Glenis Phillip-Barbara

What is the most important thing to you?


Whats important to me

Is that people realise just how important they are. Understand that they are no better and no lesser than anyone else. That kindness is a superpower & that there is plenty of everything to go round. If only we would share.

Through my working life, I have learned that the people with the biggest ego’s are often the most insecure.

They think that a good offence is the best defence so become aggressive and in the end – alone.

I have come to respect diversity as a means to explore solutions and opportunities but see that so many good people have been denied their heritage & ancestral knowledge Its hard to be whole when part of you is missing.

I have learned that to live in the world many of us leave our authentic selves safely tucked up at home. Where they won’t be disrespected and abused. Imagine if the world truly respected the authentic cultures and belief systems of others.

If you didn’t have to wake up to white people everywhere setting all the norms and measures of normal, acceptable, cool and on trend.

If tv programmes reflected the true diversity of our world.
And showed us that we can actually get along.

That humanity connected is a world inspired, wouldn’t that be something…

Imagine if we respected each other and all the elements of this world that give us life.
The air we breathe, the earth who feeds, shelters and sustains us, the rain which gives us water, the oceans who enable rain and protect the earth.

We might innovate in different ways.

We might slow down for a bit and take a breath, we might even appreciate the fact that we’re able to do so.

We might realise that we are quite vulnerable in the context of the natural world and lean into that rather than building bigger defence mechanisms.

If we lean in we can sense the ebb and flow of water, we can feel the heartbeat of the whenua, we can sense the levels of mauri in the places we frequent and make decisions accordingly. We might even curb our greed if we could just lean in and sniff the air, sense the changes in energies and consider the needs of others.


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On a day to day basis what is important to me is that my whānau know that I love them deeply. Not because I wrote it in a card once, but because they see me often enough to know. Because I’m always glad to see them and I will always be in their corner, even when they have stuffed up really badly

It’s important to me that I remember their birthdays and celebrate the fact that they are here, that they arrived, that they are precious to me.

It’s important to me that I am mindful and grateful for the things in my life that keep my feet on the ground, that teach me humility, strength, resilience, courage, these are of course are never the cool and easy things, these are the things sent to test us, poke and prod at us, shove and hurt us.

Most of all what’s important to me is that all that it is to be a Māori woman in this world is celebrated by me, is lived to the fullest that such an existence can live and never ever allows me to opt out of my responsibilities as a daughter of Papatuanuku, of Maui, of Rauru, of Toi, of Hinetapora, of Houia.

Whats critically important to me is that I strive each day to be a good whanaunga and a good tipuna in every sense that I can imagine, in every way possible and in so doing reject the idea that my culture has no relevance in its country of origin, and celebrate what it is to be Maori.


Glenis Philip-Barbara
October 2017