to just be Māori
She once thought she wanted a waewae firmly planted in both worlds, but dedicating a year of her life to study te reo full-time has finally given Meriana Johnsen a safe space to exist in te ao Māori.
A large black and white photo hangs on the back wall of our wharenui at Mangamaunu marae. The shaded image shows our tīpuna in their Sunday best. They’re sitting on the mahau, the front of the meeting house, all dressed in white. On one side, they are flanked by settlers of the Anglican faith, the other, Catholics. Some of the latter are most likely my Irish Catholic ancestors.
Link to podcast and article: In search of a place to just be Māori | The Spinoff