Over the last weeks I had reflected a lot about what had happened in the last 1.5 years, the journey through New Zealand, what it had done to me and how much I enjoyed this current state of mind. Even though the process obviously had started long before i did my first step on Te Araroa, still New Zealand has been the visible and tangible start of this journey of mine.

Even though I take an uncountable amount of pictures, memories and impressions that I will never forget anymore I still wanted to take something with me from New Zealand. Something which would remind me on all I had learned, realised and what it took me to get there to the point I am now but also on the incredible feeling of happiness and the spirit to continue exploring, learning and growing. Something which would always remind me later on to get out of my comfort zone again since it so worth it. But none of the material things I could think of seemed appropriate to carry, to last or to cover the scope.

But there was one thing that kept on coming up in the last weeks. Something that I have always been completely against and I would have never ever thought I would do something like this. Especially since I have always been convinced that there is nothing that could be of such an eternal meaning that it would be appropriate to do it.

Well, what can I say – the last day the topic just came up more often. And then I talked to my Kiwi Mom Sarah and my sister Steph about it. And Steph said if I was going to do it then I would definitely have to do it with somebody special who had also done it for parts of their family. So Steph promised to find out the name and address.

The more I thought about it I was sure it had to incorporate New Zealand, Te Araro and of course the silver fern since it is the symbol of New Zealand and somehow merges the entire story in something that stand for New Zealand like nothing else.

Wednesday evening Steph came back to me with a name. But he had recently moved and was quite far away from the city now. So the case rested. But then something unexpected happened. When Sarah and I were just about to leave home – the last time for me – to go down to the city, Sarah’s landline rang. Sarah never picks up her landline since nobody has the number. This morning she did – for whatever reason. And it was her brother in law, Stephs uncle. He told Sarah that he had just called Inia and he surprisingly had a day off today without any appointments and if I would call him in the next twenty minutes we could probably work something out today. Somehow it was supposed to happen. I called Inia and he said it would work out time wise if I could make it to his place before twelve o’clock. Sarah immediately offered me to drive me.

And an hour later I was at Inia’s place. He is quite a famous Maori artist and well known for his craft. And then we started talking about the story and how to convert it into the design. We did a few and when Inia had drawn the final one on my foot I became doubtful and almost chickened out. It probably took me fifteen to twenty minutes before I finally said let’s do it.

And Inia converted the story and the idea in this beautiful artwork which will accompany me from now on reminding me on the journey.

He started with a very special prayer which gives the idea that this symbol represents the current status and it is meant to leave everything behind which you don’t want to take and you only continue in the future with what you want to continue with:


It shows one koru in the middle framed by waves and mountains. The koru is a traditional Maori symbol which represents an unfurling silver fern (the national plant of New Zealand) and stands for new life, growth, change, strength and peace. The unfurling fern also always strives for the light which determines the direction it grows to. Also does the round shape transports the idea of constant and perpetual movement while the coil stands for the origin.
The koru perfectly unites all aspects of my story – a process of massive and constant growth and change which started in New Zealand. And the development will always continue. The waves symbolise the magnitude of the impact which has been greater than just the koru and effected many other things around it.
The waves, mountains and the fern (and even a little triangle – even though it is black not orange) itself represent the journey on Te Araroa through New Zealand.

And the left foot was chosen since it was the one which had the hardest time, slowed me down – in a positive way. The wasp nest, the sprained ankle and the broken toe are all on the left hand side…

I am very glad I did it – it is my eternal reminder that will from now on accompany me.

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