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He Toto, He Kanohi
May 31, 2014 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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He Toto, He Kanohi

I te ao hurihuri nei, kua whakaputa ngā āhuatanga matatini o te tuakiri o te tangata.  Ehara i te tika te nuinga o ngā kōrero o ināianei e pā ana ki tēnei kaupapa, ā, kua kore te kiri me te kanohi e whakaatu mai te tohu o te tangata Māori. He tuitui nō ngā whakapapa rerekē ki a rātou anō.

Aue, ka aha a Police 10/7???

Heoi anō, ka aha kē te hunga Māori? E ai ki ngā whakaaro pūmau o nāianei, he pono tēnei mea te ‘tangata Māori tūturu’. Nā, he Māori tōna āhua, ka taea te kōrero Māori, ka mutu, ka mahi tika ia i ngā tikanga me ngā kawa o te ao Māori.

He rerekē te kōrero mō ō tātou whakapapa. Nā, i te tuitui ngā kete kahukura ki te harakeke o ngā iwi, ngā ahurea me ngā whakapono rerekē. He tohu tēnei mō ā tātou rata ki te moe i ngā tāngata kē, kia puta ai ngā pēpi taharua. Nō reira, nā te aha kei te kaha pono tonu tātou ki ngā tuakiri parakore?

Kāore anō te tuakiri ka noho i tōna kāinga tūturu, arā ki ō tātou whatumanawa, kua whakanoho kē i tētahi momo ‘āwhata’.

He hawhe Māori koe, he whakatekau ahau, mea mea mea…

He kōrero whakaiti tēnei ki te hunga Māori, nā, ko te waimemeha o te toto Māori (ehara ko te toto Pākehā) he taputapu e whakakahangia ngā tohe kaikiri. He mahi pēhi anō tēnei, engari ko te pūtaio kē te pū.

Kua kore te toto Māori (i tūturu katoa ai) e rere i roto i te tangata…

Ki te aro te pono o te ahurea me te tuakiri Māori ki te paihēneti o te toto, ka whakaitia hoki te tinana o te tangata e honohono ana ki te ao Māori. Ka mutu, he tohe tēnei e whakawetongia ngā mahi whakapakari mō te hunga Māori.

Me te aha anō, ka piri mātou, whakangungu ai ki ō mātou tuakiri Māori, ahakoa ō mātou hononga ki ngā ahurea atu. I roto i te ao Māori, ehara i te tūturu tāku whakamahi i te tuakiri Māori, engari ki te taha Pākehā, he Māori rawa au. Nā reira, kei hea ahau e noho ana? Ko te ngako o tēnei kōrero, he māmā ake mēnā kōwhiria e koe te tuakiri kōtahi.

Kāore e whakamanawa tēnei i te tangata, nā ka noho mōriroriro ētahi tāngata, he whakahē nō rātou ki ēnei whakaaro.

Nā reira, kāore te matū o te tuakiri e noho ana i te toto.  Kāore e taea te toto te whakamōhio ngā wheako o te tangata taharua, tahatoru, tahawhā rānei. Ka whakahāngaingia kē ngā ture, pēhi ai i te tangata kia whakamau ai te kahu kōpaki o te tuakiri.

Me tīnihia tēnei whakaaro pōhehe, kia pīngore kē ai te tuakiri o te tangata. Ko te tūmanako, ka taea te kōwhiri i ngā mea o te ahurea hei whakaatu, hei whakamōhio i te tangata anō. Ahakoa ngā ahurea, te taiaroaro, tō hoa moe, ahakoa te hāhi hoki, kei a koe anake tō tuakiri.

Nā, pērā i ngā hanga i whakakaha ai mō te wā e rū ana te whenua, me wānanga te hunga Māori kia nekeneke pū i tēnei whenua tītaktaka e tāwakawaka ana.

 

True Blood

In a society in which identities are becoming ever more complex, simplistic definitions are yet to catch up with reality. Physical cues such as brown skin and familiar facial features are seen struggling to act as signifiers of ‘Māoriness’, and multiracial identities have become the reality for most New Zealanders.

My God, what is Police 10/7 going to do???

Nevertheless, we remain faithful to the concept of ‘real Māori’; someone who tends to look Māori, speak te reo, and perform their Māoriness in line with prescribed expectations.

But our whakapapa are often much more progressive than we are.

As vibrant kete, weaved with the harakeke of different iwi, ethnicities, religions and so on, they remind us that we have always produced diverse babies. So why, then, do we get so hung up on ‘pure identity categories’?

At some point in time, cultural identity was removed from its intangible residence in our hearts and minds, and placed into a quantifiable measurement of ‘blood ratio’. This isn’t about whakapapa, or real peoples’ experiences: this is about science as colonisation.

Read: I’m one-eighth Māori from my mum’s side, LOL.

This works against Māori in many ways, where the ‘diluted’ state of Māori blood (and it’s always Māori, not Pākehā blood that is diluted) is constantly used to justify anti-Māori agendas:

Read: There aren’t any more full-blooded Māoris left anyway…

Statements like this serve to delegitimise Māori culture by claiming that full-bloodedness determines its ‘authenticity’, and are often used as arguments against cultural policy seeking to uplift Māori people.

As a result, people like myself feel the need to cling defensively to our Māori identity in order to adopt the guise of belonging to a distinct and authentic body, all the while having to deal with the conundrum that is our ‘inauthentic identity’.

Read: What ARE you exactly?

Well, I’m often not Māori enough to satisfactorily assume a Māori identity, and too brown to call myself Pākehā. So where on Earth do I fit in? The reality is, it’s easier if you choose one identity and just stick with it.

Not mentioning the effect that this has on one’s self-esteem, those who see no pride or relevance in affiliating themselves with a strict cultural identity are alienated.

This is why a blood-quantum approach to cultural identity is unproductive, as it fails to accurately reflect the experiences of multiracial Māori people. It ascribes expectations on Māori subjects to live authentic lives within a framework of expectation that ignores the reality of their multiracial identities, and pretty much guarantees performative failure.

Read: Plurality only exists across cultures, not within them. Duh.

Ideally, cultural identity would be seen as a fluid entity, affording agency to those who choose to adopt different aspects and levels of identities as their own.

This looks to a future where ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation and religion don’t have to be put in order of importance or exist in mutual exclusion from each other, and where they don’t necessarily have to affect one’s choices and freedoms both within an affiliated group and within a wider public context.

With this in mind, I believe cultural groups should choose to imitate earthquake-proofed buildings, skilfully moving with the undulating and uncertain earth that is identity.

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