Our Journey: The Toroa, the Royal Southern Albatross

The Toroa, the Royal Southern Albatross, is a seafaring bird, native to New Zealand. They breed on cliffs down south and when they leave their nesting grounds they can remain out at sea for up to three years. They use the wind currents for lift and ride them through calm weather and storms. Eventually these currents return them safely home.

For various iwi, the Toroa is a symbol of peace and strength soaring above the heavens as a protector of the people.

The Royal Commission is inspired by the spirit, the grace and the journey of the Toroa. It serves as a reminder to remain steadfast in the face of adversity and to have the courage to face the storms that may lie ahead.

The Royal Commission, like the Toroa, is about to embark on a long journey. We must lean into the wind currents and trust that while they will sweep us far offshore the same gusts will bring us safely back to land.

The Toroa feather has special significance. Toroa feathers were carefully woven into the inside of blankets to provide warmth, comfort, security and refuge from the elements. The Toroa feathers represent a lightness that the Royal Commission hopes could lift the weight of some of the pain that survivors carry with them. The Commission, like the feathers, may provide some warmth where previously there was only chill.

The circle form of the Toroa motif signifies life, togetherness and community; past, present and future. The Commission will look back to ensure the safety of the children of the future.

This is what we share with the Toroa.

This story was inspired by artist Kenney-Jean Sidwell’s work  "He waka Toroa"