From Old to Old to New
The oft-quoted whakutauki states, "Ka pa the numa, ka hao te rangatahi"—as the old nets pile up on shore, the new net goes fishing. The tauira [pattern or model] of the old provides the basis of formation for the new. The new line dictates changes in both the structure and form of the new net, and also in the choice of fishing ground. By casting it to sea, the old net may tell us even more than we dare hope for. The care taken is reassuring. It is the fishing exercise that now commands our attention, and this must be executed in the same spirit in which the old net was prepared and made.
We are in a time of changing nets. The old scientific world paradigm is thrashing, groaning, and lashing out as we hear the constant message “This hasn’t worked. It’s time to change.”
It is the time that we return to the knowledge and wisdom of the old net—ancient Native cultures and the wisdom of our Elders—while recognizing that “the new time dictates changes in both the structure and form of the new net” as well as in the “choice of fishing ground.”
As we have become more and more willing to cast the old into the sea, we must take care to recognize that a time of change requires that we be present, that we learn from our past, that we do not cling to a “known” that is not working. We need the courage to make new nets and cast them onto new fishing grounds.
Native people’s wisdom helps me move into a new way of being on this planet.
—Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Schaef