Well whanau, my days of being free and single are over…..Two young nieces of mine are now living with me. I didn’t realise it was possible for a person to be so excited and scared about the same thing at the same time ☺ I think the prospect that excites me the most is that these particular nieces were raised as Mormon.
They haven’t had any major maori influence in their lives and Im looking forward to sharing the beauty of Te Ao maori with them. With Matariki coming up we will be going to the festival as well.
In case you didn’t notice, I actually didn’t do a blog last month – sorry about that. Between work, classes, and making arrangements for my nieces, there were a lot of late nights and early mornings! The good thing is now things are settling back down, I’ve managed to get some routine back. I’ve started teaching my nieces their basic pepeha, and whakapapa and showing them how to use my rakau set too. Its going really well so far, they love it ☺
I was looking back over some past blogs and I realised it has been about a year since I officially started them. A whole 12 months! Granted I stopped writing them over Christmas but this time last year I was going to noho every weekend it seemed, because I was doing two different courses, one through my marae, and the other through Te Wananga o Aotearoa. A year later, I’m graduating from the Tikanga Marae course this week, my reo has picked up significantly (despite the lack of people I can actually korero with on a daily basis) and I now have the opportunity to share what I know of my maoritanga with my nieces who, if they weren’t with me, would more than likely be two more maori rangatahi who don’t know where they’re from, or who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I still have so much to learn, and a long way to go, but after nearly packing up and going back to Australia myself during the Christmas holidays, I’m feeling a lot more secure in what I do know and what I have learnt so far. I would not have been able to say that six months ago.
Not so long ago, I attended a hui on Tuhorunuku. Whether you are for, or against this, if you are Ngapuhi (or even if you aren’t but are interested), you should be getting informed. I personally follow both the Tuhorunuku, and the Te Kotahitanga o Nga hapu Ngapuhi pages. In my opinion, with a majority of Aotearoa being made up of Ngapuhi, imagine how many of our people the settlements would affect?? Add to that the reforms of the Ture Whenua act and where will we be in six months? Twelve months? A few years? Things could be very different and to me that is plenty of reason to keep up to date at the least. Not to mention the personal shares of land that my brothers and I have succeeded to and how the reforms will affect us personally as well as our Marae as a whole.
As for the whole Sonny Tau debacle, well, disappointed does not even begin to cover it. Generally speaking, Ngapuhi have a bad enough reputation throughout the rest of Aotearoa, without one of our leaders blatantly doing things like this. Cultural practices aside, Kereru are an endangered species. We have already lost enough of our native animals and wildlife to the effects of colonisation, so to have the chairman of our Runanga do something like this is absolutely beyond me. Having said that, if the birds weren’t an endangered species, I feel it would be a completely different matter. I have seen a petition online calling for his resignation, which, while I understand, decided against signing it personally after much consideration. Now before you call me a hypocrite, let me say this. Sonny Tau has helped Ngapuhi make some major advances, and his expertise and skills are not only essential to assisting Ngapuhi on track to a progressive future (let alone recovering from this), but I think the loss of not having him there do outweigh the benefits of a crusade against him. I would need to do more research myself but I’m wondering what the chances are of the Kereru coming off the endangered species list at some point. Obviously not if things like this keep happening, but when industrial fisheries rape the oceans and then sell the contents at a profit in your local supermarket, which battle is bigger? Maybe I’m just advocating a bit of mercy? If he’s looking at jail time and fines though, I’m fairly certain he will be paying the price, and that’s all I’ll say about that sorry affair.
My nieces and I went to the annual Matariki Festival this weekend just been. They got their faces painted to look like Ta Moko, they made lanterns and put their wishes for the new year inside. We looked at some artwork, saw one of the local schools doing kapa haka, as well as a performance by the Jgeeks. Heard some locals playing traditional Pukaea, Putatara etc (trumpet and conch shell), and saw some raranga as well. I explained to them significance of Matariki and what exactly it means, and while they understood it in essence I think, it was a lot to take in all at once. I have to keep reminding myself to go through things with them in small doses ☺ But either way, they had lots of fun. I’ll be putting pics and videos up my page at some point this weekend so be sure to have a look.
Something else I’m also doing is posting weekly updates of my classes onto the Te Wananga o Aotearoa – Te Tai Tokerau page as well as my own page, and also He Maori Ahau: I am Maori. Just to give people an inside, in-depth look at what it’s like studying at TWOA. These go up every week, usually on the weekend, although this week’s class will be the last one for a couple weeks due to school holidays and I did have to miss a few classes when things were really crazy sorting my nieces.
But I think that’s about it for another month whanau. As usual, feel free to contact me via the page though. Be good to each other, be good to yourselves, and remember, tika, pono, aroha. Ko au te whanau, ko te whanau ko au (I am my family, and my family is me)
For today’s modern Maori, the choice to learn and embrace their maoritanga isn’t 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, it’s 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, I’m 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 don’t 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.