The beautiful thing about the human mind is being able to have different perspectives about different things. Born and raised in Aotearoa, I have been aware of my position as a Pasifika individual in society. It has been a learned experience, doused with lessons of history, factual information from bi-cultural perspectives and stories that highlight the birth of a bi-cultural nation.
My initial observations of the Māori world (te ao Māori) was through learning different kupu on PlaySchool and being mistaken for the real Manu in my kapa haka costume (thanks Rawiri Paratene for those early days) and of course Olly Olsen (keeping me cool till After School).
In the past year I have thought a lot about what it means to identify as Māori in Aotearoa.
It prompted me to create an identity continuum about the different types of Māori whānau that I have come across in my wanderings and wonderings.
At this point, I need to insert a caveat/warning/disclaimer - my intent is not to offend Māori by making assumptions with the following, my intent is to share with you what's in my head. I am interested in increasing my own knowledge and extending my learning, and I would follow a similar process when thinking about what it means for the disaggregation of Pasifika ethnic groups in this context.
Māori Identity Model
Multiple identities of Māori
1. Hāti Māori - tu te ao, tu te po
2. Fluent reo, no tīkanga
3. Fluent tikanga, no reo
4. Some reo, no tīkanga
5. Some tīkanga, no reo
6. Brought up hāti, chooses not to engage in tīkanga or reo
7. Not brought up hāti Māori but chooses to engage in tīkanga and reo
8. No reo, no tīkanga
Contributing factors to the multiple identities of Māori:
1. Urban Māori vs. Rural Māori
2. Second language learner
3. Academic language learner
4. Passive vs. Active
5. Relationship between reo and tikanga, practising the reo
6. Formal school learning environment
7. Family environment
8. Pākeha showing cultural competence - Pākeha developing fluent te reo and now teaching it
9. New milliennium Māori
10. Ethnicity vs. Identity
I have been fascinated in my interactions with different groups of Māori to hear about what each individual values and practises, juxtaposed against collective values of their hāpu and iwi, as well as a collective national identity for Māori - these are common issues that Pasifika peoples face in Aotearoa within their own spaces in their respective communities.
This is probably someone's Master's thesis waiting to happen and when I look at the existence of these multiple Māori identities, even the diversity of what being Māori is, it makes me think about the future of Māori in Aotearoa as the indigenous people of the land.
Why should I care? It's not because I share the same name as the lovely kapa haka performer on PlaySchool but because I feel the obligation but more so the desire to help support Māori tikanga and reo as a historical migrant kiwi. How we see ourselves can help to shape our futures.
This blog post is dedicated to Te Ahua Park and Moana Timoko for being the long time listeners, first time callers regarding these humble musings of a Hamo observer.