the whakapapa effect: understanding why we are the way we are.

The name of my show at Moana Radio and also a term I came up with* that sums up what I share with this blog: pulling apart, wrestling with and becoming aware of how whakapapa (genealogy, environemnt, connections, processes) affects who we are today and who we might be in the future.

Understanding this aspect of whakapapa is to understand how nature and nurture (not one over the other) have contributed to the way we think, the decisions we make, the beliefs and values we adhere to, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world around us

- to understanding why we are the way we are.

For instance, let your mind drift away and think about “healthy.” Close ya eyes for a sec and think, how do you define what healthy is? How do you measure if you’ve been eating or consuming something healthy? What warrants something being unhealthy? Is what’s healthy for you healthy for the rest of us? Is healthy overpriced and too hard to attain?

Now, pick any one of those answers and wrestle with it. Why do you believe that particular whakaaro to be true? Alright, alright, alright, now…. try to trace it back to when you first adopted this definition and added it to your belief system. Hai tauira, for example, “if I have abs = president of healthy.” Traced this back to seeing health magazines and tv shows have people with abs adorn the covers and be ‘the image of health’. Then eventually found out people with abs can be unhealthy too. With what they feed their body, their mind, their heart and wairua. So um, yeah. Replaced that idea of ‘abs equating to healthy’ to abs = disciplined with nutrition and I was back at square one with how I defined what healthy meant to me.

Now, I’m still figuring it out and refining my definition of healthy, happiness, success, realising potential and treating myself and it’s evolving all the time - like me. But I can’t evolve those beliefs, values or thoughts if 1. I don’t know where they come from or 2. why I have them in the first place.

I can’t hope to evolve much at all if I don’t understand the whakapapa effect.

If I can’t understand the whakapapa of where my thoughts and beliefs originate from and how they affect my decisions and actions how can I attempt to understand why my life is the way it is? Why I am the way I am? It’s a touchy deal-with-it-never subject for many of us, because that seeking to understand can bring about a lot of pain, darkness and discomfort. But remember, comfort is a nice place - but nothing ever grows there.

This blog post is the 100th post (woop woop), which wouldn’t have been possible without the first 99. You don’t get the milestone or the ‘reward’ without the work and processes that lead up to it. The mahi I’m doing, the people I get to meet, the places I get to go, the kōrero I get to share, the new show being pitched for TV (our secret), the book, the vlogs and so much more from the last almost two years - WOULDN’T EXIST if I didn’t write the first post, the one after that and the one after that, every Thursday, for the past 99 weeks.

This is the whakapapa effect. Understand how it° works, so you can make it work for you.

Tēnā tātou,


*it’s nothing new lol calm down kaupapa police. And may very well have been used before but not that I’ve been able to find. Feel free to flick something my way

°developing an understanding of whakapapa (processes, connections, genealogy).

pic: from I Am Eva shoot. Check them out, aaaaaaah-mazing kaupapa.