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What I’ve learned this year

“When Māori are used as political football, someone has to make the tackles, and that’s what we try to do.” — Moana Maniapoto reflecting on the role of her award-winning current affairs TV programme, Te Ao with Moana.
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For the love of the language

“I believe that the music will continue to help us heal, so we can celebrate the new cultural narrative of Aotearoa, and be proud of the diverse cultural heritage we all share.” — Hinewehi Mohi. 
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WAKA Episode 1: The revival

"The knowledge of wayfinding and waka building was almost lost as a living practice, destined to survive only in historical journals and museums. Luckily for us, a small group took up the battle to keep them alive." — Simone Kaho.

WAKA Episode 2: The future

"Billy Harrison isn’t just carrying the mana of the Aotearoa team in this symposium. He’s the future of waka building in Aotearoa. If tārai waka is to survive here, it will need more like Billy and his teammates." — Simone Kaho.

WAKA Episode 4: The edge of old times

“I can look at the wood and see parts of the canoe. The shape. Like a vision in my head.” — Freddie Tauotaha, Tahitian master waka builder, who came to Aotearoa to finish the va'a his father started 27 years before.

Susana Lei’ataua: Spreading her wings

“Am I being truthful? Am I being respectful? Am I prepared? And am I responsible? Those are the four things that really guide me.” — Susana Lei’ataua, RNZ Pacific's News Editor.

Donald Hollingsworth: This is what God gave me

“Although I was harassed by other kids when I was growing up, today, with the internet, it’s much worse. What we say to people face to face tends to be more moderate.” — Donald Hollingsworth, on growing up takatāpui.

Korohere Ngāpō: Hauraki is my magnetic north

“I most certainly believe there is power and mana in the karakia that were performed. Our Māori spirituality is a big thing. It always has been and it always will be.” — Korohere Ngapo.

Dianne Sika-Paotonu: The duty to act

"For a long time, we’ve had more of a focus on equality in health, where the approach has been 'one size fits all'. But we know that this doesn’t work for our Pacific and Māori communities. What's needed is an equity focus." — Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu.

Te Tiriti and vaccination rates

“While it is OF COURSE urgent that Māori vaccinate, we can’t overlook the role that this broken relationship and intergenerational neglect and devaluing of Māori life plays in vaccine hesitancy.” — Tina Ngata.

The tainting of New Zealand rugby

“Our players are being asked to carry water for a brand that is desecrating our environment.” — Juressa Lee, a Greenpeace campaigner, on NZ Rugby’s six-year sponsorship deal with INEOS.

Here we go again: Covid and racism

“It’s been a whole year since we went through this, and yet, here we are again, with mainstream media ignoring, or perhaps not even seeing, the very real damage done by this type of clickbait heading.” — Emmaline Pickering-Martin.

Fighting Poison

“The story of SWAP (Sawmill Workers Against Poisons) is more than the terrible and the tragic. It’s also about racism, class issues, and a kind of leadership that’s so often ignored and underestimated.” — Catherine Delahunty.

Sometimes just a chat is enough

“Don’t feel you have to finish reading this article. There will be no great wisdom at the end. If suicide has touched your life, and in reading this you find yourself treading dark territory again, please pull out.” — James Nokise.

The heroes in our whānau

“The private heroes among our friends and family won’t save the world by their personal courage, but their presence in our lives give us the chance to save our humanity.” — Tainui Stephens.

Becoming Tangata Tiriti

“How does that maunga in Aotearoa that you’ve claimed to be ‘toku maunga’ become your mountain? And what gives you the right to claim that river as yours? It’s not ancestry. It’s not an inherited story. So, what is it?” — Catherine Delahunty.

Reclaiming what was lost

“That bridge tragedy in 1947 severed my links to my taha Māori. And only now, in my early 40s, am I reclaiming what was lost.” — Cornell Tukiri.

The shame is gone

“With the help of caring people, through a lens now tinted with aroha, I could embrace the experience of speaking re reo Māori and let it melt my heart.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Solar power and forgiveness

“In the digital age, it’s naïve to think that we can control the use and growth of te reo — which I believe is a positive thing. The language is flourishing, and I, for one, embrace the change with gay abandon.” — Anton Blank.

Reforming Māori media

"Sometimes I think we have too big an expectation of the reo Māori sector. Yes, broadcasting is part of the reo revitalisation plan. But it’s not the only mechanism." — Bailey Mackey.

Breaking the circuit

“There are unhealthy consequences for our society if the mainstream media doesn’t become much more accomplished at looking beyond Pākehā interests.” — Gary Wilson.

The Māori voice comes in English as well as te reo

“English is the language that reaches all the politicians and the voters, including the journalists and teachers and lawyers and doctors and nurses and academics and business leaders and all the others who play a part in shaping our society.”

Dawn Raids Apology: a poem

In celebration of National Poetry Day this Friday, here's a poem from Tusiata Avia, Arts Foundation laureate and winner of the poetry award at this year's NZ book awards.

A commitment to younger voices

“I can’t watch the show without cringing at the risque subject matter. Auē. But if they made the show based on my sensibilities, there would be ZERO rangatahi watching it.” — Quinton Hita on the bilingual drama series Ahikāroa.

Remembering Richard Nunns

“He looked more Pākeha than any Pākehā I knew . . . But his was a life deeply immersed in te ao Māori. He was one of the best taonga puoro players in the world. A leading force behind their revival.” — Moana Maniapoto on Richard Nunns.

Hākarimata and the sleeping baby

“The same system which processed the land theft has adapted to prevent its return. Apologies and cash compensation keep the issue of land safely dormant — like a sleeping baby strapped to the back of a new parent.” — Connie Buchanan.

Mark Solomon: On leadership and life

"The Crown reckoned full redress was worth around $12 to $15 billion. Our advisers thought it was closer to $20 billion. We settled for $170 million — a lot less, but it allowed Ngāi Tahu to move forward, to rebuild." — Mark Solomon.

‘I never got to go home’

“My parents' dream of a better life collided with the cultural ignorance of mainstream New Zealand in the 1950s onwards.” — Fa'amoana Luafutu, who told his story of institutional abuse to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

The Dawn Raids apology

“In the multiple chapters of Pacific peoples’ story in New Zealand, the chapter of the Dawn Raids stands out as one that continues to cast a long shadow.” — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's speech in full.

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