Education, Favourites, Health & Wellbeing, Politics

Navigating Pākehā Identity Part Two: Letter to My Grandchildren | Reta ki āku mokopuna

This is my first of what I hope will be more bilingual posts to come! Shout out to my te reo Māori lecturer for the prompt of writing a letter for my grandchildren – I’m so down with that kaupapa. Whatever your level of reo, I hope you get something out of it, and I spent a bit of time translating it so that it’s accessible to everyone. This is almost word for word the kōrero/speech I did last term, before we all went into lockdown. I decided to elaborate on it and unpack it in a blog as there’s so much more I want to say on this topic and I have so much passion for it. Anyway, I’ll let you read it, then I’ll expand on it a bit more after – kei te pai?

Ki āku mokopuna taonga ā tōnā wā,

Ināianei, he rangatahi ahau. Engari, ā te wā ka pānui koutou i tēnei reta, ka rūruhi ahau. I tēnei wā, he maha o ngā tūmanako, ngā hōkaka, ngā mataku hoki āku, mō ngā tau ā mua.

He tūmanako nui āku: ka harikoa, ka ora, ka marutau koutou. Mehemea kua pai ngā mokopuna, ko tēnei te mea ko te tino whai tikanga.

Ko te mea tuatahi: Hauora

Tiakina tō koutou hinengaro me tō koutou hauora. I whakaakohi­­a au i ēnei mea e ōku mātua. 

E tipu ana, ka tautokona koutou e ō koutou tūpuna. E kore rawa koutou e tūhāhā i tā koutou haerenga. Kei te tūmanako ahau, ka tipu koutou i tētahi ao ki he manawanui ake, he marae ake.

Ko te mea tuarua: Ngā Panoni o te Taiao

Ināianei, kei te āwangawanga ahau mō te wā ā mua, me ngā mokopuna katoa, te ao hoki.

He whakamataku te anea o tō tātou ao, tō tātou motu, i ngā panoni o te taiao.

Me manaaki me tiaki tātou i te ao, ko ia tō tātou whaea, ko Papatūānuku.

Kia kī te taiao i ngā hua whenua me ngā hua rākau mō te kai mā tātou katoa. Kāore anō te rawa taiao o te ao kia pau tonu i ngā tāngata. Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua.­

Ko te mea tuatoru: Whakatoihara

Kei te tūmanako ahau, ka mōhio koutou i te tāhuhu kōrero o Aotearoa.

Ki ōku nei whakaaro, ki tētahi tangata Pākehā, kei te hiahia au i ngā hinengaro me ngā waiaro o tōku iwi ki te panoni, ki te mārama te uaratanga o te reo me te ao Māori.

Kātia te whakatoihara, timatatia te ako me te whakarongo, kanohi ki te kanohi, ki a tātou. Whakanuia ngā reo o ngā tāngata whenua, e kore rawa e kāti i te whai o te matauranga me te akoranga. Kia mārie e ngā mohiotanga o te aroha o ō koutou tūpuna.

Ki te whakamātau tātou, pea ā tōna wā, ka taea e tātou katoa te kati te whakatoihara.

Ko te mea tuawhā: Te Reo Māori

Ko tōku hiahia mā koutou: Ka akona te reo me ngā tikanga Māori e koutou katoa. Kia māori te reo, kia rongo ia rā, ia rā e ngā tāngata o Aotearoa – tauiwi, tāngata whenua rānei. Tātou katoa! Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi.

Kaua te reo e mate. Mehemea he Pākehā, he Māori rānei – he takohanga tātou katoa ki ngā mokopuna, ā, he akoranga ō rātou.

Ā tōna wā, ā te wā ka whakawhānau koutou, kei te pīrangi ahau ka taea e au te kōrero Māori ki a koutou.

Kei te pīrangi ahau mō koutou ki te whakatinana ngā uara e whā i tā koutou mahi katoa: kotahitanga, whakapono, whakawhānaungatanga, aroha hoki.

Kaua e koutou i te mataku. Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui. E ārahitia ana koutou e ō koutou tūpuna, mō ake.

Kua mutu tōku reta, engari, e kore te puna waiora e mimiti noa.

Ngā mihi nui mā koutou katoa,

Nā tō koutou kuia

To my precious future grandchildren,

Right now, I am young. However, by the time you read this letter, I will be an elderly woman. Right now, I have so many hopes, desires, and fears for you in the years ahead.

My biggest hope is that you will be happy, healthy and safe. The most important thing is that my grandchildren are happy and well.

Health & Wellbeing

Guard your mind and your wellbeing. I was taught these things by my parents.

Growing up, you will be supported by your ancestors. You will never be alone on your journey. I hope that you will grow up in a world that is kinder and more tolerant.


Climate Change


Right now, I worry for the future, all the grandchildren to come, and the world itself.

The destruction of our world and of our country due to the changing of our environmental landscape is frightening.
We must protect, conserve, and take care of the world. She is our earth mother, Papatūānuku.
Let the environment be filled with fruits and vegetables for everyone to eat. The land has not yet been exhausted by people. As man disappears from sight, the land remains.*

Racism & Discrimination

I hope that you will know the history of New Zealand.

The way I see it, as a Pākehā person, I want to see the minds and attitudes of my people change, and for us to collectively acknowledge and understand the value of te reo and the Māori worldview.

Stop the racism, start the learning and the listening – face to face, all of us included. Amplify the voices of tāngata whenua; never stop pursuing knowledge and learning. Be at peace in the knowledge of the the love that your ancestors have for you.

If we try, maybe one day we can collectively stop racism, discrimination and prejudice.

Te Reo Māori

It is my desire that you will all learn te reo and tikanga Māori. Let te reo Māori be normalised, let it be heard, used and experienced everyday by the people of Aotearoa – Pākehā and mana whenua alike. By everyone! With red and black the work will be complete.**
Don’t let the language die. No matter whether you are Pākehā or Māori – we all have a responsibility to our grandchildren, and they have many things to learn.
Someday, when you are born, I want to be able to speak te reo Māori to all of you.

I want you to embody these four values in everything you do: kotahitanga, whakapono, whakawhanaungatanga, and aroha***.

Do not be afraid. Be strong, be courageous, and be steadfast. You are being guided by your ancestors always.

That concludes my letter, but the wellspring of life will never be diminished or run dry.

Yours sincerely,

Your grandmother

*This demonstrates the holistic values of Māori, and the utmost respect of Papatūānuku, the mother of the earth.

**This refers to co-operation where if everyone does their part, the work will be complete. The colours refer to to the traditional kowhaiwhai patterns on the inside of the meeting houses.

***Ahhh I couldn’t just pick four words to translate these concepts – they’re too nuanced. See below if interested:

So! That’s a lot. I want to briefly hand over to my fave Maisey, because I think she says it waaaay better than me:

As a Pākehā person, I think that those of us who are Pākehā need to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable, so to speak. Our country’s history is not comfortable, it is messy, it is confronting, and many of us carry varying degrees of white guilt around this. At times, this can become paralysing, but it is so important for us to do the mahi and move past this stage so we can become better treaty partners to Māori, as it always should have been from the signing of Te Tiriti. While we’re already on this multimedia journey together, imma chuck you this fantastic video which I think highlights exactly what I want to say:

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this kaupapa! Feel free to leave a comment down below or via social media – and if you like my stuff, you’re welcome to sign up to join my email list on the left hand sidebar. Hei apōpō!

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