Louise Marra

I whakapapa to Ngāi Tūhoe and grew up in Te Urewera.
Coming from such silent and earth held belonging, it was such a shock to move into the fragmentation of the city. I knew I needed to be close to a city to grow myself and my own purpose and needed to find somewhere steeped in nature so I could hear the flow of life and see the tohu for my life. I also longed for smaller, and more cohesive community – as I knew how much these could hold.

As soon as I stepped on Waiheke Island I knew this was another place of belonging for me. I have been here now for over 25 years and still feel that way, although so much has changed.

Feeling so connected to the whenua, the moana and the community. I feel my deep care of this place, and its care of me. It is reciprocal – aroha atu, aroha mai. I like that I have been here so long and can now hear more clearly the ancient languages of nature here.

My mahi is transforming past hurt into free energy. It is mahi wairua. I am trained in and passionate about healing and transforming the past injustices of collective and intergenerational trauma to release potential for us as a species and with Papatūānuku.

I work in decolonisation and other intergenerational trauma, and while this work is deep and hard often, and scares people, it is rewarding . I believe it is the work of Pākehā to dismantle the colonised system and the work of Maori to re-indigenise and replenish our own mauri. This year I helped set up the Project – a journey for Pākehā leaders to start this work of decolonising our systems here in Aotearoa.

I think of myself as a braided river – I am both coloniser and colonised, so I work with both of these in myself and outside of myself. I would love to continue to work with those ready here to also help restore past trauma into the flow of life. This work requires deeply reconnecting into the web of life, to recovering ourselves as nature in nature, not separate. I have been running a local trauma transmuting group and offering free trauma informed events on Waiheke for some time. Slowly interest is growing to do this work. It would be great to work with mana whenua on this.