Becoming Tangata Tiriti

Catherine Delahunty grapples with the complexities of Pākehā identity in Aotearoa

It was long ago that I first went to a hui on a marae, but the memory is still so vivid that it could’ve been yesterday.

I was lying back against the wall in the corner of the wharenui at Whāngārā as each of us took it in turn to stand and introduce ourselves.

There were those who were fluent in their reo, knew their whakapapa, and were able to paint a confident picture of where they came from and who they were. 

But there were also others who were clearly straining to present what little they knew in a language that had been taken from them. 

If my heart was pounding in my chest, what extra pressure were they under? As Tina Ngata has told us Pākehā, we should benchmark our “sorry for self” feelings against those who’ve been damaged by the theft of their land, their language, and their whakapapa. 

Link to article: Becoming Tangata Tiriti - E-Tangata


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