“Mā ngā huruhuru ka rere te manu. Mā tēnei pounamu ka rere ō ingoingo me nga wawata”
“With its feathers, a bird can take flight. With this pounamu , your dreams and aspirations can also“
These are the beautiful words Ezrah spoke to Tyrene in Te Reo Māori as he pulled out a beautiful pounamu necklace he had stashed down his shirt as a surprise for his wife of almost 10 years, as they exchanged loving words with one another during their vow renewal.
To us Māori, Pounamu (Greenstone) is considered a most precious taonga (treasure) and the design carved in to each pounamu carry deep spiritual significance and often represents our connection to our ancestors and each other. Which is why it is such a strong and meaningful gesture to gift a pounamu to a loved one — as you can tell by Tyrenes emotional reaction to this beautiful gesture.
Safe to say the back of my camera was soaked as I had to try and capture this moment through a river of my own tears. A truly beautiful moment that I am honoured to have been a part of!
We started this session off by honouring both Tyrene and Ezrahs connection to their Samoan ancestry, by capturing some shots in their traditional dress. In Samoan culture, Tyrenes shell necklace represents their cultures connection to the ocean, and Ezrahs necklace honours their connection to the land with the coconut seed representing new life. During our session where I ground and connect them to the land, I got them both to close their eyes and truly think about the items that they were wearing - including their ie fataga (Ezrahs traditional outfit) and Elei (Tyrenes dress) - and what those items represent. Think of the materials that were sourced for them, who made the textiles, how much heart was put in to those items from the person crafting them, and finally, giving thanks and honouring that person for their mahi (work). It's a strong visualisation that connects us to our roots. We then made our way back to the cabin where we were staying, and proceeded to change outfits for the Vow Renewal.
And my, what magic we created this day.