Tom Roa: The whakapapa of a photo

“A Maōri photograph is not a pretty picture to be sold to a tourist. It’s about the whakapapa and the mana of what’s in the picture.” — Tom Roa on his photography project with Rodrigo Hill.

Temuera Morrison: Walking in my tupuna’s shoes

“It was scary stuff to walk in those shoes. I just don’t think we have anywhere near the gifts and the special powers that our tūpuna had.” — Temuera Morrison, on playing his tupuna Rewi Maniapoto in the film Ka Whawhai Tonu (Struggle Without End).

Manase Latu: There’s no shushing him now

“My mum is an awesome singer, and my sisters would sing as a trio. And when I was younger, I used to stand behind them and hum along, but I would always be flat. I would always be told to shush.” — Lyric tenor Manase Latu who starred in New Zealand Opera’s production of Le comte Ory.

Home and harakeke flowers

“How could I have forgotten the harakeke flowers? I had looked at them every summer, my whole life. But I hadn’t remembered them at all.” — Lauren Keenan.

The stolen people of Tokelau

“In Tokelau, in the 1860s, those responsible were Peruvian. Their slave ships came to our atolls and took most of our able-bodied men, as well as some women and children. Virtually half of our people were taken.” — Artist Moses Viliamu on blackbirding.

Debbie Broughton: Whakapapa is everything

“Some people in cities have historical amnesia. They forget that Māori didn’t just move to cities after they were built. We were here before their cities. We were pushed out. Our homes became their cities.” — Debbie Broughton, Te Aro Pā poet.

Poetry is our heritage — and our future

“When I started Anahera Press, there were a lot of Māori and Pasifika poets around, but they just weren't being published. The reason certainly wasn't anything to do with quality. It was because mainstream publishers didn’t want our kind of writing.” — Kiri Piahana-Wong, poet and publisher.

Stories about us

“I’m a person who always wanted to write a novel about Te Ātiawa history, but still let herself be convinced to write about 1940 London instead.” — Lauren Keenan.

Fires burning in their throats

“We’re committed to opening the stage to exciting and confronting kōrero from Māori creators, thinkers and change-makers with fires burning in their throats. Fires that burn even more urgently today.” — Michael and Matariki Bennett, co-curators Māori for the Auckland Writers Festival, May 14–19.

Kharl WiRepa and the power of fashion

“I could manufacture in China and mass produce and chase the money. But there are old kuia in those factories, and there’s nothing less Māori than having a kuia paid $4 a day to make your kākahu.” — Designer Kharl WiRepa.

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.

Maraea Rakuraku: Stories to tell

"I write for us. I want to see people on stage and screen who I recognise, who are our people, having complex, diverse, amazingly difficult, fantastic lives.” — Maraea Rakuraku.

Defiance is life

“She was intimate with death, conversed with it sometimes, muttering away, defying, even threatening. How the hell do you threaten death? A frequent reminiscence of her childhood at Waahi Paa was, ‘Too many tangi, Son.’” — Ben Brown on his mum.

‘This being Māori thing ends now’

“My nan... had completely turned her back on being Māori. She was of the opinion that you just had to make it in the Pākehā world, and that speaking Māori and being Māori wasn’t going to get you anywhere in life.” — Stacy Gregg.

Baye Riddell and his clay creations

“There’s the satisfaction of taking a lump straight from the earth and making something that you can fire and use to eat or drink out of, rather than going to the Warehouse or buying something that's been made in China or wherever.” — Baye Riddell.

Tusiata Avia: Giving myself permission

“Year after year, I wrote and performed and did the astonishing amount of admin it requires. And stayed broke. I perform at festivals and win awards and look fab in sparkling red dresses at the openings of my plays. And stay broke.” — Tusiata Avia.

Tin canning

The Pikihuia Awards are held every two years to celebrate excellence in Māori writing, both in reo Pākehā and reo Māori. This is the winning reo Māori essay in the non-fiction category, written by Zeb Tamihana Nicklin.

Robyn Bargh: Inspiring more Māori to write

“Yes, we want people with in-depth mātauranga Māori writing about that knowledge. But we also want people who are struggling with their identity as Māori, or who have just come to it, because those are valid experiences in Aotearoa today.” — Robyn Bargh.

Modern mōteatea

"Mōteatea were the storehouses of tribal and whānau memory and aspiration, drawn upon to nourish and feed the current and new generations, whilst ensuring they were equipped with the essential knowledge to help them navigate, understand, and explore their world." — Dr Hana O'Regan.

Growing up in the wops

“Everyone I grew up with has story upon story like this — a sprinkling of farmers in Taranaki high as a kite on mistrust and suspicion, fiercely defending stolen land from the ones they stole it from.” — Airana Ngarewa on his new novel The Bone Tree.

Flash Māori doing flash things

“Coming up in the world of fashion, Kiri Nathan ran into brick walls at every turn, was told she wasn’t good enough, or her work was ‘too Māori’ to sell.” — Siena Yates.

No stone without a name

“Aboriginal people, if they appear at all in the landscape, are presented as ornamental figures, framing devices, exotic touches. Only rarely is their humanity expressed . . . Mostly they are simply absent.” — Kennedy Warne on the erasure of Aboriginal people in colonial art.

Some are always hungry

“Enough of this burdensome, anxiety-producing, imposter syndrome we immigrants have felt the world over, meekly replying to aggressive shop assistants: ‘No, just looking thanks,’ as they follow us around stores.” — Loveni Enari on why he loves Some Are Always Hungry.

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.

The Haka Party Incident

“Their plan was simply to show up at the students’ common room and ask them to take off the grass skirts. But the meeting became a confrontation and quickly blew up.” — Katie Wolfe, on the haka party incident.

Waking the tūpuna

“I truly came to believe that these taonga were asleep while they were in the swamp. The carvings embody so much mana, mauri and power from the old world that is just undiminished.” — Rachel Buchanan, on the Motunui epa.

Making Māori decision-making visible

“We know very well that Māori assertion and self-confidence frightens and angers some Pākehā. They're not used to Māori being in control. Rangatiratanga gives visibility to Māori decision-making.” — Tainui Stephens.

Writing while colonised

“One of the pervasive myths about Māori people (which we have taken to enthusiastically telling ourselves) is that ‘we don’t write’ despite literally millions of pages filled with words penned (or typed) by our own people — by ourselves.” — Professor Alice Te Punga Somerville.

Stories worth telling

“Imagine. A book about people like me, and other people wanting to read about us. It showed me we were good enough already, worthy of success and happiness and love.” — Maria Samuela.

The flickering genius of the artistic spirit

The Māori intellectual tradition “has always been a daring, as well as imaginative, tradition propelled by both a longing to explore and the confidence that has come from the stories told in this land.” — Moana Jackson.

Sol3Mio: Coming home

“Pacific singing is very personal because it’s the way we pass on our culture, so we bring a different range of emotions to the operatic world.” — Pene Pati of Sol3Mio.

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.

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.

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.

The Māoriland story

“We define ourselves by the stories we choose to tell about ourselves. When we make films for our own people, it’s not just about the art of it, nor the business of it. We are testing the empowering potential of film.” — Tainui Stephens.

‘Cousins’ — an extract from the book

"She’d been late home and had been sent into the bathroom to bare her bottom for the cane. After the caning she’d peed, so the stick had come hitting down again For, Being, A, Dirty, Girl, Now, Clean, Up, This, Mess." — From 'Cousins', by Patricia Grace.

James Eruera and his waka kaupapa

"There are very few who’ll understand how it feels to know that you’ve built this vessel that’s gone across the ocean and that’s delivered your people safely to their destination." — James Eruera, master waka carver.

Kura Forrester: Rudely funny

“Everybody knows what it's like to be on a first date. Or have rude thoughts. And, as long as you're being honest, it can be funny.” — Kura Forrester, Billy T award winner.

Rediscovering our mother tongues

Four plays in four languages staged over four weeks — a theatre experiment which aims to challenge the idea of English as the “mainstream” language and all other languages as exotic.


E-Tangata is an online Sunday magazine specialising in stories that reflect the experiences of Māori and Pasifika in Aotearoa.


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