Author: Tainui Stephens

‘There’s joy in the struggle’

“For Indigenous people, our rituals are a shortcut to joy. When we connect and when we share, we secure our sense of belonging. I see and feel Indigenous joy in all the occasions our people gather, because we’ve overcome so much.” —  Tainui Stephens.

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A most diplomatic intent

The 1972 Aboriginal and Māori tent embassies in Canberra and Wellington “were created by frank and fearless young people sick of the status quo. They declared that the Indigenous tribes of these lands would no longer be aliens in their own country.” — Tainui Stephens.

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Pete and Di

“With the support (or not) of parents and peers, Māori and Pākehā have long fallen in love, and come to an agreement about their own principles of partnership.” — Tainui Stephens.

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Facing a new day

“The flawed campaign and the overwhelming result made it clear that a lot of Aussies are, to varying degrees, racist, ill-informed, or simply ignorant.” — Tainui Stephens on Australia’s Voice referendum.

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This is exactly who we are

“To defeat the rage, or at least tame it, we turn, as Abraham Lincoln once said, to ‘the better angels of our nature’. Those angels are everywhere, in spiritual beliefs, in tikanga, in simple notions of courtesy and civic pride.” — Tainui Stephens.

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A life in the arts

“Compared with Pākehā, more Māori feel the arts are important for their wellbeing. Interestingly, art has more value for Māori who have less money, than for those who have hefty pūtea.” — Tainui Stephens.

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Moetonga: One step ahead

“When we return, we don’t go home to the tribe. We go home to the hapū. Any hapū is a collection of whānau linked by a common ancestor or history. Way back in the day, the hapū was the main political unit of Māori society.” — Tainui Stephens.

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Matua? Moi?

“Not everyone is fortunate enough to reach old age. Now that I’m closer to the end than the beginning, I’m grateful for the story of my life, so far.” — Tainui Stephens.

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The Happy Bankrupt

“It’s been said that bankruptcy happens gradually, and then suddenly. That’s very true. It was my fault for making it gradual because I didn’t face up to my tax bill right away.” — Tainui Stephens.

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Don’s Last Post

“Don recalled discovering an enemy bunker and shooting the Germans inside. Inside a pocket of one of the dead he discovered a photo of the man’s wife and children. It devastated him.” — Tainui Stephens.

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In thrall to bullshit

“This was the first person I’d ever met who was healthy and sane in every way, but whose view of the world was entirely informed by the media. The sum of the biased tabloid, talkback and television BS she consumed had polluted her view of the country she lived in.” — Tainui Stephens

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Embrace the taniwha

“I vowed that I wouldn’t allow myself to be shamed by my ignorance again. As I think back to that long ago hui, part of me realises that all I had to do was get over myself.” — Tainui Stephens.

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The new generation of filmmakers

“Over the past five years, Ngā Pakiaka has given 3,000 rangatahi, here and overseas, a taste of filmmaking. With the expert guidance of Māoriland’s producers, they’ve handled the planning, funding, and delivery of their work.” — Tainui Stephens.

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