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.

Tina Ngata: An adherence to justice and fairness

“I’ve always felt it’s important for us to clearly articulate what the trajectory of justice should look like for our people, and to articulate for ourselves our vision of justice.” — Tina Ngata.

Bryan Williams: Sidesteps, tries, and pioneering

“The dean of the law school, Jack Northey, said: ‘Listen here, Mr Williams. They tell me you’re bit of a rugby player, but as far as law school is concerned, you’re going to have to shape up or ship out.’” — Bryan Williams.

Dame Cindy Kiro: A pōhara kōtiro from the wop-wops

“My first cousins are as close as brothers and sisters, and we still are a loving extended family. It just so happens that I remember changing their nappies.” — Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro.

We started the vax race from behind

"If the government had listened to our experts, and itself, all these months, Māori could have been 90 percent vaccinated by now,” writes Vini Olsen-Reeder, who’s sick of Māori being blamed for being slow to vaccinate.

The Supreme Court has spoken

“In its September decision, the court elevates the importance of tikanga, giving it more legal substance than it has ever had since the advent of colonisation.” — Kennedy Warne.

Teine Sā — the feminist icons of Sāmoa

“Looking in the mirror, brushing your hair or wearing your hair out was said to draw the attention of the Teine Sā. That could lead to sickness, possession or even death.” — Lana Lopesi, in an extract from her new book 'Bloody Woman'.

When it all feels unstoppable

“So many men have no community, and my father didn’t have friends until he found the white supremacists online.” — Kim Mcbreen, on losing her father to a conspiracy theory.

Son for the return home

“Back then, Pacific Island students weren’t just going to universities to get jobs and degrees — they were going there to change the world, to free their countries, to take back their lands, to found their national homes.” — Pala Molisa on Albert Wendt.

Waiata mai

“I think you might be able to classify Māori as one of two kinds: whakamā and katakata. The test for which kind you are is whether or not you do skits.” — Aaron Craig.

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 role of Pākehā is to support

“It’s right that Pākehā should speak Māori, and Pākehā engagement is important to the revitalisation of te reo Māori. . . . But, as a people, we must wait our turn.” — Andrew Robb.

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. 

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.

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.”

Renée: ‘Reading was my salvation’

“They never put me higher than second in the end-of-year tests. I suppose it would not have done to have this little dark kid, whose mother was Māori and whose father had shot himself, be placed first.” — Renée.

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.

‘Like he’s sitting here and talking’

“The connections with our tūpuna are very close; they’re direct and they help me recall what our old people used to tell us." — Whanganui kaumātua John Niko Maihi, writing in a new book: Hei Taonga mā ngā Uri Whakatipu / Treasures for the Rising Generation.

Being present to the past

“Once arrogantly dismissed as journeys of luck — the aimless drifting of incompetent mariners — these voyages are now rightly adulated as ‘among the greatest acts of voyage and discovery in world history.’” — Kennedy Warne on 'Polynesia:900–1600' by Madi Williams.

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.


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