Akaroa History Storyteller Marie Haley is featured as a local resident with a powerful connection to place developed over Seven Generations, in the current Akaroa Museum display of the Comte de Paris 180th celebration.
I was honored to be chosen as the only local resident in the Akaroa Museum’s display of the Comte de Paris descendants 180th celebration. In this beautiful temporary exhibition a selection of descendants were shown for what it means to them to be connected to the first French settlers in Akaroa. Here’s my take on living in one place for seven generations.
“This deep sense of connection moves me to tell stories with my own tour company, The Seventh Generation.”
Knowing who I am gives me the ground to stand on, to know where I am going –tūrangawaewae. Like the tall totara tree that once covered Banks Peninsula from summit to sea. They dig in their feet and stand firm through the strongest storms and their memory is long.
This is how I know the land, over seven generations through all the changes that have taken place. My Great-grandmother spoke of a forest fire that burnt for three months. I saw the last tui, and the first.
From knowing my history, I draw on a deep well of hope for the future. I know how far we have come; my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Justine Rose Lelievre, gave birth in a tent by the sea, and how easy we have it now. How we decimated the ecosystems, and how nature is already returning, faster than we could have imagined.
I have always walked in the footsteps of my ancestors and carry the responsibility to create a more beautiful, abundant place with stronger vitality (mauri). For I am not separate to this place, and you could not separate me from this place.
This deep sense of connection moves me to tell stories, with my own tour company and school education trips, so others can connect to both this place and their own history.