Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki (Photo: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch)

There’s just a scattering of Māori psychologists working in our health system, and Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki (Ngāti Hako me Ngāti Māhanga) is one of them.

 She left high school early and raised her young children as a single parent before beginning her reo journey alongside her daughters in kōhanga reo. This led her eventually to a PhD at Waikato University, and then into clinical psychology practice. 

 In this kōrero with Te Rawhitiroa Bosch (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Pākehā) for the reo Māori podcast series Ki Tua on Māori Television, Waikaremoana talks about what Māori psychology means, her research into systemic racism, and how she ended up in her profession.

This is an edited transcript of their kōrero, with reo Pākehā translations by Stephanie Fong.

 

Te Rawhitiroa: He kaimātai hinengaro koe. He aha te rerekē o te mātai hinengaro Māori, tēnā i te mātai hinengaro noa nei?

Waikaremoana: He tino pai tērā pātai. Nā, kei te huri aku whakaaro ki ngā mahi ki Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. Nā te mea, i te wā tuatahi i whakaaro te whare wānanga ki te tīni i te ingoa o te kura mātai hinengaro, ka pātai mai ki a mātou: “Ko wai tētahi ingoa mō tātou?”

Engari kāore i tatari kia wānangahia — i homai te ingoa. Kua heke mai ki a mātou, ki ngā kaimahi: “Anei te ingoa: ko Te Kura Mātai Hinengaro.” I kata mātou nā te mea ko tērā te ingoa o ngā kura mātai hinengaro katoa o te whenua.

Kei Papaiōea tērā ingoa, kei Pōneke tērā ingoa, nā reira kārekau ōna ake mana. Ko te kupu mātai hinengaro he whakamāoritanga o te kupu “psychology”. Nā, ko te “psychology” ko te āta titiro me te wetewete i ngā whakaaro o te tangata, ngā mahi a te tangata, me ngā kare ā-roto. Nā, kāore tērā kupu “psychology” i te hāngai ki ngā whakaaro Māori. Ko te kupu i puta i a mātou mō te kura, ko Te Kura Whatu Ohomauri. He tino pai taua ingoa. Kei roto i tērā ko te āhuatanga o te mauri. Ko te mauri te mea — ko tō wairua, tō mana, tō tapu, me tō noho ki te ao, ki te taha o tō whānau, ki te taha o te whenua, ki te taha o te ao wairua, me tō whakapapa, me tō reo.

Te Rawhitiroa: You’re a clinical psychologist. What difference is there between the way Māori study the mind, and general psychology?

Waikaremoana: That’s a great question, and it makes me think about how things played out at the University of Waikato. When the university first decided to rename the school of psychology, they asked us: “What should we name it?”

The problem was they didn’t wait for us to hold discussions about a new name — they just gave us one. They came to us, to the staff, and said: “Here’s the new name: Te Kura Mātai Hinengaro.” We laughed because that’s the name of every school of psychology in the country.

Palmerston North has that name, Wellington has that name, so it lacked its own mana. “Mātai hinengaro” is simply a translation of the word “psychology”. Psychology is about studying a person’s mind, behaviour and emotions. The word “psychology”, however, doesn’t align with a Māori way of thinking.

The name we came up with for the school was Te Kura Whatu Ohomauri. It’s a wonderful name. It speaks of mauri. A focus on mauri encompasses the spiritual aspect of a person, their mana, their tapu, the way they live, their interactions with their family, the land and the spiritual realm, as well as their whakapapa and language.

Kei te tiro whānui ki te tangata?

Āe, me tana noho ki te ao, ki te taha o tētahi. Me kī, kua pai au mehemea kua pai taku whānau. Nā, kua pai taku whānau mehemea kua pai au. Nā, kua pai tātou mehemea kua pai te whenua.

E rua ngā taha o te mātai hinengaro. Ko te mea ka kitea nuitia ko tērā tangata, he tohunga ki ērā āhuatanga o te nawe, o te taumahatanga, o ngā tamariki, o ērā momo. Engari ināianei, kei te tino tīni tērā āhuatanga ki te taha mauri.

So, taking a more holistic view of a person?

Yes, and the way they live and interact with others. In other words, I’m well if my family is well, and my family is well if I’m well. Also, as a people, we are all well if the land is well.

Psychology has two main components. The part we’re used to seeing is the expert who specialises in dealing with problems and trauma, or children for example. Now, however, we’re seeing a marked shift to considering the concept of mauri.

He maha ngā Māori e mahi ana i te uepū nei? I te mahi mātai hinengaro nei?

Kāore i te maha. Kei raro i te 6 percent. Kei raro i te 7000 ngā kaimahi mātai hinengaro.

Are there many Māori practising in the field of psychology?

No, there aren’t many. Māori make up less than six percent of those practising psychology, and there are just under 7000 psychologists.

He aha i pērā ai, ki ō whakaaro?

He maha ngā take. Ko tētahi kua kitea ko te āhuatanga o te whare wānanga. Ko te āhuatanga o te ako. E ono tau te roa ki te ako. He tino roa. Ko te nuinga o tērā he ao Pākehā. Nā reira ka kuhu ngā tauira Māori, ka kite: “Kei whea au i roto i tēnei?”

Me te uaua hoki. He uaua te mahi. Nā runga i tērā, ka whakaaro pea, he huarahi kē atu mō rātou.

Why is this the case, do you think?

There are many reasons. One that’s been identified is the university environment and the learning commitment required. It takes six years of study. That’s a really long time, and the vast majority of that time is spent in a Pākehā environment. So, we have Māori students who study in this environment and wonder: “Where am I in all of this?”

It’s also very difficult. The work itself is difficult. So, many may start to consider alternative career paths.

He aha ētahi o ngā āhuatanga, ngā uauatanga pea mō wō tātou whānau e mahi tahi ana ki ngā mea kāore i te mārama ki tō tātou ao?

Ko te raru kua kite au me ngā rangahau, nā te kore e kite i ngā taha Māori i roto i ngā akoranga i ērā tau e ono, he uaua ki te whatu i tērā ki roto i tō mahi i te wā kua puta mai, nā reira me ako tonu. Kua kite au ko ngā kaimātai hinengaro kua puta i te whare wānanga, ko te nuinga ka haere ki te whakaako i a ia anō.

(Photo: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch)

What are some of the things our people have to endure, some of the difficulties perhaps, when having to work with those who don’t understand our world?

From what I’ve seen, and from what the research shows, the lack of consideration of a Māori worldview during those six years of study makes it difficult to fit into a psychologist’s practice once they’ve graduated, so they need to do further study. I’ve seen a number of psychologists graduate from university and go on to educate themselves to fill in the knowledge gaps.

Engari ko ētahi o ngā kura nei, ngā whare wānanga nei e mea ana he “bicultural learning”, he aha rānei, engari anō mō te whakatinana i ētahi wā, nē?

Ki te titiro ki ngā rārangi ipurangi a ngā whare wānanga, ka kite kei te hāngai rātou ki Te Tiriti, kei te hāngai rātou ki te iwi nō rātou te whenua, me ngā uara o te iwi Māori. Ka kite i aua kupu — manaaki tangata, ko te tangata, te aha rānei. Engari ki te titiro ki ngā kaimahi, ka kite, kāore ngā kaimahi te nuinga nō konei. Me titiro hoki ki ngā akoranga, ā rātou mahi rangahau. Kei te noho te ao Māori ki whea? Ahakoa te kī, kei whea tērā? Ka pēhea tō tauira e puta hei mea e matatau pai ana ki te mahi i te taha o te iwi Māori?

Yet some of these learning institutions and universities advertise themselves as providing “bicultural learning” and the like, but that’s not always the case when it comes to the implementation, is that right?

If you look at university websites, they’ll clearly state their commitment to te Tiriti, their acknowledgment of the iwi who hold mana whenua over the area, and the way that they incorporate Māori values into their operations.

You’ll see mention of words such as manaaki tangata — it’s about people, and so on.

Yet, when you see their staff lists, you see the majority are not from here. Looking at their teaching areas and their areas of research, where is the Māori world in all of this? Despite what they might advertise, where is it in practice? How are your students able to graduate with the understanding required to work well with Māori?

Mēnā kāore i roto i te marautanga, he mahi nui tērā māu, te kawe i tērā?

Koirā taku tino mahi me aku hoa, nā te mea kei te mōhio mātou koinā tētahi o ngā mea me āwhina ki te whakatika.

I tēnei wā kei te nui haere ngā kaimahi Māori ki roto i ngā whare wānanga, engari he mea uaua ki te tīni; ko Te Poari Kaimātai Hinengaro, nō rātou te mana ki te kī ki ngā kura mātai hinengaro, kei te whakaae ki te whakaako i tēnei āhuatanga.

If it’s lacking in the curriculum, does that leave you to bear the burden of addressing that?

That’s what my colleagues and I are concentrating on, as we know that’s one of the things we must fix.

We are seeing an increase in Māori staff at universities, but one thing that is difficult to change is the way that the Psychologists Board works. They’re the ones with the power to require schools of psychology to incorporate a Māori worldview into the curriculum.

Ko te tūmanako ia ka whakatinanahia wērā kōrero. Kia kaua e noho hei kōrero noa.

Āe, koinā. Arā tētahi kerēme (ki Te Rōpū Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi) mō te āhuatanga o te kura mātai hinengaro, me ngā DHB, Justice, Te Poari Kaimātai Hinengaro, nā te mea ko rātou ngā kaimahi a te Karauna. Ko te kerēme e kī ana kāore te Karauna i te whakatinana i tō rātou ake Tiriti. Kua whati. Nā, me te kī, ki ēnei taumata/papa katoa, kua whati te ture a Te Tiriti. Kua whati, kua whati, kua whati. Koinā tētehi o ngā kerēme e tū mai nei.

Hopefully, we’ll see the implementation of these things rather than just hear it talked about.

Yes, exactly. There is a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal underway that is focused on the schools of psychology, the DHBs, the Ministry of Justice, and the New Zealand Psychologists Board, because they are Crown agents.

The claim argues that as agents of the Crown they are not upholding their own Treaty. It has been breached. The claim alleges that te Tiriti has been breached at all of these levels. There have been multiple and ongoing breaches. That’s one of the claims that is underway.

Ka huri ki ngā āhuatanga e rere ana i tēnei wā o te urutā. He aha ētahi o ngā whenu o te mātai hinengaro Māori hei āwhina i a tātou i roto i ēnei momo wero?

Me hāngai te mahi ki te mauri. Ki te pērā, ka kite ko ngā mea ka āwhina i a tātou ko te reo, ko te kōrero, ko te āwhina i ō tātou tūpuna.

Kei a tātou ngā rongoā. Nā, ko te waiata, ko te mahi toi, ko te taha taiao, ka hiki i te wairua. Ka puta ki te taiao me tō whānau.

Koinā te pai o te noho ki raro i te rāhui, nā te mea, me ako ki te noho. Koinā ki ahau nei ko te mea uaua, ko te noho ki ō ake whakaaro. Kāore te haerenga ki te mahi i te aukati i ō ake whakaaro, i tō hono ki a koe anō. Ko ngā mahi taiao, ahakoa te aha — he kōrero mō te taiao, he haere ki te keri māra, ki te titiro ki te rākau, te aha rānei. Purei whutupōro! Me te kata. Hono ki tō whānau — te kōrero me te kata me te amu.

Let’s turn our focus to some of the things we’re seeing during the pandemic. What are some of the aspects of a Māori view of mental health that can help us during such challenging times?

We need to do things that align with our mauri. By doing so, we see that the things that help are our language, talking, and helping our elders.

We have our own therapies, such as incorporating waiata, art, and our environment — all of those things help to lift our wairua. Getting out into nature with our whānau.

That was one of the good things about being in lockdown — learning how to be still and just be. I think that’s one of the biggest difficulties — dealing with our own thoughts. Having to go to work was no longer interrupting our thoughts and connection to our inner selves.

Connection to the environment is key, regardless of what that looks like — talking about the environment, getting out into your garden, observing trees, all that sort of thing. Play rugby! And laugh. And connect with your whānau — talk, laugh, and have a moan, of course.

Kua kī mai koe he uaua te mahi mātai hinengaro, he roa te ako, me manawa tītī te tangata hei whai i tēnei. Nō hea tō hiringa ki tēnei kaupapa?

Ko te tino hiringa ko taku pāpā. I te noho mātou, i a au e tamariki ana, ki Putāruru. I te mahi ia mā Kinleith. I tērā wā,i haere mai taku pāpā ki Kirikiriroa nei, ki te whai i te mātauranga mātai hinengaro i te whare wānanga. Nā, i haere hoki taku māmā ki te whare wānanga ki te ako i te reo Māori. Ko taku waimarie, i kite au i taku māmā e haere ana ki te whare wānanga, me tōna hiahia ki te reo Māori. Ko taku whāinga — ka whai atu i a ia.

Pae Ahi marae, in Waitoki, Te Aroha, 1950. Waikaremoana’s mother Kathleen Wilson is the young girl on the right, next to her grandmother. (Photo supplied)

Kathleen Vaughn (nee Wilson), Waikaremoana’s mother. (Photo supplied)

Richard Vaughn, Waikaremoana’s father, at his master’s graduation. (Photo supplied)

You’ve explained psychology is a difficult field to work in, it requires a long time spent studying, and anyone serious about this as a career must have great stamina. What inspired you to take it up?

My father was my biggest inspiration. We lived in Putāruru when I was young, and he worked for Kinleith. At that time, my dad travelled here to Hamilton, to university, to study psychology. My mum also went to university to learn te reo Māori. I was lucky to see my mum going to university, and to see her pursue te reo Māori. My goal was to follow her.

Kāore koutou i tipu ake i te reo?

Tika. Kāore taku māmā i tipu i roto i te reo. Engari i noho ia ki te taha o tana kuia kōrero Māori mō te wā paku. Toru, whā tau e noho ana ia ki tōna taha. Tōna waimarie. Tino. Engari i mate moata taku kuia. I kite i te hiahia o tōku māmā. Nā runga i tērā i whai atu hoki i tērā āhuatanga. I haere aku tamariki ki te kōhanga. I whai atu au i a rāua, ā, i tupu i reira.

None of you were raised with te reo Māori?

Correct. My mother wasn’t raised with te reo Māori, but she did live with her fluent grandmother for a short time. She spent three to four years living with her. She was lucky — very lucky.

Unfortunately, my grandmother died suddenly. Watching my mum’s desire to learn te reo Māori led me to do the same. My children attended kōhanga reo. I followed along with their journey, and it developed from there.

Ko wai mā atu ngā tāngata e whakaaweawe nei i a koe?

Kāore au i mutu pai i te kura. I puta moata au i te kura. Kua pana atu au i ētehi o ngā kura. I haere au ki Merewera i te wā i wehe i te kura, tipitipi haere. I noho au ki Rāhui Pōkeka. I whānau mai aku tamariki. I noho au i runga i te penihana mō ngā tau. Nā reira i iti taku ao. Ko ngā mea tautoko rawa i a au ko ngā tāngata i Rāhui Pōkeka, nā te mea, ko tērā te wāhi tuatahi i tino kite au ki te taha Māori. Kāore au i te mōhio he aha te kupu “kāuta” i taua wā.

Who else inspires you?

I didn’t complete high school — I left early. I was expelled from another school. I attended Melville until I left school, and then roamed about. I lived in Rāhui Pōkeka, I had my children, and I was living on a benefit for a few years, so my world was pretty small.

The people who really supported me were the people of Rāhui Pōkeka. Actually, that was the place where I really came to experience what it was like to live a Māori way of life. I didn’t even know what the word “kāuta” meant when I first got there.

He aha ētahi o ōu maumaharatanga mai i tērā wā?

Ko te āwhina, te tautoko, te manaaki. Ko tērā te wā tuatahi i haere au i ia wiki, i ia atu wā ki te marae — ki ngā tangihanga, ki ngā hui — he mea mīharo. I mate taku māmā i te tau 1989. Ko ngā tāngata, ko ngā hapū o Rāhui Pōkeka, nā rātou mātou i āwhina ki te whakatū i te tangi, nā te mea kāore i te mōhio me pēhea. Kua mate taku māmā. Kāore tētehi o mātou i te mōhio ka aha. Nā reira ko Mutual Broadhurst, Whaea Mutual, nō Rāhui Pōkeka — kuia rongonui — nāna mātou i āwhina. Kāore kau taku pāpā. Kua noho wehe aku mātua. Nā, ko mātou anake. Nā, kua haere mai a Nanny Mutual me ētehi o te whānau o taku hoa tāne ki te kī: “Anei, me whakarite te rūma – e pēnei ana. Tū te kāuta i waho.” Kua haramai rātou me te tāpōrena. Ā, ka tū te tangihanga.

What are some of the things you remember from those days?

I remember the help, the support, and the genuine care. For the first time in my life, I regularly attended the marae, attended tangihanga and various hui. It was great.

My mother passed away in 1989. The Rāhui Pōkeka community helped us to hold her tangihanga, as we didn’t know how to. My mother had died, and none of us knew what to do.

So, it was Mutual Broadhurst — Nanny Mutual — a well-known kuia from Rāhui Pōkeka, who helped us. My father wasn’t with us. My parents had separated, so it was just us. So, Nanny Mutual and some of my partner’s family came and said: “Set the room up like this. Set your cookhouse up outside.” They came with their tarpaulins, and the tangihanga ran like that.

Ātaahua. Nā, ki te tiro whakamuri koe me ō kanohi mātai hinengaro i āianei, he aha ngā āhuatanga e kite nei koe i roto i tērā hapori e whakatauria ai te mauri, e hīkina ai te wairua?

Te kotahitanga. Te manaakitanga. I te wā e noho ana koe i roto i te kapua o te mate, kāore koe i te mōhio me haere ki whea, me aha. Mehemea kāore i te mōhio, he uaua ake. Nā reira ko te poipoi me te āwhina.

Ko tētahi o ngā mea kua kitea e au i te tangi — i nehua taku māmā ki Hauraki nā te mea nō reira au. I tētahi pō, i te noho au ki waho ko taku kotahi. He pō kāore kau tētahi atu. I te tangi au. I rongo au ki tētahi e kauwhau ana. He kaikōrero e kōrero ana, engari kāore au i te paku mōhio he aha ngā kupu, engari i rongo ki te reo o tētahi koroua. Nā, ko taku maumahara, i kōrero au ki a Mutual. Ka kī au: “Inapō i rongo au i tēnei i te whīra i te taha o ngā kau.” Ko tāna: “Āe. He tohu tērā me haere koe ki te ako i te reo Māori.”

Beautiful. So, if you look back now through your clinical psychologist’s lens, what are the aspects of that community that served to settle your mauri and lift your spirits?

The unity. The care for one another. When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, often you have no idea where to go or what to do. If you also have no idea how to run tangihanga, it’s even more difficult. So, it was that genuine nurturing and help that they provided.

I had an experience during that tangi. My mother was buried in Hauraki, as that’s where we come from. One night, I found myself sitting outside alone. Nobody else was around that night. I was upset, and then I heard somebody talking. I could hear the voice of an old man speaking, but I had no idea what the words meant.

I remember telling Mutual: “Last night, I heard this, out in the field by the cows.”

She said to me: “Aah yes. That’s a sign that you need to learn te reo Māori.”

Te Whaanui Te Kōhanga Reo in Rāhui Pōkeka (formerly Huntly) in the Waikato.  (Photo supplied)

Daughters Joni and Wini Waitoki. (Photo supplied)

Nā reira koe i whai ai i tērā ara?

Āe, i whai i tērā. He tamariki tonu āku, engari ko tērā āhua o te wairua, ahakoa te ‘reo’ kei roto, ko te mauri, ko te reo, ko te whakapapa, ko te poipoi i te wairua. Mō te mahi mātai hinengaro, me whai i aua momo mea. Me kaua e whai noa i te ara kūiti o te mātai hinengaro Pākehā. He pai, engari he kūiti.

So that’s why you followed that path?

Yes, I did exactly that. My children were still young, and that’s how the spiritual realm guides us. Although it was about the language, it was more than that. It’s also about what’s within, such as mauri, the language, the genealogy, and nurturing the spiritual.

When it comes to psychology, we need to address all of those sorts of things. We can’t just use the limited scope of the Pākehā idea of psychology. While there are positives, it does take a narrow view.

He pūkenga rangahau hoki koe. Ināianei tō koutou kāhui rangahau e rangahau ana i ngā aupēhitanga o te kaikiri i roto i ngā wāhi katoa nē? Whakamārama mai i tērā kaupapa — he nui!

He tino nui. He mahi āta titiro ki te whare wānanga ki te kite mehemea e tū ana tēnei mahi kaikiri. Nā, ko te ingoa ko WERO. Nā reira kua takoto te mānuka — ko tērā te kaupapa — kua takoto te mānuka, kei a koutou mehemea ka hīkina ake. Ko te hiahia o te mahi he āta titiro ki te kite kei whea tēnei mahi kaikiri e noho ana, ā, mā wai e kawe, mā te aha hoki e kawe tēnei mea. E whā ngā whatu. Ko tētahi e pā ana ki te whare wānanga, ko ngā ‘institutions’ o te Karauna. Ko tāku tērā whatu. Pēhea te mahi kaikiri ka kitea i roto i te Karauna, i te mahi a te Karauna — mai i te Ministry, ki TEC — Tertiary Education Commission — ki te whare wānanga.

He whatu anō ko te āhuatanga o te whiwhi mahi. Anō, ka noho tērā mahi kaikiri ki whea i roto i ngā whiriwhiringa tūranga mahi. He tino tauira te whare wānanga. Ka whakaae a wai ki te noho ki te mahi ki te whare wānanga? He aha ōna pūkenga? Ka whakaae ki tēwhea pūkenga? Tēwhea mātauranga? He aha te utu mō ia kaimahi?

You’re also an experienced researcher. Your research team is currently researching racial oppression in a wide range of settings. Tell us about that project — it’s big!

It’s very big. We’re looking carefully at tertiary institutions to see if structural racism exists. The name of the project is WERO. So, the challenge has been laid — that’s the aim of the project. The challenge has been laid, and it’s up to you whether or not you take it up.

The project investigates where racism exists, who perpetuates racism, and by what means. There are four key strands. One strand focuses on universities and Crown institutions. That’s my area of focus. How does racism exist within the Crown’s agencies and their activities — from the Ministry (of Education), to the Tertiary Education Commission, to universities.

Another theme focuses on employment, and the existence of racism among employment-related roles, and who is successful when seeking employment.

University is a prime example. Who decides who is employed by the university? What skills does he or she possess? Which skills are recognised? Which body of knowledge? How is each staff member’s remuneration decided?

E taurite ana te utu o te Māori tēnā ki te utu o te Pākehā?

Kāore i te taurite, ahakoa ki whea, kei te mōhio kāore i te rite. Nā reira ka āta titiro te mahi ki te pātai ko wai te kaiwhiriwhiri, he aha ōna whakaaro? Kei te mōhio kē tātou ka noho te mahi kaikiri ki whea, engari ko te tino hua o tēnei mahi ko tērā, te hiki ake o te mānuka, he aha te rongoā?

Ko tētehi atu whatu ko ngā whare, ko ngā wāhi noho o te tangata. Nā, ko te mahi kaikiri ka pana atu ngā tāngata ki ngā wāhi tino pēhi, ka tahia ngā Māori ki korā noho ai. Kāore i te whakatika i ngā whare, kāore he aha te āhua o ngā papa tākaro kei reira hoki ngā whare hoko waipiro.

Are Māori and Pākehā salaries on par?

They aren’t equal. Regardless of where you are, they’re not at the same level. The project will ask questions, such as: “Who gets to decide? What are they considering?”

We know where racism exists, but the key goal of this project is for people to actually take up the challenge and work out what the solutions are.

Another of the project strands looks at housing and where people live. Racism leads to people being pushed into deprived areas, and Māori are swept there to live. Houses are left in states of disrepair, playgrounds are ignored, and there are a number of liquor outlets in the area.

Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki, Dr Nepia Mahuika, Dr Arama Rata, Professor Tahu Kukutai, Dr Mohi Rua, Moana Rarere and Professor Bridgette Masters-Awatere. This was a meeting with the late Sir Wira Gardiner and the Hekia Parata to hear submissions on the accusation of racism at the University of Waikato (2020). (Photo supplied)

Ngāti Porou protest against racism at the University of Waikato in 2020. (Photo supplied)

Pātata nei ko te wāhi tiaki i te tiko, i te tūtae, i ngā rua para, wērā āhuatanga katoa kua tōpū ki ērā wāhi, nē?

Āe. Tika. Ko ngā pārae, e kīia ana ko ngā “green spaces” — he iti ērā wāhi ki ērā momo rohe.

Ko te whatu, he rawe hoki, ko te noho tahi a ngā iwi taketake ki waenga i a tātou anō, pērā i ngā tāngata Pasifika, i ngā tāngata taketake anō. Ko tērā mea, te kaikiri, e pēnei ana nē: ko ngā tāngata o runga ka pēhi i ngā tāngata ki raro. Nā ko tātou i raro, i waenganui i tērā, ka puta ngā tautohe me te whawhai ki waenganui i a tātou.

Not far from here are the sewage treatment plant and dumps. Those types of facilities are grouped together in these areas, is that right?

Yes, that’s right, and the open spaces referred to as “green spaces” are few and far between in such areas.

Another strand, which is awesome, is the focus on multiple ethnic groups from around the world living alongside our people in these communities, such as Pasifika peoples and other ethnicities. The thing is, racism works like this: the people at the top oppress those at the bottom. Now our people are at the bottom and that can lead to disputes and fighting among ourselves.

Anei he kai — me whawhai, kia whai ai tētahi o kourua i te kai.

Tika. Āe. Anei ngā kongakonga. Me te kore e kite i waenganui i a tātou ko ō tātou rawe. Me akiaki i tērā, me whakapuāwai, me whakaahua i tērā. Kia kaua e whakaaro noa e whawhai ana mātou.

Kua kite koe i Ihumātao, nē? I tae ake te ope Muhirama ki te tautoko i a rātou. Ki konei, ki Ōtautahi hoki i tū te iwi Māori ki te tautoko i te whānau Muhirama.

Here’s some food — you must fight over it to see who gets it.

Exactly. Yes. Here are the crumbs. We also don’t see the positives among us all. We need to encourage and nurture that, to broadcast that. Let’s not think that we just fight among ourselves.

You saw at Ihumātao, didn’t you? A Muslim contingent came to show their support for the cause. Here, and also in Christchurch, Māori stood in solidarity with the Muslim whānau.

Mā tēnei rangahau ka aha? Kia oti i a koutou tēnei rangahau, ka aha?

Kua tuwhera te taupoki. Kua kite he aha ngā huarahi hei āwhina i a tātou ki te kite, kia mōhio ai he aha te rongoā, ko wai ngā kaitautoko, he aha ngā aukatinga. Nā reira ka kite i ngā mea ka aukati, ka kite i ngā mea ka āwhina. Ko tētahi atu o ngā mahi he hopu i ngā kōrero, he hopu i ngā mahi a ngā tāngata kaipatu. Ko ngā ‘hate crimes’, kia mōhio ai ngā pirihimana, kia mōhio ai tātou he aha tērā momo mahi.

What will this research achieve? Once you complete this project, then what?

The lid will have been opened. We will have highlighted ways of helping us to identify where racism exists, which will help us to understand the solutions and the supporters, and what the barriers are. So, it will identify barriers and solutions.

Another outcome will be the recording of accounts of hate crimes, enabling police and all of us to be aware of what constitutes hate crimes.

Mēnā he kiri mā, e kore e kitea. Engari kiri parauri, kei te āta mātaki, āta mātai.

Āe. E kīia ana ko te “hyper surveillance” tērā.

Nā runga i te kore titiro ki ngā tāngata kiri mā, kāore i te mōhio koirā tā rātou, kei te pupū ake tērā kino.

A white person can easily slip under the radar, but if it’s a person of colour, they’re watched very carefully.

Yes. That is regarded as “hyper surveillance”.

A lack of surveillance on white communities means the warning signs that hate crime is likely are easily missed.

Ka mutu, ka kite i te kaikiri o tā rātou whakarite, i te mea ka tuku i ngā pirihimana mau pū nei ki ngā hapori Māori, ki ngā hapori Pasifika, ki ngā hapori parauri. Kāore e kitea i ngā hapori Pākehā.

Āe. Ko tētahi o ngā whatu (e hāngai ana ki) te mahi a te pirihimana. Ka pēhea tērā, te tokomaha o ngā tāngata Māori ka mauheretia mō te hara iti. Engari ki te taurite tērā ki te Pākehā. Kua kite i tērā i te tau, te urutā. Ko tērā wahine Māori i puta atu ki te haere ki te tangihanga — i mauheretia ia mō tērā, engari ko tērā atu tangata Pākehā, ko tāna mahi he mahi kino i roto i te hōtera, i pakaru i a ia ētahi o ngā mea, i rere atu ki te hoko waipiro, engari, kārekau.

Nā reira kei te āta wetewete anō i tērā me te kite i ngā rongoā, engari, rima tau te roa o tēnei mahi.

Institutional racism within the police themselves is also visible in the way armed police are dispatched into Māori and Pasifika communities, into brown communities. It’s not something we see in predominantly Pākehā communities?

Yes. One of the research strands covers the way our police operate. An example of this is looking at the large number of Māori who are jailed for minor crimes, yet when we compare that to Pākehā rates it’s another story.

This was highlighted during lockdown. The Māori woman who absconded from MIQ to attend a tangihanga — she was jailed for that. Yet the Pākehā man who destroyed property in the MIQ hotel, and then escaped to buy alcohol — he received no jail time.

So, we’re carefully investigating these things and identifying solutions. This project is set to run for five years.

Hei kupu whakamutunga, he kupu āwhina, he kupu ārahi rānei mō te iwi e rongo ana i ngā āhuatanga o te kaikiri i roto i ō tātou ao?

Ko tō mana me tō mauri. Kāre e whakaaengia ana ki te whakaiti i tō mana. Kei a koe te mana. Me kimi i ngā huarahi hei whakatū i tērā. Engari mēnā kua heke tō mana, me kimi i ngā mea hei whakarauora i tērā, pērā i tō reo, i tō hono ki tō whānau, i te aroha, i te mahi taiao, i tētahi mea e hāngai ana ki tō Māoritanga. Ko tō ūkaipō — kei reira te rongoā.

Ahakoa he iti, mehemea ko tō ingoa he ingoa Māori, engari kāore i te mōhio nō whea koe, me āta wānanga i tō ingoa. Ā, ka tīmata ki tērā — he kākano.

Nā, ko tō mauri — mehemea kua pai tō mana, kua pai tō mauri. Mēnā kua pai tō mauri, kua pai tō mana. Nā, kimihia ngā mea ka whāngai i a koe, i ērā. Koirā.

To close, what help or advice do you have for those of us experiencing racism in our lives?

Your mana and your mauri are key. Don’t let your mana be trampled. Remember that you have mana. Find ways to uplift your mana.

If, however, your mana has diminished, find ways to revitalise it, such as your language, your connection to your whānau, love and empathy, spending time in the environment, something that connects to your Māoritanga. Your place, your language and culture are where your energy and nourishment come from.

It doesn’t matter how little you know. If, for example, you have a Māori name, but you don’t know for sure where you come from, start by researching your name. That can be a seed.

As for your mauri — if your mana is intact, so too will your mauri be. If your mauri is well, so too will your mana be. Find the things that nourish you and nourish those things within you. Therein lies the remedy.

Tēnā koe i whakapuaki i ēnei kōrero, i ō wheako maha. E mihi ana ki a koe. 

It’s been an honour to have you share your kōrero and your many experiences. Thank you.

 

Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki is a clinical psychologist with work and research interests in kaupapa Māori psychology, adult, child and adolescent mental health, supervision, accreditation, and curriculum development. She is a senior lecturer in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies at Waikato University and the president of the New Zealand Psychological Society.

Te Rawhitiroa Bosch (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa) is an artist, reo Māori advocate, photographer and the presenter of the reo Māori podcast Ki Tua. Through his work he strives to serve his people and to uplift the beauty and magic of the Māori world for all to understand and appreciate. With Ki Tua, he weaves narratives and creates moments of connection to uncover the hidden gems and lessons from within the life stories of his guests. web www.rawhitiroa.com  |  Instagram@rawhitiroa  |  facebook www.facebook.com/rawhitiroaphotography

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