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The Untold Secrets of Being Well

Controversial opinion: The climate sky is not falling; our lives can be magical and there is always hope.

As a Netflix doco addict, I have many questions about why the world is slow to adapt to the looming challenges of the 21st century. Leonardo’s films are calling for it, Aunty Helen and Jacinda say it can be done, so why on earth are we still stuck with the same issues we’ve had since the 90’s? From inequality to climate change and now mental health challenges… It’s a little unnerving for a millennial who is into long-term earth living.

What if we’re the generation who will create a more beautiful world?

This is the question that lead me to Piki Diamond’s office, a researcher on the Māori worldview here at AUT with the answers I’d been looking for.

What Piki shared with me wasn’t to vote with your dollar, one small action makes a big difference, or that tech will save us all. Her story was one of wellbeing, inner reflection, and a story that starts with each of us.


6 ways of transforming our world that can start with you:

Healing ourselves comes from facing our pain: From a Māori perspective, healing comes from within. We draw on reflection, we go into the pain, the dark spaces and see if we can link it to our past, our whakapapa. We ask ourselves what this pain wants us to feel and why. We unlock that, let it go and let ourselves heal.

Let’s not talk sustainability of systems, let’s talk re-imagining happiness: We are trying to sustain systems that don’t work — a world we’re not proud of. Each time we take a moment and reflect on what makes us well, we get a step closer to healing ourselves and the world. Is it in a flash car? How others perceive us? Or feeling close to others? What does this tell us about happiness?

Happiness is our connection to nature: Māori concepts honour the inter-connection of the natural world (Papatūānuku) and our wellbeing with words. The land (whenua) is our placenta, our lifesource, our mother. How are we honouring our earth as our mother? How are those actions impacting your wellness? If you have more moments like this, you might find you naturally want to protect her.

We need to reconnect to gratitude and service: Manaaki is to honour your role as a host and guest through care and kindness and empowerment. It can be how universities host students to be well and thrive, or how we as humans are guests on the Earth and can give back to her for all she does for us.

Leadership is empowerment: Mana-centered leadership is not holding onto power like so many do in the Western way, instead it is understanding that this energy of prestige is an infinite energy to be passed on to empower others. What would our governments look like if this model was used? Our businesses? Our education systems? How can you empower others you know and pass on mana?

We need to move from protection to healing: Kaitiakitanga is to be toa (warriors) Earth’s guardian, to understand that now, our mother needs healing, not just protecting. Are we addressing the root causes of climate change, inequality, mental health challenges or just the symptoms? Our governments, universities, and businesses will only embrace bold solutions if each person uses their voice to demand it.


*The definitions given in this article may vary across tribes in NZ *Get in touch with to join the Future Proofer AUT Community who are creating projects to create a more beautiful world.

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