Whakapapa starts at the dawn of time and weaves it’s way throughout the centuries and generations. Whakapapa is continuous and eternal, coming from the past, appearing in the present and disappearing into the future.
Whakapapa binds us together, gives us our connections to the land, establishes our identity to the whenua and ties us to people.
Whakapapa is also our history, for in learning our whakapapa an intergral part of that is learning our history, of who we are, of the deeds and actions of our tupuna and how they have shaped who we are today.
Whakapapa intertwines lines, ensuring that lines and allegiances are kept strong or new allegiances are formed.
Whakapapa is also a life long journey of discovery.
Although whakapapa translates as genealogy, there are very distinct differences. When searching for genealogy there are many places where you can find information, going right back. However, with whakapapa, this is not the case.
Many people today believe it is their right to have their whakapapa, but their whakapapa may feel differently.
Whakapapa chooses who will work with the tupuna and who will not and whakapapa sure lets you know if they do not want you to, or your time is not right! Whakapapa is wairua, and whakapapa knows wairua, so if you do not have the right attitude then, yes, well…
With all things Maori, some people have an aptitude for certain areas and an aptitude for other areas. Some are kapa haka people, some are weapons people and some are whakapapa people.
Like all things Maori, if you start with the basics, if you have the right attitude and the aptitude then the tohu will show themselves and take you on to the next part of the journey.
Basic Safety Rules
NEVER NEVER NEVER work from yourself up!!!! You are the LAST in lines and as such you ALWAYS work down – Hoatu te mana – give the mana to those who have come before you.
Do not work with whakapapa around kai (food).
When working with whakapapa, you need to learn to listen very carefully to your tinana – if you start feeling tired, or a headache coming on etc then STOP STRAIGHT AWAY, don’t think, oh, I will just finish this bit.
Likewise, if say you are sitting down, or what ever and the sudden thought comes to you “Oh, I should work on my whakapapa” DO IT!!!
When you have finished working with whakapapa (and not around kai either) go into the bathroom and FLICK YOURSELF WITH WATER – right hand water goes over right shoulder, then left hand water goes over left shoulder then both hands over the top of your head. This ensures that the tapu is left with the whakapapa and you do not carry it around, then do something that breaks tapu and have the ones you are carrying with you get upset with you!!!
Keep your whakapapa in a safe place, like in boxes and put them in a cupboard what has NEVER had kai in it. If the room has never had kai in it that would be a bonus. Also, if you feel they need a bit of extra caring, then wrap the boxes in black cloth.