Monday, 30 June 2014

Welcome home. . . see I made a space for you now . . .

When I think about New Zealand music, I think a lot about Dave Dobbyn.
For me in the time growing up in suburban Auckland, I grew up around cousins who were huge fans of Hello Sailor! and DD Smash.  In my mind he is one of the few artists that I love, whose voice continues to strike chords (no pun intended) within me as his voice matures with age.  I also love the fact that he is a singer/songwriter and his songs are about love, moments that reflect life and the ideals of how a person can be.

There's the cloud the full length of these isles
Just playing chase with the sun
And its black and its white and its wild
All the colours are one

Welcome Home makes me think about being in a strange land, far away from home and how you can feel that sense of belonging again by the people who have included you in their local, regional and national communities.  I reflect on my own parents and their migration to this land.  I can't imagine how they must have felt, coming to a new country for work, with their hopes and dreams packed quite tightly in their suitcases, their clothes not well equipped for the drastic change in weather and not being able to communicate confidently in a foreign language.

Tonight I am feeling for you
Under the state of a strange land
You have sacrificed much to be here
There but for grace as I offer my hand

As a Pasifika woman, I am acutely aware of honouring my bi-cultural responsibilities and obligations to Māori in Aotearoa.  It is a daily and challenging task - not for me personally - but for the contexts in which I interact in - I might be expected to give a Māori perspective in a meeting if I am the only person perceived to have "culture" in the room.  It is a daily and challenging task - because in order for you to be able to take on board how to honour Māori, you need to understand their history, their present and most importantly their aspirations for the future. You might be thinking - why is that important for me to know?

There's a woman with her hands trembling - haere mai
And she sings with a mountain's memory - haere mai

To be plain and simple - the bi-cultural relationship between Maori and Pakeha to me, signals that all ethnic groups who are "non-Maori" are known as Pakeha.  This means that for me, that Pakeha encompasses all other cultures in Aotearoa that are not descended from Māori heritage or not indigenously Māori.  We must live and honour this bi-cultural relationship that has historical precedence and relevance as our nation's founding document - if we are to truly embrace our multicultural diversities.

So welcome home, I bid you welcome, I bid you welcome
Welcome home, from the bottom of my heart. . .