“Why are we listening to this monkey language?” Said the racists in Paraparaumu standing next to our tamariki.
It’s not just pride in overcoming that anxiety when I kōrero Māori. It’s hope for the future and respect for the past. Every time I stumble slowly over te reo Māori instead of the language caned into my Nana, it’s for her. My words pay respect to the price she paid for the chance to speak our tongue, going back. Those words reach out in hope for you and maybe your tamariki and uri, to feel that connection and place in the world, going forward.
If you watched George Floyd’s death earlier this year, or the riots and thought how lucky we are to live in Aotearoa where we don’t have systemic racism, you’re in the privileged position of not being subjected to it.
As we were driving from Otaki a few months back, a swarm of Mongrel Mob bikers roared past us. Kāhu, you stared wide-eyed as you do at every motorbike. I watched because I’ve been told all my life that the physical power they carry is strength – wide shoulders, tough fists, and leather – and that I should look up to strength. Society tells boys like you especially, Kāhu, that being a man means being strong: don’t cry, be brave, fight, never back down.
Life is fragile, and how it plays out for any of us is mostly a game of chance.
Dear Huhana and Kāhu, Today when we visited my Grandad, your Great Grandad, he was having a bad day. He was flicking his red-rimmed eyes from side to side, as he flipped from sad to frustrated and back. The nurses told us to take him somewhere quiet. We tried, but even your usual two and five year old antics couldn’t […]
Dear Huhana and Kāhu o te Rangi, Getting stuff done is the difference between an idea and an outcome. Marketers will tell you that productivity is about the right tools, usually theirs. It’s not. I’m not a marketer, and I don’t sell tools. But I do a bit of ‘other’ mahi outside of helping make […]
Dear Huhana and Kāhu, We got back from our first whānau holiday overseas (Bali) a few weeks ago. Huhana you’re nearly five, hopefully, some of those memories stick. Kāhu, you’re eighteen months old so you’ll just have to trust me that you had fun. Firstly, travel. Once upon a time, I thought I didn’t need […]
Dear Huhana and Kāhu o te Rangi, E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea. I will never be lost, for I am a seed sown in Rangiātea. I read Ruia in this whakataukī as meaning the foundation and contributing factors in a seed’s potential. That’s what this letter is about. […]
Dear Huhana and Kāhu o te Rangi Yesterday, 15/3/2019 nearly a hundred people were shot in two mosques in Christchurch. So far 49 have died. Huhana, you only asked one question, what’s a gunshot wound? They were shot because of their religion and race. There’s been a lot of talk about racism not being something […]