Self-sufficiency is a skill Pania Tepaiho Marsh of Tokomaru, New Zealand, believes everyone should master. It changed her life, after all.
The 38-year-old knows what it’s like to be completely dependent on someone else — and how that can render a person helpless. Years ago, the Māori mom felt powerless after leaving a bad relationship. But today, she’s empowering other women to feed their families on their own!
Pania learned what a healthy relationship was supposed to look like when she met her husband Haaka. But her confidence remained at an all-time low… until the New Zealand army rifleman brought her along on a hunting trip.
There, she discovered a peace she had never known before — and a way to make sure her kids never went hungry.
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“He gave me a priceless skill,” she told The Guardian. “I’ll never be dependent on anyone else again.”
A few years ago, Pania decided to pay it forward to other women, particularly those who rely on welfare and food banks to feed their families. So she began hosting weekend hunting trips she calls Wahine Toa Hunting, the first two words of which mean “strong, brave women.”
When she first offered to pass along her knowledge on Facebook, hundreds of women signed up. Now, there are 3,500 names on her waiting list!
The hardworking mom never charges for her services. She’s not interested in making a profit; she wants to give other parents the gift of independence.
“If you’re dependent on the state or a partner to feed you, you’ve handed over your independence to someone else, and that’s plain scary,” she explained. “You honestly feel like you can’t get out of it because you’re living week-to-week, sometimes day-to-day, depending on how bad it is. And you’ve handed your power over.
I want to break that dependency. When families fall apart, the kids so often end up with the women. We need to make sure those women — especially in an economic crisis like COVID — that these women are fine, that they can still feed their kids.
Not only is Pania helping women put food on their tables, but she’s also empowering them to live their best lives. Priceless skill, indeed!
Learn more about this sisterhood of hunting in the video below, and share this incredible example of women supporting women.
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