Reflections

Righting an injustice: Sāmoa citizenship bill

“There was this fear that if the Privy Council decision was upheld, 100,000 Sāmoans living in Sāmoa would arrive in New Zealand, virtually overnight, because they, by right, were also New Zealand citizens.” — Arthur Anae, on the 1982 law that denied New Zealand citizenship to a group of Sāmoans.

Fast track to nowhere

"The fast-track bill to nowhere breaches Te Tiriti and is an attack on tangata whenua rights as well as a disaster for te taiao (the environment)." — Catherine Delahunty.

How do we face this moment, and not turn away?

“I realise that I’m looking for an action that will feel as effective, as true to who I am as becoming vegan. Action driven by what I feel when I watch coverage from inside Gaza: a feeling of incineration, of urgent helplessness.” — Simone Kaho.

Paddle like a girl

“Waka, paddling, reading the water and the wind, navigating our own paths — all these things are in our whakapapa. In our blood. As wāhine Māori, there’ll probably always be barriers in front of us, but there will always be ways around them too.” — Tui McCaull.

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.

Road to Polyfest

“It frickin’ kills me to feel my kid's first heartbreak. And it's over kapa haka. I don't try to solve it. I just hold him. Support him. Tell him I love him, that I'm proud.” — Sisilia Eteuati.

We go to more tangi

“We start losing our loved ones earlier than our tangata Tiriti peers. We go to more tangi. We are less likely to experience being the ‘sandwich generation’ who raise their own children and moko while also caring for elderly parents.” — Tui MacDonald.

Tusiata Avia: A strange dance with friends

“I’m not here to cheer up anyone who has blood on their hands. Or anyone who is determined to be blind to the bloody hands around them. For those in Israel who are opposed to the genocide just over the border, I can only imagine how they live with that each day.” — Tusiata Avia.

Saying it through siva

"In three-and-a-half minutes, I showed everyone in the church, including my family, who I really was: a queer Sāmoan Christian.” — Iatua Felagai Taito.

Healing through “knew” knowledge

“Tino rangatiratanga is the self-determination to do what we do as Māori every day, without needing permission or a policy, or even organised protest. We just need to embody our culture every day and live it.” — Kim Eriksen-Downs.

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.

My reluctant journey as a Pākehā

“The starting point is to recognise that Pākehā are on the wrong side of history for all things concerning Māori, including the rights and promises afforded to them through Te Tiriti o Waitangi.” — Brook Turner.

The softness of the suited heart

“I wonder how these leaders, both here and overseas, grew such bleak ambition. Who emboldened them to grow such entitlement and separation? What fuels their need for violence, supremacy and domination?” — Sarah Hopkinson.

Sharpening our sovereign minds

“We were fed a narrative that always seemed mind-suckingly one-sided. We were supposed to believe that Māori willingly handed everything over to the benevolent latecomers and pretend-discoverers for mere nails and blankets.” — Manase Lua.

What really counts is aroha

“We are awaiting tangihanga, yet out come the homemade chocolate kisses, shortbread, cake, pikelets. Love, glad-wrapped in perfection with a beating heart fit for the living.” — Elana Curtis.

Whispers from the whenua

“The whenua knows our pain. Generations of loss, hurt and violence stain the soil. Broken promises and lost dreams lie scattered across the land like discarded weapons on a battlefield.” — Aroha Gilling.

Finding wellness in te ao Māori

“I’ve developed a new sense of knowing — which runs far deeper than a 'belief' — that my tūpuna are with me. A couple of years ago, this understanding would’ve been too airy-fairy for my liking.” — Siena Yates.

We can’t carry it alone, but we can carry it together

“Part of showing aroha to yourself is accepting that you can only do what you can do. Some people can do more than others, and some people go about it differently, and all of that is okay as long as you're doing something. The little things that we're all doing come together to make a difference.” — Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki.

New Zealander of the Year

“My reo journey is one of constant conflict. There are times when the reo just flows out of me, from a place that I believe lies somewhere both within and beyond myself. Then there are times I can’t even string a basic sentence together.” — Tīhema Baker.

Dancing in the footsteps of our ancestors

“Our girls echo their female ancestors in ways they cannot imagine. They dance with this DNA buried deep in their bones. They dance in the footsteps of a line of women that snakes back across the Pacific to the islands.” — Tusiata Avia.

The great leap backwards

“The challenge to tangata Tiriti is what we’ll do to support a fightback led by tangata whenua. Will Pākehā, in particular, be prepared to march in solidarity with tangata whenua and all people directly affected by the neo-racist political programme?” — Catherine Delahunty.

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.

Breaking free from alcohol’s embrace

"I’ve grown up in a household where alcohol, my father, and other male figures were king. Alcohol trumps everything. The toxic fallout from alcohol on family and whānau and community was etched on the inside of my eyelids from an early age." — Shelley Burns-Field.

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.

Zion and the Three Cancers

"'That nurse was really rude,’ I told Jaye as we walked out of the exam room in Auckland Hospital. She rolled her eyes at me impatiently. ‘That’s why I brought you. To see the way people who look like me get treated.’” — Eru Hart.

Doctor from the ‘dumb class’

“I’ve been mistaken for an orderly, a cleaner, and the girl who collects the food menus. I’ve even walked into rooms where patients tell me they’re waiting for the doctor because they assume that can’t be me.” — Dr Vanisi Prescott.

He tapu Te Tiriti

“The enduring tapu of Te Tiriti cannot be harmed by shallow political baiting. Te Tiriti exists and cannot be made to un-exist.” — Eru Kapa-Kingi.  

The slow path to mātauranga

“You can’t simply learn about mātauranga or whakapapa, just like I couldn’t learn about my whānau. It’s meaningless without the connection and lived experience. It takes community.” — Kim Mcbreen.

Back to the future, marae style

“I think about how I grew up with my grandparents, and I’m hoping we can get back to that idea of “a village raises a family”, and not just for the kids but for our kaumātua and others who might be struggling with loneliness and anxiety.” — Miriana Stephens.

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.

The system won’t shift to help our kids

“We can’t just be about teaching and learning, as the Education Act dictates. We’ll never break the cycle for our young people if we don’t go outside our little school box. I can’t say that enough.” — Soana Pamaka, principal of Tāmaki College.

The power of three

“Tripling the vote has been giving us hope. It makes sense because many of us feel powerless in the face of skyrocketing prices, unlimited corporate profit, a horrific rental market, and a burning planet.” — Kassie Hartendorp on a campaign to get people voting.

Weave the people

“A rangatira is more than just a chief. The word ‘raranga’ means to weave. A ‘tira’ is a group of people who have a purpose. A rangatira is one who weaves together people who are on the move.” — Tainui Stephens.

An accidental convert

“I come from a rugby-obsessed family. I suspect they thought football was a bit girly even though the sport was pretty much invisible in our lives. We’d barely heard of blokes playing, let alone women.” — Moana Maniapoto on the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The white tears of Taranaki

“My people’s story in Taranaki didn't start so much with the milk flowing, but with the muskets firing.” — Sarah Hopkinson reckons with her history and the future of dairy farming.

The first people we ever live with

“Brothers and sisters, by blood or by connection, are often the first people we ever live with. We discover our individual selves after years of gradual growth alongside each other.” — Tainui Stephens.

Reclaiming takatāpui

“The colonisers tried to make us conform to a heteronormative way of living and being — and I reject this kaupapa.” — Allan Heta Cleaver.

‘We are not going away’

“The Crown can make the case as complex as they want. But at its heart, it’s simple. And we are not going away.” — Professor Sandy Morrison on the Nelson Tenths Reserves.

Shaneel Lal: I didn’t fit in anywhere

“The young Pacific people who grew up in Aotearoa were taught that to be intelligent, you have to behave and speak like white people. They punish Pacific students like me who don't behave like white people.” — Shaneel Lal.

Feeling the K-wave wairua

“For me, the K-wave has been this beautiful, shining example of how our reo and traditions could be one day, in a very real and attainable sense.” — Siena Yates.

Julian Batchelor’s muddle of mischief

“Once the manager found out who Julian really was, she rang him back, told him that this was a Māori business and to go hither and fornicate with himself, or words to that effect.” — Denis O’Reilly on the anti-co-governance roadshow.

My name is spelled ‘Araraina’

“We talk about the sorts of things brown women who work in mainly white professions and systems talk about. About how ignorant and racist some Pākehā managers are. About how ignorant and frustrating some Māori managers have become.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Making a life on unceded Indigenous land

“The realities of the settler nation determine the possibilities for how we, as Pacific Indigenous peoples, relate to one another when we build our lives on the unceded lands of fellow Indigenous peoples.” — Sam Iti Prendergast.

The last White Queen

“Of all the things known about the Queen, of all the things written about the Queen, this is the most important: that she was White. It is the most important thing to me. She was the epitome of Whiteness. Without Whiteness, she would not have been Queen.” — Stan Grant.

Cutting back on inclusion

"It seems that after a run of good years, we’re moving backwards. And all the progress that had been made by those who came before me for equity and inclusion of Pacific is set to be undermined and undone.” — Petra Satele, PhD student and assistant lecturer at Massey.

The least of these, my brethren

“Māori gang members . . . have suffered the negative consequence of being poor, young and brown in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand without enjoying any of the compensating advantages of a strong sense of Māori identity.” — Denis O’Reilly.

‘Oceania is us’

“In his writing and teaching, Epeli Hau’ofa rejected the portrayal of the Pacific as weak, disconnected and dependent on outside help for survival — a soul-sapping belittlement that the Pacific has endured for centuries.” — Kennedy Warne.

Do we deserve to feel superior?

“One antidote to Indigenous chauvinism is found within the Māori world itself. The tikanga of the marae where honest discourse is encouraged, show that transparency and accountability still matter.” — Tainui Stephens.

Māori doctor

“I went to medical school to train to be a Māori doctor. Not a doctor, a Māori doctor.” — Dr Emma Espiner.

Almost like immunity

“I have no criminal record despite having been in numerous political protests for many years where I could‘ve been arrested and possibly charged. It’s almost as if I have a form of immunity.” — Catherine Delahunty.

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.

Peace, unity and restless activism

“Let us not forget and fail to salute Pat while he’s still with us. We should demonstrate that we hear and listen to his kōrero by way of restless activism.” — Denis O’Reilly on his kaumātua Pat Magill.

We need to refill our kete

“Māori staff must be able to replenish our emptying kete. Any organisation that recognises this need, plans for it and supports it, is demonstrating long-term cultural integrity and sustainability.” — Aroha Gilling.

As a doctor, being Māori is my superpower

“When a MAPAS student finishes work, they often drive home to a whānau where their knowledge of the health system is so badly needed. We’re pursuing equity not just at mahi, but in our whare, at our marae, and in our whānau circles.” — Chloe Fergusson-Tibble.

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.

RSE: Not an easy conversation

RSE “thrives because New Zealand is wealthier than any of its RSE partnership countries, and the monetary payoffs for workers and their communities are simply too great to say no to.” — Teuila Fuatai.

Why we’re on the RSE scheme

“I was scared we’d get accused of money laundering because he was sending so much money home. It was double or triple what I earned at the bank — and that job was a good income at home.” — Noellina Meltenoven, an RSE worker from Vanuatu.

Saving Kauri

“It all happened within one hundred years, ‘with an axe’. Within that time, 96 per cent of the forest, most of which was north of Auckland, was destroyed.” — Rebecca Priestley on the destruction of the kauri forests.

Why our marae will always open in a crisis 

“None of the people of our marae wait to find out if there’ll be money coming down the track. When you ask them why they do what they do, they say: ‘That’s what we do as Māori. That’s manaakitanga.’" — Siena Yates.

Bring all of yourself to the game

“Just as discovering and asserting your cultural identity sometimes means standing up for your rights, so it is with your sexual identity. To be your authentic self may require courage.” — Tainui Stephens.

Pākehā identity and the Treaty

“Although Pākehā ‘enjoy’ the political, social, and economic advantages of a dominant people, in the deep area of our identity, we are insecure and somewhat challenged.” — Alistair Reese, Pākehā theologian and historian.

Cyclone Gabrielle: ‘We were a united nation’

"We were caring for each other, sharing what we had, improvising meals without access to electricity, making sure the young ones felt safe even after traumatic experiences.” — Denis O’Reilly, on the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on his community in Napier.

Partnership means pulling up your socks

“You need to rise to the challenge, accept the discomfort, and not lurk around in the back row mumbling resentfully and looking at your boots.”— Aroha Gilling to local and central government staff who work with iwi.

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.

Mary’s mokopuna are coming home

“It is the way of our people to reach for new horizons and, by doing so, create new worlds and new ways of living. It is also the way of some of us to return home, to the places of our origins.” — Tainui Stephens.

Is this the best we can do?

“There’s an attitude that disabled people should be grateful for what we get, that we should be satisfied with what the system offers us, because it’s better than it was in the bad old days when we were all institutionalised.” — Lusi Faiva.

Becoming Pākehā: A work in progress

“After two centuries and more of living together on the same islands, you’d think Māori and Pākehā would have got to know each other.” — John Bluck in his book ‘Becoming Pākehā’.

Reclaiming the marks of our tīpuna

“Our whānau had reached another milestone in the decolonisation process — or, rather, in our journey of reindigenising ourselves, becoming who we always were. We are reclaiming the tohu, the marks of our tīpuna.” — Ariana Tikao.

Our teachers made school fun

“Looking back now, I can see it wasn't just about learning kapa haka. It was about pride and belonging, and making sure that Māori kids had connection and support at school when, everywhere else, racism was out and proud, and tikanga Pākehā was dominant.” — Kim Mcbreen.

Is it time for new tikanga around tangi?

“That lack of control over our traditions (and data) at a tangi raises serious questions about the new tikanga we need to protect tapu online. Without the right restrictions in place, we risk the loss of tapu, and perhaps the death of tangi.” — Tainui Stephens

He maimai aroha: Wiremu ‘Knockers’ Allen

“Knox was feared and respected in equal measure. He served serial terms of imprisonment. However, age, maturity, the influence of a loving partner, and the presence of children, even in a rapscallion’s life, tend to soften and heal.” — Denis O’Reilly on Black Power leader Wiremu ‘Knockers’ Allen.

Casting off Cook

“The Cook Islands name has no meaningful connection to who we are. To me, when we describe ourselves as Cook Islanders, we’re saying ‘I am a James Cook Islander’, or ‘I am of James Cook’.” — Liam Koka‘ua.

Poly Girls Should Take Up Space

“Beneath the frequent microaggressions and low expectations is the undeniable disconnect between the Poly students and the rest of the school. Leaving us constantly feeling isolated, put down, and out of place.” — Sabina Misa.

Bringing our tūpuna home

“Numerous tūpuna were jumbled together in the box, in an unrecognisable heap. It was painful to think of them in that heap, thrown together so carelessly, unable to rest.” — Pounamu Jade Aikman.

Stood down from life

“Many of the ‘truant’ or simply AWOL students have been stood down, either legally or illegally, for not much more than ‘defiance’ or vaping, or some other teenage-y manifestation, and have decided not to go back.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Everyday acts of resistance to colonisation

“I’ve been fortunate to contribute to big systemic change, but it’s the little acts, the personal struggles on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute basis that I find both potent and fascinating.” — Aroha Gilling.

Straight Up by Ruby Tui

“People often comment on how they love to watch us because of our obvious closeness as a team, and the joy we have towards our game and each other. What you’re seeing is real, but not simple.” — Black Ferns player Ruby Tui.

Don’t think inside the box

“The reo Māori petition and every learner and speaker of the language since September 14, 1972, has overturned one of the most damaging status quos suffered by our people.” — 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.

Unfinished business: Toby Curtis

“We went to church on Sundays, mostly in the car. But if the car wouldn’t start, we would have to walk. When I was eight or so, we would often walk the 10 kilometres to church. The priest would listen to confessions before church, so we went early.” — Tā Toby Curtis.

Toby Curtis: A paradox of success

“I have always wondered how our Pākehā counterparts would have fared if they were taught solely in te reo Māori, a language that was not spoken in their homes.” — Tā Toby Curtis.

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.

A respectfully curious approach

“Any time we’re on the world stage, it’s Māori things front and centre. As if those things are in a strong and healthy state. As if we have a bicultural country.” — Keri Opai.

Pepeha for non-Māori

“I believe that it’s inappropriate for non-Māori people to use the same pepeha as tangata whenua. It is not a matter of mere opinion, of like or dislike, of right or wrong: it simply doesn’t make sense. It is a matter of indigeneity.” — Keri Opai.

Sisters on and off the field

“For as long as anyone can remember, the team has always had a chant of ‘Sisters!’ It’s often heard before a game or at the end of the halftime huddle, but . . . there was a time when it was shouted with little meaning.” — Rikki Swannell in 'Sevens Sisters'.

The right words to say

“I sometimes find myself on the speakers’ paepae at a formal hui. It’s always a daunting thing. Never to be taken for granted. Always to be reflected on.” — Tainui Stephens.

Staying in our lane

“When tangata whenua share their world with the rest of us, it doesn’t mean we should claim a special insight or position. If we do this, we risk being told to stay in our lane.” — Catherine Delahunty.

The food of our ancestors

“Research showed that taro was part of the Māori diet from the moment Polynesians arrived. It was known as kai rangatira, a food for important people and eaten on special occasions.” — Lana Lopesi.

The Roaring Wind: Joe Hawke

“When Joe Hawke was born in 1940, the only land remaining to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in the entire Tāmaki isthmus, over which they had exercised their mana for some two centuries, was just 12½ acres of land at Ōkahu Bay.” — Professor David Williams.

Siding with the powerless

“We have to fix whānau, to fix family. And if we do that, there’ll be nobody in front of our courts. For me, that is the paramount thing to focus on within the justice system.” — Michelle Kidd.

A university where we can see ourselves

“I still remember the Year 13 dean who decided I didn’t need university pamphlets because, in his eyes, I wasn’t university material.” — Jemaima Tiatia, Pro Vice Chancellor Pacific at Auckland University.

Portrait of a Quiet Revolutionary

Moana Jackson was “our Māori Yoda". "He brought clarity to our struggle and wisdom to our kitchen tables, influencing generations of policymakers and jurists alike.” — Moana Maniapoto on the making of ‘Portrait of a Quiet Revolutionary’, made with the support of NZ On Air.

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.

Learning from Moana Jackson

“I have never met a more inspiring person with a greater influence over so many of us for the good. Let’s hope that we can now be worthy of his generous challenges to us.” — Catherine Delahunty.

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.

A day in the life of a Māori academic

“While the hijacking had taken things to another level, this was also just another day in the life of a Māori academic working within a colonial and patriarchal institution and society.” — Dr Elana Curtis.

Being part of Moana’s legacy

“Moana taught me, a young Chinese activist, the meaning of solidarity and what it means to be living on this land as tangata Tiriti who respect tangata whenua.” — Mengzhu Fu.

Threads of red

"I can’t stand it any longer. I send away for a DNA test. It arrives in a little white packet, and I’m excited. I tell my husband that I’m sure I have Māori in me." — Aimee Milne.

Finding my real voice

“I’d finally joined an environment where I didn’t have to use my Pākehā voice for the first time in my life.” — Siena Yates.

Moana Jackson: His legacy will endure

“If he hadn't taken on those fights, he could quite easily have buffered himself against the health issues. But he didn't. He didn't swerve. He didn't flinch. He just kept on going.” — Ngahiwi Tomoana.

The Matriarch of Māngere

“June was a matriarch of Donna Corleone proportions. Smoked up a storm, was a hotshot card player, and swore like a trooper. She had a shotgun under her bed.” — Moana Maniapoto.

In the waiting place

“The smoke floats around her like a deadly nimbus; but the irony still pinches. That one thing that put her here is the one thing that gives her any remnant of her own life now.” — Māmari Stephens.

‘You been playing up, boy?’

“I wouldn’t say the school was racist, as such. There were Māori staff, a makeshift marae on-site, Māori students excelling in pockets. It was, however, uncomfortably tolerant of racist rhetoric.” — Airana Ngarewa.

Fa’afetai lava, Luteru

“When Luteru swings low and wide to launch a ball for six, he might as well be channelling one of his aunties from Saoluafata.” — James Nokise on Ross Taylor.

Much to ponder after protest

“To the nurses: I can’t understand how you think you could continue to care for my husband with cancer, or a newborn grandchild in a neonatal unit, or visit my aunty’s home to redo her dressing on her leg, if you aren’t vaccinated.” — Joanne Doherty.

Bloodways of Papatūānuku

“Wai Pasifika is not just an examination of how to manage the substance that is essential to life on earth — but which blinkered materialists think of as a ‘resource’. It is also an approach to how to be in relationship with water.” — Kennedy Warne.

Cast adrift: My story of adoption

“Around 80,000 babies were adopted. Because of shabby practices, we can’t know how many of these babies were Māori, but I imagine every whānau has been affected, and has lost precious children.” — Kim Mcbreen.

The love of place

“We want the land and the beach to be left in peace. My dream is that one day the rich will be made to give up having to own the view.” — Catherine Delahunty.

Resisting the pull to go home

“We are the people that the restrictions and the mandates exist for. We are the reason why those working hospitals, shops, schools, movie theatres and cafes have to make sure their staff are vaccinated.” — Rangimarie Sophie Jolley.

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.

Understanding the Māori universe

“The Māori world is, in fact, a Māori universe with all of the subtleties, idiosyncrasies and nuances of any culture." — Keri Opai, author of 'Tikanga: An introduction to te ao Māori'.

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.

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.

Calling out hatred

“We have to make a noise about the bullshit, the bigotry, the terminally foolish, the wilfully ignorant. The dangerous.” — Tainui Stephens.

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.

‘We’re gonna need a whole new everything’

“It occurred to me as we drove around Westport that you might feel private about flood damage. We looked at the piles of rubbish, carpet, toys and clothing and we said we would hate to have strangers looking at our sodden mess.” — Becky Manawatu.

Farewell to a woman of fire

“Like the Hawaiian atua Pele, portrayed as a goddess of volcanoes and fire, Haunani-Kay Trask could be volcanic in her thinking and writing, a lava flow of protest.” — Kennedy Warne.

Chronic Kaupapa Fatigue

“I’ve known many individuals who grew old before their time because of the energy they expended, and the risks they took with their health or their domestic happiness, all to be able to serve a vital kaupapa that uplifted the wellbeing of the people.” — Tainui Stephens.

Policing the Dawn Raids

“The attitudes of the special squads which had been formed to do this work was appalling. The latent racism, usually judiciously concealed, was blatant and paraded for all to see, with constant talk of ‘getting the coconuts’.” — Tā Kim Workman.

Thursdays with Georgie

“Georgie had a way of asking questions that would make those in power squirm. 'Where are the women?' 'Where are the Māori?' Then she would do something to answer them.” — Adam Gifford on Dame Georgina Kirby, who died last month.

A maker of stories

“Each night, there will be a sentence or a paragraph that moves me, sometimes causing tears to flow. It happens whenever I read Patricia Grace.” — Kennedy Warne on one of the country's most beloved writers.

When Pākehā are not in charge

“A lot more of our people are beginning to realise that social change led by Indigenous wisdom is about how we organise and how we treat each other, as well as what we’re fighting for.” – Catherine Delahunty.

Return to Ōtata

“We were here to get to know the place — and let the place know us.” — Kennedy Warne remembers a day on Ōtata Island with a group of rangatahi.

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.

Truth, lies, and stereotypes

“Stereotypes affect, and infect, all of us — including those of us who suffer because of them. They don’t just live in the heads of those who use them to hammer us, but in ours as well.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Our stories about Cook

“Our stories of Cook need to explain why we need a Māori Health Authority and why such a thing isn’t apartheid or racist. Our stories of Cook need to provide ways for people on city councils to understand why there is such a broad call for Māori wards.” — Alice Te Punga Somerville.

Things have to change

“For two weeks, my co-parenting partner and my daughter and I lived out of a car. It was just the worst feeling you could imagine.” — Apanui Koopu, on how MSD decisions made things worse for him and his whānau.

Flies in milk

“The reason this female ancestor of mine is a mystery is simple. She was either Indian or what was then called Eurasian.” — Catherine Delahunty.

The Māori mascot

“The rangatahi Māori interns were like mascots. We were there to entice funding bodies into handing over more money.”

This doesn’t make us less

“We can be Māori and reo-less at the same time. It’s not ideal — especially in the hidden places we never talk about — but we can keep our heads held high. This doesn’t make us less.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Rejecting the System

“We don’t need to try to shape ourselves to fit Pālagi measures of success. Because we will never win, if we just play by those rules.” — Dahlia Malaeulu.

The Dawn Raids of 1974

“No one was safe. The police just went to addresses where they knew Tongans lived, maybe tipped off by a disgruntled neighbour. And the checks were indiscriminate.” — Joris de Bres.

Underground History

“We learned of the arrests from frightened kids who came into our classrooms, wide-eyed and anxious. They talked about special police squads raiding homes and workplaces.” — Professor Welby Ings, on being a teacher during the Dawn Raids era.

Tripping over Te Tiriti

“Much of our practice is repeatedly addressing the resistance to well-documented facts. Some people just can’t believe that they have been spun a toxic yarn about our history.” — Catherine Delahunty

‘I follow the trail of blood’

“In these fields, the tūpuna lie where they fell in the swamps or in unmarked graves hastily dug by survivors, with the dead piled up around them. I swear I can sometimes hear their voices.” — Joanna Kidman.

Memories from the Mahia Peninsula

“I was very sick with pleurisy and wasn’t expected to live. But Tangitangi, a woman from Ruatorea, wouldn’t give up on me and sucked the fluid out of my congested lungs through my nostrils — giving me life.” — Derek Fox.

The big beats of history

“The thing about the big beats of history is that they’re often signs or reminders that we must now reimagine the society we live in. Momentous history requires momentous change.” — Tainui Stephens.

Lost in translation

“There’s often been a gulf between our multilingual Pasifika and Māori students and their teachers, who are mostly middle-class English-speaking Pākehā.” — Kim Meredith.

Telling Niue climate change stories in Niue ways

"In the age of climate change, it cannot be clearer that when Indigenous people don’t have control in the relationship they have with their land and bodies of water, ultimately the health of the planet is put at risk." — Jess Pasisi.

The beauty and the violence

“This is the way it was for us. The two sides of our lives. The beauty and the violence; the richness and the poverty; the love and the hate. Everything, but nothing.” — Stan Walker, in his new book 'Impossible — My Story'.

The grind of racism

“Racism is wearisome. Literally tiring. It does not create a pearl after years of grinding. It creates sickness, fear, anxiety, sadness, resentment, and worry.” — Shelley Burne-Field.

Not all of us find our way home

“From the outside, my life looked positively magical. But this perfectly curated image that I had crafted on social media, hid the reality of what life was really like for me abroad.” — Patrick Thomsen.

This Pākehā life

“I decided to enrol in an immersion course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, in South Auckland. My friends were impressed, commending me for my ‘bravery’.” — Alison Jones in her new book 'This Pākehā Life: An Unsettled Memoir'.

Finding my way home

"The people I once loved 11 years ago had changed. They had experienced their own joys, growth, traumas and regressions. Distance had grown between many of us." — Seuta'afili Dr Patrick Thomsen on coming "home".

I am doing this for our seas

"The lack of white settlers in the Moana doesn’t mean that colonisation didn’t happen. Instead, corporate colonisation meant that corporates extracted natural resources and labour." — Tulia Thompson.

Peace, love and happiness

“Adults submitted work to a group of adults. Everyone presumed they were there, not to have their genius confirmed to them, but to become better writers.” — Becky Manawatu.

History demands a personal reckoning

“You can’t be Pākehā and believe that you’re not personally responsible for the colonial oppression of Indigenous peoples. No matter who your ancestors are.” — Leah Bell.

That funeral director from TV

"I was a whāngai kid — a pretty common practice used by Māori families to make sure their children are brought up okay." — Francis Tipene, in an extract from 'Life as a Casketeer'.

The story of Olsen Filipaina

Rugby league great Olsen Filipaina (Sāmoan-Ngāpuhi) died last week, on February 10. Here's a piece we ran about him in 2020, extracted from 'The Big O', by Patrick Skene.

The gift we gave ourselves

“Are these proposed changes the gift that we wish to give to the future generation of Sāmoans?” — Moeata Keil on the controversial changes to Sāmoa's constitution.

The colonial problem

“The origins of the racism that is tearing the United States apart has deep parallels with New Zealand, and the origins are the same.” — Aaron Smale.

The centre is where we belong

“I realised my only ticket back into the area was to line some landlord’s pocket with 40 percent of my income and take one of four bedrooms in a rundown flat on Sussex St (his 12th property, fyi).” — Litia Tuiburelevu.

Oh Canada!

“Canadians are inclined to point to racism as something that exists in the USA. ‘We are not the USA!’” — Tainui Stephens.

We owe so much to Huirangi

“Huirangi met every test of his strength, courage, integrity and leadership to secure the rights of future generations to the language of his tipuna.” — Andrew Robb on Huirangi Waikerepuru.

What will our rangatahi inherit?

"If I was a teenager today, I’d be anxious about the world I’m about to inherit. A job, a home, a family, clean air, and fresh water are well on their way to becoming luxuries." — Tainui Stephens.

It shifts, it changes

“Our world is changing so fast that many of last century’s realities are today not just irrelevant but even non-existent.” — Kennedy Warne.

Farewelling Tallulah

“I’m sad to see our Little Miss slide listlessly into a final acceptance that her magnificent animal frame is on its last legs. She writes the last page of that Ngāruawāhia chapter of my life.” — Tainui Stephens farewells a dear friend.

The Anniversaries of our Amnesia

“I’m starting to understand that amnesia may well be one of the main organising principles of colonisation. A selective forgetting is an important part of how power maintains its privileges.” — vivian Hutchinson.

Leaving home

“In the memory, there is just my mum, standing on the verandah, smiling, waving. I was annoyed she wasn’t crying.” — Becky Manawatu on leaving home.

The iceberg below the surface

“The people who have marched before me, who have occupied spaces before me: their feet taking steps for change, their bodies on the line, their voices hoarse with conviction . . . they are the iceberg below the surface.”

Hearing the ocean speak

“We have come here to speak about protection of the ocean. We come in the planet’s most uncertain hours to sing a redemptive tune. And what is it we are protecting the ocean against? Regrettably, us.”

The one place I felt safe

“I did not want to go home. Because I knew that when I went home someone was going to be angry, someone was going to fight, and someone was going to get hurt.”

Ihumātao feels like how I wish Auckland felt

“I can’t think of a time I’ve been in such a mixed group. There is a vibe of considerateness, gentleness. People are careful with the kids, and with each other. If you make eye contact, people say 'Kia ora', even if you don’t say it first.”

Witi Ihimaera: A writer’s memoir

“You must continue your education, son, I don’t want you to be a servant to anyone, man or woman, Māori or Pākehā. Your father and I didn’t raise you to help us on the farm.”  

The problem with white saviours

“There was an imbalance — visually, strategically, and hierarchically. White people on top, founding, leading, paying. Indigenous people beneath, benefiting, smiling, grateful.”

A taniwha in the city

Te Routu o Ureia is not the only site in Heritage New Zealand’s official list that has a taniwha connection. But it is the only site that carries a taniwha’s name.

Hemi at Hiruhārama

James K Baxter’s Jerusalem Daybook “had woken something, disrupted something, in my placid Pākehā existence. Like the water tank in Baxter’s story, bullet holes were appearing in the walls of assumption and belief.” — Kennedy Warne.

The singing island

“There is no airstrip. To get to Takū, you book a passage on the supply ship — if it's sailing. Last year, not a single ship visit was made. Cut off from outside supplies, the islanders relied entirely on their traditional food sources: fish, coconut and occasional taro."

Merata — a son’s tribute

“My hunger for the past came out of a need to process my own grief, rather than a desire to study the history.” — Hepi Mita, on making a film about his mum, Merata.

The history I wasn’t taught

The 150th anniversaries of several brutal events in our local and national history has prompted Ernie Barrington to dip into the history books — to remember “episodes that call out to be remembered and not to be airbrushed away”.

Maria: A Love Story

“Maria Thompson became a part of the Jackson household after my son’s grandmother, June, found her on the streets and took her home. She stayed for over three decades.”

Still more stories to tell

"I seek home in others’ hearts, and ask their permission to write of it. I look for aroha in their stories, for it is love that helps light things up when darkness threatens."

The Unforgiven

"The big challenge is how we as whānau and communities confront this terrible darkness, this sad duality that creates such a tragic legacy. There is no quick fix. It requires an open and honest conversation.”—Moana Maniapoto

Steven Adams: When Dad got sick

"It was 10 o’clock at night and this massive family was crying and then laughing and then crying and laughing again. I don’t know if it’s a brown thing, but if you’re not laughing at the hospital, no matter what the situation, you’re doing it wrong."

‘I’m still a mum, aren’t I?’

"We were the last mothers of that generation. The last to go through before the cradle-to-grave welfare state came crashing down around us. After that, single mothers were further stigmatised — and life got much harder."

My story, my shame, is tragically common

“The #MeToo movement hasn’t flowed through our Pacific communities as publicly as it has elsewhere. I think a big part of that is that the ones who’ve hurt us are our family. So outing our assaulter hurts us in new ways, and brings back the old pain.”

One tough mother

Remembering the mother of the nation, Whina Cooper — a tough, uncompromising mother who understood the power of protest and the political fray.

‘He’s the one who came home’

“The same courage that saw us move back to Tauranga Moana after an absence of many generations is needed again to take this next step. To finally be invested completely in the whenua of our ancestors. Our branch of the Bidois whānau will have a foothold again.”

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

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