The Māori trio changing the way we think about makeup and masculinity
The late Dr Hone Kaa, Māori priest and social activist, argued that the Māori concept of wairua (spirit) is best understood when the word is broken into two – wai meaning water and rua meaning two. So wairua equals two streams.
In Kaa’s world, the two streams represented masculinity and femininity. Kaa believed both energies are present in all of us, and he used this concept as the basis for training in traditional Māori parenting.
Mothers and fathers need to be alert to both sides of this duality to nurture, shape and lead their children. His research showed that before Māori were colonised, parental roles were fluid, and men and women participated in the early care of their children.
From Ngāti Porou, an iwi famous for allowing women to speak on the marae, Kaa was also firing an elegant shot across the bow at the gender binary that, in modern times, thrives in the Māori world, especially on the marae.