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Tangata Tiriti Must Kōrero Too Magazine Article

Tangata Tiriti must Kōrero Too

Listen up y’all… I’m skipping cringy hook sentences that every article ever begins with. (Real talk, high school Media Studies taught me that this stuff is very formulaic – but according to me it does not have to also be air-headed.) Now let me centre your beautiful brains – everybody knows Cinderella Story? Directly from Sam’s deceased father comes the wise words: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” #truthandrangimariefromhilaryduffmovies

When I was a Christian (mad respect to any Christian readers but I am a feisty lesbian with no chill and I don’t agree with the doctrine in the slightest, even though Jesus was a beautiful dude), I believe that I subconsciously learned that anger is not a valid emotion, that it should be hidden. That was what was modelled to me. I was indirectly taught, if you’re going to feel a negative emotion, you better get sad. So that’s what I learned and that’s how I coped with my mamae for a long time. Everybody has pain, and different levels of it, coming from different places, but the core of pain is universal and English as a language is simply not nearly deep enough to begin to explain what hurt feels like. However, I now know there is definitely a place for anger. It just needs to be directed and it needs to be channelled in a way that does not hurt anyone. Inflicting pain on somebody else is merely cyclic and completely futile and a waste of my energy and ora. Additionally, it is not my place to tell anybody’s story but my own. I am deeply whakamā and ashamed of myself for anyone and everyone I have ever hurt, either intentionally or unintentionally. I’m also strong enough to put myself out there and I want to help anybody and everybody that I can to heal. All I can do is learn and try and learn and try and I will never stop fighting.

I want to see a united world, and a united Aotearoa. One that is diverse, responsive, adaptive and eco-conscious. In fact, I demand it from our older generations. They have seriously fucked things up for us environmentally – knowingly or unknowningly, and we have a long battle ahead. There is no room for drama. As tangata tiriti myself, it has very slowly been dawning on me – perhaps in the last 2 and a half years or so – of just how terrible and whakamā our colonial history is. People need to stop being so apathetic, because we need to recognise our past if we want any hope of remedying our future.

I don’t always go about helping in the right ways but time is linear, people can never undo what they have done: all we can do is learn from mistakes and use those experiences to evolve ourselves. I don’t have time to hate anyone, it is so useless. Like everyone else, I make mistakes all the time but I also want to be someone who learns from those mistakes at demon speed. I think the trick is to never let yourself make the same mistake twice. God it’s difficult, and it’s exhausting, but nothing worth living for ever comes easy.

I need to be vulnerable when appropriate and evoke vulnerability when appropriate and I have to use my brain to figure out when those are situations that I am in and when to shut the fuck up. As people of te ao we need to see each other and know each other and view each other simply as humans and nothing more.

I have realised that pretty much anyone who conflicts with me ever: we create that, via lack of understanding of each other’s backgrounds and by lack of respect or by not using our taringa. It’s so hard to not retaliate but I always try to choose that route just like mon bon père taught me. I choose to believe that conflict can always be resolved.

There is also no way I am letting anyone emotionally or mentally beat me or my friends up for the things they or I have done or said. I have done enough of that to myself since the age of eleven and it’s not healthy at all – it has no use. We as a collective should choose to rise above hate, always and forever. I think it’s appropriate here to include a bible verse that has stuck with me through all the change and disorder, and ako that has been my teenhood and early adulthood:

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18, NIV

Except I don’t think I’m doing a new thing. It’s radical perhaps, but it’s not like it has never been thought of before. I need people to understand me, l’histoire de moi, and where any action I ever take comes from – which is mon coeur, my warm and fragile heart. Spread aroha.

I encourage everyone and anyone reading this to open their waha and stand up for the things that get them fired up and passionate. My primary school’s kaupapa was “creating thinkers, celebrating diversity” and I think that in embracing this in the UC community and in (in my opinion) fairly conservative Christchurch, could be a really beautiful thing.

So everybody: make art, cry and scream and then get angry and figure out how you will channel that energy and fire, have good and consensual sex (and always use protection, esp. all you cisgender heterosexuals), be kind, and do all the things you need to do to tautoko the community you already have around you. Cherish te tangata always.

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
– Maori proverb

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