Whānau (Maori language) = “Whānau is often translated as ‘family’, but its meaning is far more complex. It includes physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions and can be multi-layered, flexible and dynamic.”

My family is a beautiful mess.... and because of that, for years and years I struggled with my identity. People have always asked for clarification of who I’m related to, who fits where etc etc and I always struggled to answer because I didn’t have a definite answer myself. I mean, YES! they’re my family.. but family always seemed to imply certain restrictions and conventions that I could never fit into. Family was a word that I hated for so long because mine didn’t look like everyone else’s. I have brothers who are family but we don’t share the same biological parents, I have blood siblings who I don’t even know, I have several mother and father figures and I have nieces who (if you wrote down the family tree on a piece of paper) would probably look like far extended relatives when in reality they complete my inner circle like no others ever could.

When I was 16, I was introduced to the concept of whanāu not by hearing its meaning, but by living it. It’s a term that encompasses all the variables I was trying to communicate but didn’t know how to. It is family, but it goes so much deeper and spreads so much wider than that word alone can possibly express. Whanāu was the word that gave me roots when I had been completely uprooted. 💗

I am a Taiaroa. I am a Mepham. I am a Gonzales. I am a Vargas. I am a Gomez. I am a Daughter of God. I know now that my identity is in my whānau and in God and in that alone, I am overwhelmingly blessed ✨

What does your family / whānau look like?


Wow. Hi. Hello. How are you doing?

I don't even know where to begin when starting this post... it's as if this long, unexplained and unintentional absence from this little corner of the internet has left me speechless - unfamiliar, unconfident and unable to find the words to even begin to explain what has gone on in our life over the last five months.

For starters, we've moved across the country. Dunedin to Nelson.

It's been the craziest whirlwind of emotions and technicalities and I'm the first to admit that I'm yet to fully find my feet in this new city. I spend most of my days riding the fine line between being both overwhelmed and underwhelmed and quite honestly, it's been some of the toughest few months of my life. God is stretching me in so many new ways - ways that are going to grow me and strengthen me and I've been battling to see these changes in that light each and every day.

So if you've been wondering, YES! I am in fact still around, I've just been taking the time to re-centre myself and blogging has been one of those things that has taken a wee bit of a backseat.

For more day-to-day updates, you can find me on instagram - @ariana.leilani, otherwise I'm hoping to be back to business on here slowly, but surely.

Hope you've all been well,

A x

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