The Moriori showed that peace is a deliberate choice, a decision to be made. When Maori settlers from Aotearoa came to walk the land and claim it, the Moriori iwis came together and discussed what they wanted to do. They probably could have fought back the intruders quite easily as they outnumbered them by far. The young men wanted to fight back and protect land and people. However, in the end, they all came to the conclusion that they wanted/needed to stay true to a guideline that Nunuku, an old chief, had come up with to settle fights between different iwis on Rekohu in earlier times: fighting parties had to stop when the first blood flowed. The Moriori seem to have found out a crucial point for a peaceful, sustainable life: If you fight on a physical plane beyond this point, you are losing your mana, your power. It is at this point when you have to make a conscious decision: do you want to go on or do you stop? What is your ultimate intention and goal in life?
The Moriori chose not to fight. They were almost completely wiped out as a race, they were killed in the most cruel ways and enslaved. They had any “reason” to fight back to protect themselves, their children, their resources... Like we find reasons to justify our wars, both on a small and large scale. We need to protect our children, fight against terrorists, conserve the planet – there are many, many “good reasons” why we think we need to fight. The Moriori knew that, if one fights beyond this point, it is never going to lead to a sustainable, stable, and truly peaceful solution/situation.
This is the message I could feel while staying at the beautiful Kopinga Marae on Rekohu, while walking through the forests, and along the beach. It touched me deeply. I know how easy it is sometimes to choose fight instead of peace. To just consider and get stuck in the physical plane instead of seeing the “bigger picture”. Rekohu and the amazing people the Congress attracted gave me hope and strengthened my belief, that the journey might not always be an easy one, but that it is time to look beyond our limited and restricted physical realities and connect to a consciousness modelled by people like the Moriori, Waitaha, and many others, individuals, families, tribes.
Me Rongo – let us choose peace.