach in front of Tirikawa Rock, on behalf of the many hundreds who have been blessed by your creative kindness, kia ora to you.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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