to be brown enough to be considered Māori
OPINION: Being paler than everyone else in my family, it’s been a long-running joke that I am a "washed out Māori".
My sister, cousins and even my own children are all darker than I am, and it’s often been difficult for me to fit into Māori settings. The recent trend in Ancestry DNA tests to tell us what ethnicity we are, and the curious case of Rachel Dolezal who claimed that she was transracial, identifying as black, has made me reflect on how I identify myself, and the way that I have been identified by others, as a biracial woman.
I have struggled throughout my entire adult life to be brown enough to be considered Māori. Though my hair is a thick, frizzy mess of dark curls and I have dark, almond-shaped eyes, my skin is pale, and apparently, that’s all it takes to be pigeon-holed as ‘the white girl’.