Piki Jakeman: Life on the river bank

“When we had king tides at night, we’d have to put our mattresses on Mum’s bed and wait until the tide went down. And Dad would put the babies, asleep, in the plastic baby bath, and they’d just be floating on the tide.”

A man of contradictions

“When you ask me whether I’m in parliament as a Māori? No, I'm a New Zealander lucky enough to have Māori in my background.” — Winston Peters.

Tamatha Paul: Show up and be counted

“Overall, I think working at KFC has probably been the most formative experience of my whole life so far.” — Tamatha Paul, 23, Wellington City councillor.

Rawiri Waititi: Unapologetically Māori

“There's a kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa generation of us coming through who want something different for Māori. And many Pākehā have no issue with that.” — Rawiri Waititi, Māori Party candidate for Waiariki.

Kiri Allan: Always raising eyebrows

“The values we were raised with were to work hard and serve others. So you had to have a job. (Dad made sure I had an IRD number when I was six.)” — Kiri Allan.

Harete Hipango: Not a textbook politician

“There's been a tendency to judge me by how I sound, how I speak, how I look. I look too Pākehā. I sound too Pākehā.” — Harete Hipango, National MP for Whanganui.

Arena Williams: Making changes from the inside

“I think it's right for us not to forget the times in Labour's history when they went with what was popular and lost sight of Labour's values.” — Arena Williams, Labour candidate for Manurewa.

Shane Reti: National’s rising star

“I arrived in Boston about three months before my family, and I thought: ‘Okay. The best way for me to meet people is to take my guitar and my squash racket.’” — Dr Shane Reti, MP for Whangārei and National's health spokesperson.

Teanau Tuiono: I knew I had to do more

“I walk in a couple of worlds at the same time. If I’m in a Pacific situation then I’m obviously a Pacific Islander — and the same applies to the Māori context.” — Teanau Tuiono, Green Party List candidate.

Why we can’t connect with politics

“The overarching reality is that politics remains incredibly disconnected from some of the communities who most need structural change.” — Leah Damm.

Steven Ratuva: Decolonising our ‘differences’

It's important for us to look beyond the "artificial and nonsensical" demarcations imposed by early Europeans and see ourselves "as just one people connected at different levels through the ocean", says Professor Steven Ratuva.

Manu Caddie: Focusing on the good from cannabis

“I never used it as a young fulla. I've tried it a couple of times as an adult. But it didn't do anything super exciting for me — so I don't use it myself.” — Manu Caddie, co-founder of Rua Bioscience, developers of medicinal cannabis.

Joe Daymond: Unfiltered

"Probably 99 percent of what I talk about are things that my nan would hate." — Joe Daymond.

Rangi Matamua: Matariki and Māori astronomy

"I hope that Matariki can become a beacon for us . . . Why should we follow the northern hemisphere and the rest of the western world and celebrate the new year because that’s when they’re celebrating it?" — Professor Rangi Matamua.

Collin Tukuitonga: Looking after our people

“There are Pasifika families who want their daughter to succeed in medicine but she still has to teach Sunday school, cook food for their family, and look after the young ones — and those expectations aren’t realistic.” — Dr Collin Tukuitonga.

‘Only a global movement can eradicate racism’

“When we say that we're struggling for Black lives, it's not just for Black people, it's for a different framework, a different system, a different future. A future that involves all of us.” — Angela Davis.

Dr Canaan Aumua: Beyond textbook medicine

"As a GP in Māngere, I soon realised that medicine wasn't the solution I was looking for. These people were coming in with problems that medicine, and my textbooks, couldn't solve.” — Dr Canaan Aumua.

Pou Temara: A modern tohunga

“In my generation, many of us were brought up by our grandparents, especially if you were a mātāmua, or first born, as I was.” — Pou Temara.

Reflecting who our courts serve

“I didn’t come from a legal family. And I didn’t know any lawyers, so it wasn’t as if, by osmosis, I’d taken a bit of that legal stuff on board. I was a blank page.” — New Family Court judge Robyn von Keisenberg.

Pero Cameron: Big man, big impact

“We had a very practical Māori upbringing but not much in the way of Niuean or Scottish.” — Pero Cameron, head coach of the Tall Blacks.

Alan Wendt: The Interpreter

“My journey into the Deaf world has been a true gift." — Alan Wendt, New Zealand Sign Language interpreter and language geek.

Lupe Taumoepeau and her life-changing surgeries

“When I take the clamps off the vessels and see the shrivelled-up grey kidney become purple and then pink and then pulsate with blood, nothing else I do beats that.” — Dr Lupe Taumoepeau.

Denise Wallwork: Keeping people out of prison

“As a defence lawyer for 32 years and trying all that time to keep people out of prison, it’s going to be tough, eventually, having to send someone to prison.” — New district court judge Denise Wallwork.

Anjum Rahman: We can do better

“When March 15 happened, one of our reactions was anger because we'd raised the alarm much earlier — and pushed and pushed. And nobody took us seriously.”

Sandra Alofivae: Hearing the call

“Things need to change for our babies, children, and young people who are still in the system today.” — Ali'imuamua Sandra Alofivae

Peter-Lucas Jones: Storing our reo treasures

“In spite of all the opportunities in the mainstream Pākehā education system, having access to native speakers of te reo Māori is much more beneficial.” — Peter Lucas Jones.

You shouldn’t forget where you come from

“My sister always said I was a natural nosey parker as a kid. She reckons I’m really in the best position to do the work that I do — and that’s asking questions.”

Haare Williams: A child of the community

“'Whatever you do, remember, you’ll never be a Pākehā.' Everyone then wanted their children to grow up in a Pākehā way. Speaking English was the norm, the wanted thing."

Eteuati Ete: The things we don’t laugh about

“She'd say: ‘Ete, you're a Laughing Sāmoan, and if you start telling your story of how you were violent and what you did to overcome that violence, that would be really awesome.’” — Eteuati Ete.

Karamia Müller: Building futures that resist inequality

"I saw parallels with an earlier process of gentrification which displaced communities — largely Pasifika — from Ponsonby, St Mary's Bay and Freemans Bay in the late 1970s to 1980s. That displacement has had ongoing ramifications for Pasifika people.”

Jade Kake: Māori by design

“There’s a lot of ways that Māori design can be woven into a building. But I think the essential thing is that whoever holds mana whenua in that area is engaged in the process."

Tuari Potiki: Fighting the darkness with the light

“This year, there’ll be another 4,000 convictions just for cannabis offences. Forty percent of those will be Māori. So I see decriminalisation and regulation as a way of reducing harm, particularly to Māori.”

Kerry Warkia: A chorus of Pacific voices

“In filmmaking, the essence is collaboration. For something to be really good, there needs to be different perspectives, techniques and skills from lots of different people.”

Dilworth Karaka: Singing songs of freedom

“You do miss the brothers who've passed on. And you miss the vibe that they all brought to the gigs. You miss their mannerisms. You miss what made them individuals.”

Peter Cordtz: Learning to talk about money

“One of the reasons that many of the more vulnerable whānau turn to third-tier lenders and shop trucks is that they're treated nicely. They have things done for them, and aren’t made to feel stupid.”

Ngāti Kuri takes flight

“Our Māori knowledge is thousands of years old. It ties in every element and aspect of the world — it can teach us a lot about the planet in this age of climate change and environmental sustainability.”

‘Vea, you made me cry’

“There was a really beautiful thing that happened during the filming. We had a change of heart which changed our head.” — Vea Mafile'o on learning to understand her father through the making of 'For My Father's Kingdom'.

Caren Rangi: Leading and dancing

“Being able to express myself as a Cook Islander through dancing and singing and teaching is still important for me.” — Caren Rangi.

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.

Chester Borrows: The blue leftie

"I think some of it is well-meaning and paternalistic stuff. But it’s racism nevertheless. So it doesn’t matter whether it’s malicious or accidental or just ignorant racism. It’s still racism. And the outcome is just the same."

Hoturoa and the waka legacy

“People don’t realise that we’re descended from scientists. They just think we’re a bunch of indigenous people who fluked getting to places.”

Gordon Toi: A top gun in tā moko

“I see moko as a reflection of our society. We’re now at a stage where we can celebrate who we are as Māori people.”

Indira Stewart: When one of us wins, all of us win

“When I think about the shortage of Pasifika journalists, I'm a bit surprised there aren't more of us, because we're powerful storytellers and we always have been.”—Indira Stewart, host of RNZ's new morning news show First Up.

Rees Tapsell: Dad wasn’t soft on us

“Teaching your kids that they need to develop some resilience and strength of character is essential, but it's just as important that they know and feel the love from the people bringing them up.”

Karanina Sumeo: Speaking for ourselves

“It’s not being Māori, Pacific, disabled, or rainbow that’s the disadvantage. It’s the discrimination in the system that disadvantages us and treads on our dignity.” —EEO Commissioner, Dr Karanina Sumeo.

Mike Stevens: Bluffies and Kāi Tahu

“The first land purchase began here in Otago in 1844 and, within 50 years, Kāi Tahu were virtually landless."—Mike Stevens, historian and Bluffie.

Tiana Epati: Be the change you wish to see

“It’s great to have this role, but it won’t mean much if, over the next 20 years, we don’t see anyone else coming through the door and rising up through the ranks.” — Tiana Epati, president-elect of the NZ Law Society.

Becoming Mika

"There weren’t many Māori in Timaru in that period . . . In fact, I first learned about Māori culture from a Weet-Bix card."

Fa’afetai Sopoaga: Connecting communities in Dunedin

"We challenge students to think about their own perceptions and prejudices and how these impact on the provision of healthcare."—Associate Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga, winner of the Prime Minister's Supreme Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching.

Steph Matuku: Putting Māori kids on the page

“It’s so important for me to get Māori kids on the page, which is why my protagonists are always Māori. Because when I was growing up, you just didn’t see yourself.”

Kris Faafoi — a minister on the rise

“Pacific Islanders do things a bit differently — especially because of their respect for authority or for elders. But you can have respect and still question without challenging offensively.”

Andrew Little: Stepping aside — and forward

“I had confidence in Jacinda. That’s the other thing I’ve learned on my journey. It’s the importance of recognising talent — including talent that’s better than you.”

Ainsley Gardiner: The power is never ours

“I think the global indigenous cinema needs a global indigenous fund. We need to see the value of our stories, which somebody else takes the profit from.”

Tāmati Kruger: Down that way, glory waits

“Mana whenua has to do with acknowledging that the land has mana, and fulfilling your obligations and your kinship relationship with the land. That’s what it is — not an ownership or property relationship.”

Madeleine Sami: No holding her back

"I was so lucky to grow up with my 23 cousins. We all liked to joke around. I was used to banter and coming back with one-liners. And being a smartarse."

Ruakere Hond: A language and a legacy

“If we're not going to use the reo on a regular basis in our homes, as we’re raising our children, we're probably going to miss the main way forward for reo Māori.”

Chelsea Winstanley: My idol was Merata Mita

‘I loved listening to Nan’s stories about how, when she was a little girl, she’d sit there with her nanny, who used to smoke a pipe … and read the Pākehā newspaper to her in te reo Māori.”

Bobbie Hunter: Maths belongs in every culture

“I have come to realise that maths belongs in every culture. Yet, kids growing up in New Zealand get taught that there’s only one way of doing maths, and that’s a white way. As I see it, my Cook Islands family were the real mathematicians.”

Tipene O’Regan: We must remember to remember

My mother used to say: “Forgive thine enemies, my son, but write down their names.” You forgive and remember what you've got to do because you can't keep carrying those things forever.

Leonie Pihama: Let’s start by returning the Waitara land

“If I could do anything today, it would be to have the Waitara lands returned to the hapū. For me, it's about self-determination, and seeing hapū rangatiratanga that was guaranteed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi becoming embedded in this country.”

Jamie Tuuta: When I go home, I’m still Boy

"I like taking the kids back to Waitara and Urenui. Going back home and realising that wi-fi is not the norm ... that Sky television is not normal either. Most of the whānau don't have doors on their bedrooms, let alone wallpaper on the walls. There's a stark contrast that they can see."

Vui Mark Gosche: From groundsman to chairman of the board

"I've been through tough times … and it’s made me much better equipped to do the health work that I do now, because I understand, through my own experience, just how tough disabilities and mental health problems can be on families.” - Counties Manukau DHB chair Mark Gosche.

Brian Easton: Māori have been trapped in a poverty cycle

“The truth is that the Treaty settlements aren't that big. Initially, when the $1 billion fiscal cap for the settlements was announced, I calculated that what was needed was in fact around $100 billion. So Māori are getting a very small contribution.”

Simon Bridges: Our leaders should be culturally competent

“If you're an MP — and certainly if you're a leader of a party — you should be thinking these things through, and upskilling yourself to make sure you have the maximum cultural competence and a sense of the full breadth of the issues we're dealing with as a country.”

Vincent O’Malley: Too many Pākehā don’t know our history

Vincent O'Malley is a New Zealand historian who, over the last 20 years, has been focusing on how Māori and Pākehā have been getting along. His research has led not just to a PhD from Victoria University but also to articles in scholarly journals, blogs, and a series of influential books.

Gilbert Enoka’s winning formula

Graham Henry and Steve Hansen used to say to me: “Where are you going with this, Bert?” And I’d say: “I don’t know. But I know I’m heading in the right direction.”

Michael Meredith — The Good Chef

Not many master chefs spend their mornings making school lunches for Auckland’s poorest kids. But that’s Michael Meredith.

Kelvin Davis says he owes it all to Charlie

It took just one generation to break the pattern of the reo flowing on down to our young people.It took just one generation to break the pattern of the reo flowing on down to our young people.

Nanaia Mahuta: No Silver Spoon

Nanaia Mahuta takes a break from the Labour leadership contest – and shares some stories about her mum and dad, and about her pathway to politics.


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


We welcome submissions or inquiries to:


Sign up for our new email newsletter and be in to win one of 40 copies of The Best of E-Tangata.



You can support E-Tangata’s kaupapa by contributing through PressPatron. With your help, we can tell more Māori and Pacific stories.