One of the most important connections for Maori is the connection with the land that we live on. Papatūānuku is the earth mother, who nurtures us and from which all life came.
I’ve always had a deep connection with the land we live on, and that sense of place and strength, that sense of Turangawaewae. For me this comes from living in Taranaki, under the watchful gaze of our maunga (mountain), it hits me hard when I travel down to the land my people came from in the south island, when I stand on the black beaches and feel the wind against my cheeks and the water lapping over my toes, when I walk through the forests of our national parks. These things all give me strength, a feeling of connection, a sense of place and purpose. They all remind me that I am alive.
Kotahi Bay is that place for the characters in my books. The place that gives them strength. The place that is their home, regardless of whether they were born there or not.