have been on an ongoing journey of self-discovery. I grew up knowing my maternal grandfather's indigenous Cook Island Māori heritage, however I knew little of my Māori whakapapa or biological father’s Cook Island Māori heritage. As a result, I undertook this journey to find out 'who I am' and how I belong in the world. This article I will describe key experiences and people that have impacted my life, and explain how these experiences have influenced my interest in my identity. Having experienced this journey to reclaim my identity, I now realize my mana. Therefore, I acknowledge and celebrate my identity. My identity is taonga, and as a Māori and Cook Island Māori man I believe I am privileged with my birth right. My indigenous practice is the promotion of Māori and indigenous identity for the positive development of Māori and indigenous youth. In this essay, I will argue that having a strong sense of identity strengthens an individual's mana and the mana of the individual's family.
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