Our Maori Ancestors incorporated much of their natural environment into their daily lives. This meant nothing was used or taken without first giving thanks to the individual Kaitiaki (guardian) who protected that particular resource. Karakia (blessings) and rituals were always carried out prior to hunting, gathering or harvesting. For example, it was customary to offer the first catch to Tangaroa (guardian of the oceans), or the first bird snared to Tane (guardian of the forests). Giving thanks for the gifts provided by the various Kaitiaki was a very big deal and failure to do so was an absolute violation.

Rahui was (is) a monitoring system of protection and regeneration which restricted access to certain areas for the purpose of replenishing resources. It was used often to prevent carelessness and exploitation of the gifts produced by the Atua (Gods), especially that of Papatuanuku (Earth Mother). The obligation to conserve and care for her well-being was taken very seriously.

Gratitude plays an important role in attaining a harmonious balance. Our mental, physical and spiritual aspects of our being rely on it in order for us to shine brighter and grow stronger. Acknowledging and appreciating the things we have in life - our lessons, gifts, the experiences we accumulate along our chosen pathway, is what gratitude is all about. Because essentially, the more we are in a state of thankfulness, the more we will attract the things we appreciate. This means noticing what is around us and experiencing the present - feeling the oneness of being alive!
(Excerpt from NIU - He Tangata Matauhi, Voices of our Ancestors)