Well another month has been and gone whanau and with September here, it means we are three quarters of the way through the year! Where has it gone! Ive been a bit sick lately so I’ve had to miss a few classes here and there, and if you are keeping up with my page you would have seen the video and pictures I put up from the most recent class and one-day wananga we had.
A lot of the focus of the day was on whakapapa and powhiri that day so it was really good to hear some different korero, and also to cement a few of the things I already knew. I always enjoy when we combine with the other classes because its more korero and more perspectives that I may not otherwise get.
After hunting around for a while, looking for a maori-based after school care for my nieces while im at work, I managed to find one right in the middle of town. Now that my nieces have learnt a basic pepeha and tatai whakapapa, I want to add to that by introducing them to more Maori tikanga and values, which this particular after school care does so im really happy ive found it.
Im slowly winning the war over control of the remote control so bit by bit there is more and more maori television playing in the house – and they have started asking questions about the odd kapa haka performance and show here and there so Im also learning what exactly piques their interest.
We all went out to the marae for a meeting today and there was some excellent korero about the state of the marae and how we are planning to move forward into the future. While we as a committee are sitting there having these discussions, which inevitably turn to whakapapa, I realise the sounds im hearing are my nieces playing happily with their cousins – whom they have met for the first time – and as if right on que, my cousin mentions how part of what keeps him tied to the marae are his memories of being there as a child, creating those whanaunga moments. So plenty of good korero, good aroha, and of course good kai to create some awesome memories – and then I get home and start looking at the minutes I need to type up J
So, the hot topic of the day seems to be refugees, and whether NZ should accept more of them. Now I fully understand these refugees are fleeing for their lives, I can’t imagine the horrors of what they must be going through in their daily lives, living in war-torn countries, having governments that are abhorrent. These innocent people are simply trying to survive. Having said that, I feel our people of today are fighting the same battle but with themselves, and after much thought and debate on the topic, my personal opinion is that the quota for more refugees should not be raised. The hardest part about coming to that decision is the fact that it is in direct contradiction to the ideals of Manaakitanga and aroha.
Personally, while I try to uphold those ideals as best I can, I recognise the difference between doing that, and, for want of a better term, being taken advantage of. As a people, Maori are generally too caring, and too giving I think, hence the ideals of Manaakitanga and Aroha in the first place. But there is such a thing as giving too much, and helping too much. Increasing the quota is simply a band aid solution I think to a large scale and world-wide problem. Not to mention the fact that the governments’ motivations behind it are anything but caring. Their ‘job’ after all (and I use that term loosely) is to always look at things from the perspective of the country as a whole, which is not necessarily the same as from a caring or ‘do the right thing’ viewpoint.
The number of immigrants in NZ is already high, and all the refugees in the country would obviously add to that in the long run. Refugees who would eventually assimilate into mainstream society, and possibly even become voting citizens – my belief is that as a result of that, the Maori voices of Aotearoa would be further watered down and left to the wayside. The lure of mainstream consumerism/colonialism has already had an irreversible affect on our rangatahi, I believe we need to find the middle ground between the two. A middle ground that cannot be found when there are an excess of outside/foreign voices.
As a victim of racism in the past, and having seen things from the perspective of both being an immigrant, and an emigrant, this is just my own personal opinion on the topic. When your neighbour is constantly knocking on your door asking for assistance for this or that, a line has to be drawn somewhere. There are a lot of other countries who would welcome refugees and good on those countries for being able to do so I say, but NZ is not ready, and some of our own people are in dire need of assistance, people who could be considered refugees in their own country, so I think we need to help them first and clean up our own backyard. In the perfect future, that would change, but not as it stands today I don’t think.
Apologies if this has offended anyone, and before anyone calls racism, I would like to point out that if that were the case, I would be calling to deport all immigrants in the country, or something else ridiculous of the same nature, but Im not saying that at all. I recognise a lot of immigrants bring excellent skills to the workforce, and even assist in boosting economy, but as I said, a line needs to be drawn I think. And whether you agree or disagree, I hope I have started a conversation, after all, that is the start to getting involved, and thereby making change. Prove me wrong if you can, and I will eat my words and apologise, hopefully in the process it will be the start to some people looking into their own roots and Maoritanga, and thereby increasing that voice throughout Aotearoa.
Ka nui te aroha ki nga tangata katoa o te motu. Ahakoa, ki a mau, ki a u, ki a manawa nui.
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.