The Eagle of the Ocean | Te Aeto o te moana

We aspire to be “The Eagle of the Ocean

 Like those before us, like those who will follow us,

Able to see beyond the storms in our life, beyond our islands, across the moana. 


Storm riders

“Aua e mataku i te kupa o te ngaru, me ava” – Do not be afraid of the crest of the wave.

“E ‘oe, e ‘oe. E’oe.” – When you hear the order row, row. Row.

This section is about different ways you can survive the storm and the waves. Sometimes it’s about staying afloat, sometimes it’s about getting out of the water.

In order to stay afloat,  we need to develop our physical, emotional and spiritually skills. This takes time and practice.

Koe mate mama

This is about our relationship with ourselves.

Is the hull of our Vaka strong with only a few holes? The Tongan proverb speaks of “Koe mate mama” – The main leak. There may have been little leaks, but is this the main leak.

How do we make it strong – especially if we have been thrown on the reef?

What things can you DO to make it strong?

Is there anything that needs repairing?

Kua peke ki te koko o te tai

Our feelings run like currents through us.

– What currents are you drifting on? It is near impossible to swim directly against a current, but it is possible to swim across a current.

– Can you tread water to a point of safety ? What are you saying to that young person inside of you that needs care – what are you telling them?

Kua peke ki te koko o te tai” Drawn by the current of the sea.


When things are really bad, often we are just swimming or running for our lives.

Sometimes we are fighting for our lives.

Sometimes we panic.

Sometimes at this point in time we grab those around us, and we run the risk of pulling them under ……

Sometimes  we don’t listen to ourselves – to realize that we are hungry, tired, or lonely or just plain fighting.

– Learn to slow, learn to stop, listen to take a breath.

E ongi maira i te manea o te tiare

When we are immersed in the deep sea, we forget that another world exists.  We need to reconnect with the world around us.

This means smelling the air, feeling the wind, tasting something that smells delicious.  It means noticing really cool piece of street art around you, or the way a particular tree has grown out of the crack of the concrete.  It is becoming aware.

A Cook Island proverb says ,  “E ongi maira i te manea o te tiare” – the bee kissing the beautiful flower.  Notice the beauty in the world around you.


Our tupuna were really good at was learning off each other or someone who was more knowledgeable, wiser than them.  Maybe a tuakana – an older sibling who has been through this.  Maybe a Taula – who has expert knowledge about what is going on.


Our tupuna believe that Manu (birds) often brought answers.  Where there are birds there is food, there are fish.

Manu also brought messages from the Atua.


But you had to stop, watch for them, recognize them and figure out what they were saying….

Connecting with other people

When we are grieving, connecting with other people will keep us afloat.   Sometimes we just need to connect with people who understand who we are, where we have been, and who truly cares for us.   With these people, we just need to laugh, to cry, to tell stories, to hug and to feel safe. Being in this net of love is a beautiful way of staying safe.

We only need one person.  You don’t have to be ‘Miss Popular’, or the most loved and adored person in the whole world.  All you need is one good friend, or one close family member.

Polluting our relationships

Sometimes our relationships with ourselves with our world, with God, with others are polluted by things.

Pollution takes many forms – plastic, oil, rubbish. This pollution makes things hard for us.  Sometimes the pollution will take a while to clean up. You can’t clean up in a storm but you can clean up afterwards.  Piece by piece.

Be mindful of not putting more rubbish in your relationships.



Looking after our Tino (body)

Our body stores and holds emotions, particularly grief and sadness.

Topa rao toku ngakau“- my insides collapsed. When this happens, it might help to look after our physical self.

Be mindful of gentle positive touch. Touch helps us connect with others, and learn to care for others and ourselves. Massage, maoro, mirirmiri, fofo.

Bad emotions are stored in our body. Tensions build up in our muscles. Moving helps us release the tension, helps us release emotion.

Signs of faith

In the days of old, our Tupuna believed in Atua coming in different animals – To’oroa (whale), Onu (turtles), Papati (dolphins), Tamanu (stingrays ), Mango (shark) coming to support to look after you.

This is about our relationship with God or whatever we believe in. We live in a world where our faith is seen as separate – something that maybe occurs on Saturdays or Sundays.  But God is always around us. Faith is beyond church, it is the belief that something beyond yourself exists and is there. Faith is knowing that what you choose to believe is for you.

Prayer is acknowledged across all our cultures, throughout the ages, and plays a very important role in us staying safe.