Māori house and Pākehā house, or individuals needing more houses?

Why do Māori and Pākehā have to be divided into different whare?

These days perhaps only someone from ‘the Māori house’ could get away with raising questions about it without causing too much of aa reaction.

Steve Elers (Stuff) from: Our prime minister should replace her Waitangi Day rhetoric with something more useful

Parts of last year’s speech at Waitangi by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sounded like we were in 1840, not 2019, especially when she said: “We will keep building the foundations to bring our two houses together and that ultimately will be the foundation for which Te Arawhiti will be formed. The bridge between our two houses.”

I suppose, based on my whakapapa, physical appearance and self-identity, that puts me in the Māori house. But what about Māori who have more Pākehā ancestry than Māori whakapapa?

For example, my wife is a Pākehā and we have two young daughters, Anahera and Māia.

Given my own whakapapa includes Europeans, who were born in Germany and England and migrated here, then technically I suppose our daughters have more European ancestry than Māori whakapapa when it is all added up.

So, does that mean Anahera and Māia are in the Pākehā house? If having a Māori ancestor means one is first and foremost Māori, why is that so and according to who? Perhaps one gets to choose, or is it based on how one feels on the day?

If I am in the Māori house and Anahera and Māia are in the Pākehā house, does that mean I will see them when, according to our PM, the “bridge between our two houses” is formed?

The divide between Māori and Pākehā is complicated, on a family level and on a national level. While there are Māori orientated issues and non-Pākehā  orientated issues, there’ a lot of overlap – and mixed houses.

Speaking of houses, an in-house publication by the Department of Māori Affairs, now Te Puni Kōkiri – Ministry of Māori Development, states “all Māori have some degree of non-Māori ancestry”.

I don’t know if that publication was correct, but regardless, as Ranginui Walker eloquently stated in his Listener column back in 2004: “The lizards of our colonial past are being laid to rest in the bedrooms of the nation.” That certainly seems so, more and more, as most young Māori I meet are of the lighter shades of brown and many are white.

Someone with a dark complexion like myself was my fourth-great-grandfather Wiremu Tamihana (1805-1866), chief of Ngāti Hauā of the Tainui confederation. Yes, I know everyone has 64 fourth-great-grandparents, but let’s not ruin a good story and let’s not downplay my chiefly heritage.

My daughters, Anahera and Māia, are direct descendants of both Wiremu Tamihana, through my mother’s whakapapa, and Pulman, through my wife’s father’s ancestry. As far as I know, my daughters are the only descendants of both.

When they’re older, Anahera and Māia can look at that image knowing they are descendants of the Māori chief in it and the English-born photographer who took it. However, I hope they will recognise the multifaceted aspects of their whakapapa and understand they are first and foremost themselves – individuals who have the freedom to determine their own paths in life without being constrained by historical events that occurred before they were born.

That’s right, none of us was there when the treaty was signed, nor were we there when some of our ancestors stole land from some of our other ancestors, and I’m talking about my Māori ancestors – don’t get me started on the Pākehā ones. Complicated isn’t it? And, no, I’m not proposing “we are one people”, aka Hobson’s Pledge.

How about “we are individuals”?

That sounds like a good way of looking at it. Most of us with complex ancestry and complex houses.

So, this Waitangi Day, instead of our prime minister giving a speech about “building the foundations to bring our two houses together” like she did last year, perhaps she can tell us how she is going to build actual houses, like the 100,000 she promised in the last election campaign. That’s more useful to Māori and Pākehā than meaningless rhetoric about bringing “our two houses together”.

Harsh, but a fair call.

Leave a comment

22 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  2nd February 2020

    Maia doesn’t need an accent. It’s a Greek name, not a Maori one.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd February 2020

      Don’t be stupid, PDTs, Maia was a Greek goddess.

      Google it if you don’t believe me.

      Reply
  2. duperez

     /  2nd February 2020

    It reads as if Elers is writing to fill a column. ‘Give me 600 words.’

    The point is he doesn’t want the Prime Minister talking ‘big picture’ stuff. Or doesn’t want the Prime Minister only talking ‘big picture’ stuff. Or wants the Prime Minister giving details.

    But thank you Wiremu, Anahera and Māia for coming along for the ride.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd February 2020

      Foundations don’t bring houses together; that’s a silly metaphor.

      Reply
  3. Gerrit

     /  2nd February 2020

    The story conveniently misses out all the other houses. The Pacific house, The Indian House, The Vietnamese house, The Chinese House, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention the various differing European (Pakeha) tribal houses (Dalmation, Italian, Dutch, English, Scottish, etc.) In fact to label all Tauiwi as Pakeha is to denigrate and not acknowledge the numerous tribal connection revered and enjoyed.

    There is no such entity as a single Pakeha house. Correct label should be Tauiwi house.

    Add another dimension. Many of those in the Tauiwi house considered themselves as Tangata Whenua (born of this land) with as many as 10 generations back to their first settlement.

    https://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?keywords=tangata+whenua

    They too have Mana Whenua status over the land they own.

    https://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?idiom=&phrase=&proverb=&loan=&histLoanWords=&keywords=manawhenua

    Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd February 2020

    Labour specialises in b.s. houses.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  2nd February 2020

      In comparison to the ones National specialises in now? In comparison to the ones National specialised in, from say, 2011 to 2015?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd February 2020

        You mean the good old days when homelessness, rents and house prices were so much less than they are now?

        Which somehow our Lefty MSM fails to highlight while making daily attacks back then?

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  2nd February 2020

          The good old days when homelessness, rents and house prices were so much less than they are now? Yes, when playing with stats and numbers, what they were and meant and how they were arrived at, the veracity and accuracy of them was the same sort of art as now. Which would lead to authoritatively saying that Labour specialises in b.s. houses whereas various National governments didn’t. Not only that but there’s a housing crisis now under Labour that didn’t exist before.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  2nd February 2020

            Yes, duperez. A complete shock to the Left that heaping costs and obligations in landlords would result in higher rents and fewer rentals. Whoever would have thought?

            As for house prices, I keep meeting people who want never to have anything to do with Council building lunacy ever again. Including me and every builder I ever met.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  3rd February 2020

              ‘that heaping costs and obligations in landlords would result I…’

              the b/s just keeps flowing…they would get out of the rort if it was so bad.

      • Corky

         /  2nd February 2020

        You mean the whare National built withe Maori Party?

        Reply
  5. Corky

     /  2nd February 2020

    ”However, I hope they will recognise the multifaceted aspects of their whakapapa and understand they are first and foremost themselves – individuals who have the freedom to determine their own paths in life without being constrained by historical events that occurred before they were born.”

    Almost an impossible task for Maori to put their individuality first..and culture second. Even for European thinking of themselves as individuals first would be a hard ask.

    To become a Libertarian you must surmount this almost insurmountable hurdle before understanding the true power of individuality.

    Reply
    • “Almost an impossible task for Maori to put their individuality first..and culture second. Even for European thinking of themselves as individuals first would be a hard ask.”

      I’m neither Maori nor European so I can’t speak for them, but as an individual (who has always felt like a New Zealander) I have no problem seeing myself as an individual amongst many ethnicities and origins.

      I don’t feel like a libertarian either. I’m too much of an individual to adopt arbitrary labels.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  2nd February 2020

        Excellent to hear that, Pete. However, the term New Zealander opens another can of worms.
        Bureaucrats hate that identity. I have yet to see it on an official government form. The nearest to New Zealander is: Maori, New Zealand European or Cook Island Maori.
        I would be interested to know if anyone has come across ‘New Zealander’ on an official form?

        Reply
        • If I can tick ‘Other’ and write New Zealander. I might start writing Aotearoan instead.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  2nd February 2020

            I have done that twice. One was accepted with a quizzical look. The other was rejected after I was was told New Zealander is not a racial group; it’s the name of people who live in New Zealand.

            Reply
            • But it’s not a racial question. European or Caucasian or Asian are not races.

            • Corky

               /  2nd February 2020

              Who knows the mind of bureaucracy? Maori funding is at the root of SOME of these questions.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd February 2020

              It’s impossible to make some people see that Asian is not a nationality.

              A Caucasian is someone from a specific region, I think in the USSR.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  2nd February 2020

            Yes, it’s the Caucasus Mountains. I wasn’t 100% sure of the spelling.

            One might as well use Swedish as the generic term for white people.

            Reply
  6. Lesley Parker

     /  28th March 2020

    And so it continues on and on and on…….who cares the colour, it’s nonsense so stop using it!

    Reply

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