May 15, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Hasnt it ever occurred to anyone that maybe, just maybe, they got it wrong?


Every day, students are provided theories to give evidence to logic and ones state of mind, giving it meaning and justification. Well, we all know not all theories prove to be evident in the end. When we decide to challenge an idea there will always be a theory to contradict that challenge and thatll be the end of it. Like for example, where Pacific Island people come from.

Now dont get me wrong, I dont have a written theory to back my argument up- nor can I challenge existing theories written by American/German/Scottish/English/Canadian theorists (who I might add have never step foot on Pacific Island soil).

What I can do is perhaps share with you my thoughts on where we come from and who we are.

We all know Pacific Island languages have no official written language. History, whakapapa and matauranga (or evidence I guess) have been brought down from generation to generation orally, so the odds of us proving something in a western society is difficult to comprehend for outsider. Nevertheless, we must not dismiss this form of teaching; rather we must incorporate Pacific Island sovereignty into the New Zealand constitution.

On his arrival to Aotearoa, Captain James Cook thought Maori showed physical similarities to that of the Taiwanese people. Other early settlers believed Maori were of Greek and Egyptian descent, Missionaries believed Maori were of Jewish descent, and my personal favourite- the Aryan Theory believes Maori derive from Indian descent. Fijian people are told they are descended from East Africa, Samoans from Southeast Asia, Hawaiians from the Marquesas Islands, Tahitians from South America, Tonga from Nukuleka, and Papua New Guineans from the Ethiopian Highlands. The list of where weve been told we come from I believe is becoming a danger to the development of the Pacific Island history, culture and sovereignty.

Western theories on the origin of the Pacific Island people should be called western assumptions. Being told I may be part Egyptian/African/Jewish/Greek is in my view- obscenely unreliable. Western assumptions do not take oral teachings of the Indigenous evidence into consideration nor is it acknowledged fairly and just. The lesson has been that any culturally creative efforts we do make will only meet with failure. For every problem there is a solution, but Western culture has led us to believe otherwise. They have formulated illusory barriers to Pacific Island sovereignty stemming from the hidden agenda of their culture; that things are more important than people and that oneself is more important than the whole.

PNGYes its scientifically proven that we have similar features to that of the Taiwanese people, but we also have similar features to that of Tahitian, Samoan, Hawaiian people. Does that mean we come from there as well? But that contradicts other theories of where Hawaiians come from. If Hawaiians come from the Marquesas Islands and Maori from Taiwan, then why for thousands of years have we preached the same gods? Over the years I have spoken to many Native academics across the Pacific Ocean, each with a similar reply as to where we came from. Most say that without the so-called theories implemented by Western theorists, at some point in time all Pacific Island people were of the same origin. Every single Pacific Island nation has extreme similarities between each other ranging from cultural practices to features, from language to values, from traditional food to formal celebrations. Why can this not be considered a theory you say? This comes down to ignorance and power. Taking the word of a Fijian man from Viseisei with no written evidence over a white-educated American is unlikely to occur.

The power is taken from the indigenous people and snatched by the white supremacist.

The strength of the white opposition will be allayed by the fact that Pacific Island sovereignty will not be taken seriously. Absolute conviction in the superiority of white culture will not allow most white people to even consider the possibility.

Twin TongaEvery Island nation I have visited I find myself taking off my shoes when I enter a house, I may not speak Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean or Cook Island but I can sure well understand what theyre saying, each nation has a similar welcoming and funeral ceremony- heck I cant count the number of times Ive been mistaken for a Cook Islander, Tahitian, Hawaiian or Fijian. So maybe, just maybe they got it wrong. That after years of human development with the White race, we too developed and spread across the Pacific Ocean branching off the same reo, same value and belief. Its still there; it just takes time and close analysing to see it. It is harder too given the creative potential of our people has been stunted beyond belief. However, egalitarianism still exists within the human condition.

It is completely insane for one to identify another individual whom they have never met. Does my identity lie in the hands of a theory which was written by an American? A Missionary? An early settler? The answer lies in whakapapa, matauranga and Te Ao Tawhito. It doesnt lie in a book, on a piece of paper or in the hands of a Westerner. It belongs to the people of that nation. Ive always known myself to be Maori- and a proud one at that. So when Im told that I come from China, Taiwan or Africa, this is a reinforcement of the level of ignorance, arrogance, disconnectedness and plain stupidness within many societies today. It saddens me that we as Pacific Island people now consider each other neighbours rather than brothers and sisters. It is my belief that we are truly one in the same with an increasing level of development over the many thousands of years. It is vital that we do not dismiss this fact. It is time for the people of the Pacific Islands to begin creating our own identity through the knowledge of our ancestors.

Samon manSince the beginning of colonisation Pacific Island people have engaged in a holding operation to reinforce those remnants of our cultural existence which we still retain to ensure their survival. Many of these efforts have been fragmented by the hand of the white intelligence. No longer are our cultural teachings validated in a society which is driven by globalisation, evidence and technology. The new objective is simply that we Pacific Island people must take up all space and all time. We must reconnect those parts of our heritage that have been disconnected from us. Intermediary objectives have to take into account where we are now. With no illusions. The new sets of goals have to do with whakapapa and tribal and whanau roots that transcend space so that time becomes the dimension of reality.

Too long have we been told who we are, what we should be, how we need to look, even going as far as making the oppressed seem like the oppressor (reverse-racism anyone)? Too long have they told us there is equal rights between the colonised and coloniser. Too long have we been told to move on and forget the past when the past still affects us today. Too long have we been told that we come from Africa! The last time I checked, no Pacific Islander ever created the identity and origin of the white culture. This isnt a matter of whos to blame but rather we as the people of these nations rise above the occasion. The only decent advice Ive ever held strongly to my beliefs is this, Education is the key to success. Simple. Effective. We, the pacific Island people must teach each other education in one form or another; from working on the marae, to returning to our homeland to nourishing the lands growth, to educating rangatahi within our community, to attend high school and university, and to teach the lessons that have been passed down by our tipuna. This is the way forward for our people. We can either sit back and watch our sovereignty be taken off us by the hand of the white race or we can take the initiative and make radical decisions for the benefit and survival of our nation. It is the right of all peoples to dream dreams for themselves; believe in them and make them a reality. This is the right we reclaim in reinforcing the separate reality of our ancestors and making it our own. To do this is to take the first step toward Pacific Island sovereignty.

Kiwa Huata

HongiKiwa Huata has just completed her Bachelor of Business degree double majoring in Economics and International Business. Being raised on the Marae she has witnessed and experienced the tragedy of Tino Rangatiratanga due to the rise of capitalism, globalization, western influence and the loss of sovereignty since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Her strengths are in Maori sovereignty, Maori Economic Development, Treaty claims and Macroeconomic frameworks. She is an advocate for Maori, students and women. She is currently in the Hawkes Bay working on behalf of the Ngati Rahuna i te Rangi hapu on the Water claim and Racism claim. She intends on beginning her Masters in Business at the University of Harvard in 2015. She is 21 years of age.

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