Respecting lineage and genealogy

The notion of respecting and valuing relationships, lineage, kinship, and how things are connected is central to many Te Moananui Oceania ways of seeing the world. Many Atua, and elements of their realms, such as rivers, mountains, plants, animals, and people are understood to be intricately connected in various complex lineages and genealogical relationships. The concept of whakapapa (Aotearoa New Zealand, ‘akapapa‘anga (Cook Islands), and the practice of making Tohi Hohoko(Tonga; genealogy ropes, or books or charts) are examples of the importance of genealogy or lineage in Te Moananui Oceania. These are foundational identity concepts, where individuals and communities understand their place in the world and their obligations to each other and living systems. Through the importance of lineage,  elements of the realms of Atua become interconnected and many of these are woven into genealogies. Plants, animals, and rivers are not just natural resources; they are kin, sharing common ancestry with humans. In some traditions, certain species of animals or plants, such the kūmara (sweet potato) for example, have their own whakapapa (geneology) that connects them to Atua. People can be literally related to the ocean, rivers, mountains and other parts of the living world in Aotearoa New Zealand for example, while Kanak peoples of New Caledonia have various clan totems connecting them to elements of the natural world. This perspective emphasizes the importance of reciprocity, stewardship, and interconnectedness in relationships between humans and nature. It fosters a sense of responsibility towards nature, guiding practices and coexistence, and reflects a holistic worldview that is central to many Te Moananui Oceania cultures. The following nature-based solutions may be useful in an agenda of respecting lineage, genealogy, and native biodiversity.