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September 11, 2017 | by  | in Features |
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Where Are You From?

Nā Tipene Kapa-Kingi, Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui, Te Whānau a Apanui


FEATURE - Where Are You From- — Tipene


Where are you from? An innocent question. For most, there’s no deep thought process in answering. We Māori spend a lot of time internalising an answer. Given the rich history of te iwi Māori, there’s a myriad of possibilities.

Mā te tau o tō mauri te whakautu e kōwhiri. Ka whakaaro ētahi he Māori anō te Māoritanga ki te iwi Māori nei. Engari, kei te hahua tonutia tō tātou Māoritanga i te rua hōhonu o neherā. Ko etahi o Ngāi Māori kāore tonu i te mōhio ki ō rātou pakiaka, me pēhea kē tō rātou tupu?

As Māori, identity and whakapapa are the very fibres of our existence. Not knowing where you’re from is like not knowing what your name is. However, a large portion of Māori are disconnected from places and people in which they would seek identity. There’s an even larger portion who are disconnected from our reo and tikanga. This is partly attributable to the urbanisation period in which Māori whānau moved from their haukāinga to urban areas to find mahi. And of course, let’s not forget the C word — colonisation. The detrimental effects of this on Te Ao Māori needs no explanation.

Nō nāianei pea ka whakaaro koe he tuhinga tēnei mō ngā hara o te tiriti me taku ahurei i tūkinohia, i waimehatia e te ringa o te Pākehā. E kāo. Ka hāngai ēnei kupu ki ngā āhuatanga kei waenga pū i a tātou te Māori. I a tātou e pēhi nei i a tātou anō.  

Today, Māori are dispersed. Geographically, socially, and politically, we are divided. This division has led to disparities in whakaaro between iwi, ultimately turning us all against each other. We look at our whanaunga in Parliament who stab each other’s backs while they hide behind their policies. We look at my relations up north who squabble over a mandate in which we should claim our settlements. We are our worst enemies. We are our own oppressors.

Moumou ake nei te pitomata. Korekore ka pēhia anōtia te iwi Māori e te pūnaha Pākehā e noho nei tātou. He aha kē tātou e takakino nei i a tātou anō? He moroiti tonu tātou i tō tātou ake whenua. Ki te wāwāhi te Māori, kua memeha tō tātou mana. E tika ana te kōrero; “He tōtara wāhirua, hei kai mā te ahi.”    

Paulo Freire, author of The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, states that those who suffer from long-term oppression eventually idolise their oppressors. They internalise their oppressors and begin to oppress each other. Especially those who seek liberation. This is what has affected us as Māori. We’ve been bound within the dark corners of society for so long, we think it is our rightful place. We shit on other Māori who seek freedom. We think they are not deserving of this gift when, in fact, “freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift” (Freire, 1970). People label it “tall poppy syndrome” or they say we are genetically predisposed to be under-achievers — ehara! We need to label it for what it is: internalised oppression.

Being Māori has become something of a competition between us. Especially between the younger “renaissance” generation of our culture. Who has the best reo? Who can recite their whakapapa? Who is the most “tūturu” Māori? Apparently, this makes you more Māori than those who have not been so fortunate to learn those treasures. Some of us use this as a weapon to make those less fortunate feel inferior. To make someone feel less than who they are is, again, oppression. We laugh at those who are stumped when someone asks them where they’re from. We call them “plastic”. We need to help them find the answer.             

Nō reira, me pēhea rā te whakautu? Kia whakaaro ngātahi tātou. Me takimano tōna whakautu. Nō hea tātou, otirā, nō wai tātou? Nō ngā atua tātou. Nō ngā kāwai tapu o ngā ariki. Nō ngā kaihautū o tēnā waka, o tēnā waka. Nō ngā maunga whakahī, nō ngā awa whakairo. Nō tēnei whenua tātou katoa. 

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