For todays modern Maori, the choice to learn and embrace their maoritanga isnt a process that happens overnight. More often than not, there is a catalyst, a starter, someone or something that leads you to ask questions. Something that makes you ask yourself what it is to be Maori.

I can think of many people asking these questions, but where to go for answers? For an Australian-born maori (or mozzie) such as myself, the massiveness of these questions, and Te Ao Maori in general (The Maori World) can seem like a dark hole of unknown mystery. How to begin? Who to speak to? What will be expected of me?

While I would never dictate how a person should live their life, what I can share is how I am personally approaching it. From a self-proclaimed mozzie point of view. Detailing the highs and lows, the places I visit, and the people along the way. From someone that generally had a pakeha upbringing, its a complete shift in how you view the world.

Who am I to be writing this you may ask. Why keep reading? What is it about my opinions that merit your consideration? well, Im a little political, and a little crazy. I have a lot to learn and my opinions are just that – opinions. They are not gospel, they are not law. I dont aim to discredit anyone, but more to share my experiences with those who are interested. If one person reads this and decides to look into maoritanga for themselves, ill be happy. Check out my facebook page missmaorigal for more updates and information.

I should state from the start that at present I am semi-fluent in te reo so apologies in advance for any and all types of errors I may write. Obviously I will make all efforts to avoid any possible mistakes in the first place though. Not only with the language, but everything I write overall. My mother is Ngati Hari from Taumarunui, and my father is Ngapuhi from Nukutawhiti. This is my journey of discovery to find out what that means to me, Missmaorigal.

To start with, I thought it would be a good idea to quickly go over everything ive covered previously for any new readers. Then following that, my opinion on Maori voters, sovereignty, and comparisons between the aboriginals of Australia, and us Maori here in Aotearoa. The ties of whanau and how thats coming through in my coursework is something else I will also touch on.

10299567_10152158935673722_6809860299639213845_nIn the beginning I wanted this blog to detail my journey into my maoritanga and the various things Im learning along the way. From my perspective as someone who was raised with very little maori influence and in another country. It soon became apparent though that an opinion blog would be a better description. Ive shared my views on rituals of welcome and farewells (Powhiri and Poroporoaki) urbanisation, colonisation, mana, tapu, whanau, hapu, marae, tikanga, core maori values, nga atua maori, maori language week, matariki, roles of tane and wahine and the relationship between the two. Mau rakau, te whare tapu o ngapuhi, kaawai raupapa and more. The core values of maoridom and everything it entails can open a new world if you are willing to look into it and learn from it I think. And I plan to do just that for many years to come.

What have I learnt in the past month or so? What have you learnt? The election has been and gone, and for me it was a massive double-blow. Not only did National get in again, but Hone Harawira was ousted. Nothing could be further from what I had hoped to have happen. I also learnt a lot about the NZ government system thats for sure, and in some ways whanau politics are no less intricate. Not long ago I attended a whanau wananga, and having learnt a fair amount of whakapapa this year, im usually somewhat confidant when im being asked. All that went out the window when we were asked to expand on the whakapapa we knew and branch out even further. (Add that to the homework list!) I have been to regular noho all year long and that particular one was without a doubt one of the most intense. Generally speaking, Ive always done things by myself, on my own. Thats just what im used to and who I am. Well, realising that it doesnt necessarily have to be like that, getting to know my wider whanau better, well thats the point of it all really. I mean its one thing to know the names of your whanau, but getting to know who they are as people and functioning as a whanau is a different matter altogether.

Something else that ive been thinking about is the number of Maori people out there who dont vote because they dont feel the need to. Their maori sovereignty means they vote for no one. If you are one of those people then thats completely up to you. Personally though, if there is one thing ive learnt from the similarities between the aboriginal and Maori, sovereignty is not a physical thing voting is. You can claim your sovereignty until your blue in the face but at the end of the day, if its not working we need to stand up and get involved so that our sovereignty becomes real and tangible. That to me is claiming my sovereignty. There were horrific atrocities against the aboriginal people and I firmly believe that if the Maori people werent as hearty as we are the same thing could have happened to us. The differences between kiwi and maori culture is the same problem the aboriginals have between the differences of the aboriginal and aussie cultures. Keeping in mind that I was born in Australia and as ive said before, its given me a different and unique outlook on things I think. My point is yes claim your sovereignty, but stay informed and involved. Then use your sovereignty/maoritanga to guide you in both worlds.

10338299_242963559232564_8621178719469995290_nAs we get closer to the end of the year, and my tikanga marae course. Ive started looking at my options for next year. I really want to pick up my reo so Ill be doing something along those lines. Currently we are looking in depth at tangihanga and other marae functions. Im at the point where I need to look in depth at my own marae and find out the tikanga of those. Learning about a marae in general is one thing, learning about the specific practices of your own marae and the histories and beliefs behind it are another. The whanau noho I mentioned previously had a lot of korero specific to our hapu/marae and learning about it makes that connection even more present. Those are part of the links that tie use together as a wider whanau/hapu/iwi I believe.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our assessments for the whanau noho I have been participating in throughout the year. We were given the day to prepare a formal korero which we had to stand and deliver that night. Our korero had to include a formal mihi, reciting a karakia, our pepeha, minimum of 3 generations of whakapapa, and then a couple minutes speaking on the kaupapa assigned to us whanau. It sounds like a lot I know and when I realised how much work was required I had a small panic attack! But then because of all the whakapapa I have learnt this year, along with the karakia/waiata I have picked up, as well as the fact my reo has improved, luckily it wasnt as hard as I expected (que victory trumpets).

Before I sign off I also wanted to apologise for not keeping these blogs as regular as planned. I have had several major changes in the past few months and things are pretty crazy to say the least. If you arent already, look up the page He Maori Ahau: I am Maori on facebook whilst its not one of my personal pages, I have recently been made an administrator of it and so it has opened me up to a much wider audience J Because of some major dramas recently Ive had to put a lot of things on hold but things are settling down again and I can get back into the swing of it. Unfortunately its put me behind on my merchandise as well.

Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me via the facebook link above. Unfortunately I havent been able to get online regularly because of outside circumstances but Im working on fixing that as soon as possible.