People & place: Mhicca King. Perth, 2017.

Mhicca first came into my life while I was living the island life in Hawaii earlier this year. When I let go of my island paradise and made my way back to a different kind of paradise; fitness at rugby training, where I also met one of the most smiley, kind hearted and confident women I've had the privilege of sharing time with in Mhicca. Our nieces play netball together, and from there we found other connections through people we knew back in Aotearoa (NZ) and other interests, in particular; wellbeing and business. Mhicca owns and works in her own salon in North Perth which grew from a desire to have her own space and also a conflict with manaakitanga; wanting to spend good time with clients, to make them feel special - often restricted in traditional salons. So you could say she's all about giving that little bit extra? Yes with some extra yes. Not just in her business but in everything she does, training and sport included - this woman is a machine!

"I was brought up for a Pakeha world" - Nanny Kahu.

I was working on a project  about what being Māori meant and so asked a few people what it meant to them to be Māori; this was my nan's answer. She went on to tell me that her mother and father wanted their children to become successful in the colonised world, to be educated in the Western schooling system, mainly because they didn't see the value or relevance of Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview/culture) to their lives at that time - a sad reality for many kōeke of that generation. It wasn't until she met my koro, John Tapiata, and learned from/with him how important her culture and language were. When I asked her about they met; her eyes lit up, a big grin stretched across her face and you could just see in her eyes that she was back in that moment. He caught the bus from Tauranga to Rotorua for a 'sports tournament' and nan caught the same bus, she noticed him and thought he looked quite handsome.. that was that, the rest is history! Then came marriage, nine kids, 30+ mokopuna (grandchildren) but only one favourite (me), about 10 greats and one great-great mokopuna (as of July 2017), a career in education, a devotion to the Lord and more overseas trips than anyone else in my family, including me! Her one piece of advice she's been consistent with, is if I ever feel life is getting too much, just look up to the sky and say "Help me, Lord!" I haven't got to that point yet but please, feel free to take that for yourselves, sharing is caring.