Dan is an eager learner about his whakapapa and ancestry, on both sides of his family.
His father is pakeha and has connections in Scotland and Ireland, while his mother is Māori and Dan is connected to the lands of South Taranaki, Rotorua and Wairua through her and his grandmother.
A big part of his Māori whakapapa that he talks about is Turi Arikinui who was the captain of the Aotea waka which landed 650 years ago on Aotearoa’s shores from Raiātea formerly known as Rangiātea. A key connection to his ancestors that he highlights is his connection to karaka berries and groves, which Turi Arikinui brought to Aotearoa, 650 years ago. Dan mentions how these karaka grooves are scattered from Auckland down to South Taranaki, of which he can go to visit, which fills his cup and is a key connection to his ancestors that he values.
Dan was born in Christchurch but growing up felt very disconnected from his Māori heritage, which resulted in him wanting to grow more of an understanding about his Māori whakapapa and who he was within that. He did this through many experiences and resources but one, in particular, was his grandmother, who had a papakainga close to their Marae in South Taranaki, which helped him connect to who he was, where he came from and his whānau and community in south Taranaki.
On his father’s side, he connects to Scottish and Irish Heritage, which he also values, not only as a part of his whakapapa but when he visited he was lucky enough to experience that manaakitanga that they shared together and is so grateful to have been able to connect to special places and feel the sense of belonging to the land even across the world!
A key part for Dan and his Identity is knowing that both sides of his whakapapa help form who he is today, he believes it is so important to know not only who you are but where you come from. Dan also really loves the whakaaro “everything is in your ancestry”, which Dan talks about being a key piece of his identity journey, is knowing what has come before you to be able to move forward with your own identity.