There are more cautionary notes in Maoridom dealing with mana than you could shake the proverbial stick at. It is a source of both personal and collective strength, pride and identity. Mishandled, it becomes the bearer of shame, ridicule and embarrassment. If mana allows us to walk tall, then it also casts a long shadow — humility. To write about mana can be likened to picking blackberries: it's not a job for the barefooted, the fruit is sweet but fragile, and don't upset your neighbour — stick to your own patch. In other words, draw on your experiences, not those of others. Chris Winitana, journalist and student of Maoritanga, is a blackberry picker from way back.