Linda Te Aho describes the spiritual and healing properties of the river. Linda uses the river to destress from the pressures of a busy life and advocates participating in TriMāori and waka ama for everyday river experiences. Linda is a law lecturer at the University of Waikato and has a wealth of knowledge in Waikato-Tainui history, kawa and tikanga.
LINDA TE AHO
Another thing that’s quite common in our whānau is the saying “Haere ki te wai.” So my great… well one of my tūpuna was a healer, he could heal with water and he could heal with hands, and so we have a continuing practice of being done with water. So when I was sick or I was going on a trip or something like that, my father would say either go to the river or do us with water. I’ve always believed that that’s very strong, the water’s got very strong healing powers. In fact, we had a saying that “Water is everything. It’s good for you to drink water, and it’s good for you to go to the river.”. And so I still do the kids with water, I’ve carried that on, and when we’re going away or they’re going on an overseas trip or wherever, I make sure that we go to the river.
And so whenever I’m kind of stressed out, I can just watch the river go fast and I feel as if it’s coming through me and taking away all the stresses and the pressures of a busy lifestyle.
You know our tūpuna talked of the awa as a tūpuna, as a taonga, something to be cherished and looked after and creating enjoyable opportunities for them to reconnect so, for example, participating in things like TriMāori or waka ama so that they can have that relationship with the river on an everyday basis, so that it’s not just something we talk about – it’s actually something that we live.
Linda Te Aho
The Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development acknowledges the financial support given by the Waikato River Cleanup Trust Fund which is administered by the Waikato River Authority.
The Waikato River Cleanup Trust does not necessarily endorse or support the content of the publication in any way.