To give context to this article, you can watch my interview with Jono’s coffee catch up’s above to get to know me a bit better 😊 . 
Jono messages me a week prior asking “Hey Carol, You want to come on coffee catch up one day?
I immediately feel fear, so I delay my response for about an hour, then text back “Sure, chat later”. Feeling that pit in the bottom of my stomach, trying to sound unconcerned via text. How do you sound unconcerned via text? Hah! What a fakery I am, I say to myself. The old self talk. It’s always good for a great kick in the guts. Even as I write this article, I type down the bottom “Note: This article may or may not be based on true events”… and then delete each letter one by one, laughing at myself. That note, based on fear of being vulnerable… “Cut it out!” I say to myself “You are enough… more than enough for some” I laugh.
A couple of days after, I text Jono. And only because I like and respect the guy, “Coffee catch ups, I could do Tuesday”. Jono responds “Lock it in”.
My reply? “ Oh Oh” with big eyes emoji and laughing tear face emoji. My fear… in emoji form… I’m sure it sounds familiar to many.
“What have I done?!?!” I mock myself adequately, then get on with my day.
I felt the fear and am going to do it anyway… It’s a motto I’ve been trying to work into my personality traits for a little while now. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel it. It just means I refuse to let it paralyse me. Well, not for long anyway, remembering the hour and then two-day delay to fully respond. Again, I laugh on the inside at my ridiculous self.
In preparation, prior to the actual live interview, I really felt like I wanted to do a great job, so I made 3 pages worth of notes, just in case there wasn’t enough material to fit the half hour slot. Remember, I was quite nervous. Unlike Jono who seems to be cool, calm, collected and the words just come easily to him, mostly off the cuff.
I’m very fortunate to already be part of the Wealth Mentor team, so I knew Jono and Nimesh prior, so it was easy for them to put me more at ease. Although nervous, I think it’s a healthy nervousness. Feel the fear and do it anyway, as they say. During the actual interview, there was no time for me to be reading my notes and certainly wasn’t able to read anyone else’s comments during, as my mind races trying to think of what I’m going to say to respond to the questions. And with the reminder to look into my camera, rather than at the face on the screen, we were all go!
In general, by the time I answer any of the questions, I’ve talked about everything else but… oh well, that must be my style 😉… At least everyone had fun and felt good… such a true socialiser. Or am I? Watching the interview back, I was happy I didn’t go with my script I had pretty much pre-written. I went with my heart in all of my answers and was true to myself.
It ended up being the easiest live interview I’ve done. It was fun even. Maybe I’ll interview him back and put him on the spot as a thank you.
I’d like to take the opportunity to answer Question 1 more fully, with the intention of you getting to know me, and how I put up with this lot… and perhaps understand my sense of humour too. But, onto the interview!
Did Jono mention me being infectious twice in my introduction?! Hahaaaaa… Lucky I know him well enough to know he always means well for everyone in our wealth mentor whānau (family) 😉. What a crack up!
He pātai (Jono’s question 1 for Carol): For those who don’t know who you are, give us a little bit of a background of who you are and why are you here with us today?
Holy hecka’s! Sounds like a simple question to answer, doesn’t it? Bwah hahaaaa… He Māori ahau (Hello, I’m Māori. This seriously takes time)…. I love my heritage… Here goes!

That’s right! Ask this Māori girl her background and I totally could take the whole half hour and more! But wait… there’s more! If you’d like the extended and translated version, you will get to know me much, much better. Yes, a warning, we dive deeper.      
You pronounce the ‘e as in egg’ and then ha as in car… For Māori, a pepeha verbalises to people of other iwi/tribes/ethnicities/nations all of the key information they need to know about us, in order to see whether we have blood connections or other traits/commonalities. It signifies our values and identity as a person linked to Te Aō Māori (our Māori world).
Translating this pepeha and what it means to me on the surface:

Ko Whakaari Te Puia

Whakaari is my volcano. I just love the first thing I say when I identify myself to other’s is my relationship to a volcano.
Not everyone can say that!
Whakaari, known to others as White Island, is located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. It features in the pepeha of Eastern Bay of Plenty tribes, such as Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-A-Apanui as it is a significant island to our iwi (tribe) and our history.

Photo credit:
(Note: It’s no accident I took a photo of my tribe’s volcano  from a UK website. I have a bit of a dark ‘but great’ sense of humour, deep yearn for justice and nerdy streak)

Ko Whakatere rāua ko Tawhitinui ngā maunga

Whakatere and Tawhitinui are my māunga (mountains) – Our mountains represent our tīpuna (ancestor’s). Tūpuna Maunga (ancestral mountains) hold a paramount place in the historical, spiritual, ancestral and cultural identify of an iwi (tribe).
Whakatere mountain can be found in Mid North Area and although it is connected to the iwi/tribe of Te Māhurehure (of which I am too), we can often whakapapa (trace our ancestry) back to several mountains. This mountain is one of mine through my father. We simply choose which ones feel right to ourselves to recite in our pepeha (introduction to other people). This one is closest to where his tīpuna are from and although I was not born and raised in the region, this mountain is part of me.

Tawhitinui mountain is found in Raukokore. It is where many of my tīpuna (ancestors) are buried on my mother’s side. It sits very close to our marae and our whānau homestead. This is where my mother is from originally. The coastal view from my urupa (burial ground/cemetery) at the top of Tawhitinui is nothing short of spectacular, as is the Pacific Ocean view from any vantage point along that East Coast of the Bay of Plenty, State Highway 35. I always joke that at least if I don’t get a coastal view in life, I will have it in death. There’s that dark humour of mine again 😉
My awa (rivers) Waima in Northland and Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, run into the ocean, all of which have sustained my tīpuna and therefore down through that whakapapa line, to me. For generations, we are grateful to papatūānuku and ranginui (the earth mother and sky father) The Māori Creation Story – The Te Reo Māori Classroom (
Our waters, whether they be rivers, lakes, or the sea, provide the means to feed and cleanse us, both physically and spiritually. within our wairua (spirits). Anyone say blessed holy water?!

Kotahitanga Marae is located on the western out-skirts of Kaikohe, in Northland. It is known as a paramount marae of the hapū Ngāti Whakaeke. This marae’s wharehui (meeting house) is 125 years old and therefore a precious part of our historical heritage. I haven’t been there for many years and in fact, because it was so run down, it had been closed for a very long time. Only recently has it been reopened for improvements to get started. Many moved from this area a long time ago. In fact, my father left as a young guy himself and never returned to live in the area.
My mother’s marae, Maru-o-Hinemākaho (sometimes called Maru-o-Hinemāka or Pararaki to the old school locals and descendants), translated into English or Pākeha, it’s name means ‘the journey of Hinemākaho’. This marae is more casually and popularly known as ‘Pararaki’. Why? Because Pararaki is our tīpuna Rangatira (ancestral leader), which is why we identify our hapū as Whanau-A-Pararaki. It sits right beside my grandparent’s homestead in Raukokore, having been built after my papa Moana (great grandfather) gifted land to the hapū for the purpose of building it.
This marae literally has the multi-million dollar view of the Pacific ocean and featured on the ‘Boy’ movie. A part of our land on the beachside was actually blurred out in the movie. It’s a hilarious watch for our whanau, as it holds many similarities in the characters to actual people of the area. It’s a very cleverly written movie from my mother’s cousin, Taika Waititi. As is the case with many of the movies made down the coast, my whānau always have some involvement in the movie making, whether in front of the camera, or behind the scenes.

Sunset at Raukokore with a view of Whakaari 

My waka (canoes) are named Ngātokimatawhaorua and Mataatua. There is also Tauira mai tawhiti (loosely English translated as student of tawhiti), but two is enough for this pepeha and indeed for this article…hah!
With regard to Ngātokimatawhaorua and Māori tradition, Kupe sailed the waka ‘Matawhaorua’ when he discovered Aotearoa. On his return to Hawaiki, it was refitted, so that it could fit more people in it. So, with modifications, it turned into a passenger waka for the return trip to Aotearoa (Land of the long white cloud). For the refit job, two adze’ were used. Ngā representing more than 1 and toki translating as adze. Hence, the name adjustment from Matawhaorua to Ngātokimatawhaorua. The replica of which sits up at the Waitangi Treaty grounds and was built for the centennial of the signing of the treaty of Waitangi in 1940.
This 100ft, up to 2-metre-wide waka, that holds 80 paddlers, plus 55 passengers was built in Kerikeri during the 1930s, under the direction of Pita Heperi and Piri Poutapu. After the 1940 Waitangi Day events it was gifted to the nation and is housed in the canoe house at Waitangi. This is 1 of 3 waka built at the instigation of Princess Te Puea. It is seldom used during Treaty of Waitangi commemorations, as it requires so many people to ‘man’ it. When last used, they had to train many new paddlers, some being women.

Waka Ngātokimatawhāōrua

My waka Mataatua, was the first to land at Whakatane, over 700 years ago. At some point a dispute arose between Toroa and Puhi. As a result, Puhi took the waka and crew and travelled North. It’s final resting place being Tākou Bay in the Bay of Islands. A replica sits in Whakatane at the Mataatua Reserve.
The remainder of my pepeha is my connections with close whānau before and after me.
It encompasses five generations – so far.
When we use pepeha, others who listen and hear from a Te Aō Māori perspective (Maori point of view) listen to the detail.
From the detail, they know much of the depth of history I shared with you in these articles, but also much more.
It is from their baskets of knowledge, they can see who you are and your whānau line. They may even have met some of your whānau, physically on this earth, or in wairua (spirit), on the spiritual plains. Many Māori don’t talk openly in this way, for fear of how people may perceive them, perhaps think them crazy. I’m past what people think of me. He Māori ahau. He Wāhine Toa. This is me!
Your whakapapa and the detail it holds, holds information for them of their tribes past experiences with your whānau, whether it be as a friend or a foe.
A wealth of information shared, in such a short introduction, from our perspective.
And so… once those who need to have, have shared their pepeha, it is soon time to share the breath of life through ‘hongi’ (touching of noses and foreheads) – pre-covid of course – tikanga or rules are being reinvented as we speak – and we head to the wharekai (eating house) for a well-deserved cup of tea and a kai, to bring everything back to noa (balance), the past and the present, while taking time to energise and socialise with our friends, old and new.

And how does this all relate to me in the now?

He Māori ahau. This is the living and breathing history of my past and where my beginning starts. It travels with me and my tipunga (ancestors) walk beside me always. To know detail about a person’s pepeha and in turn their whakakapapa, is to know the basics of that person, which is me. It is a starting point. This gives me strength to push past fear. The rest, you can discover by building a relationship with me over time. Naumai haere mai…