Zero Māoriness, Pākehāness in question

Barry Soper has raised issues over what ethnicity and culture one might identify with.

My Māoriness is close to zero, but my Pākehāness is also in question.

I decided some time ago that I didn’t mind being referred to as Pākehā – see The soft and loud of “Pākehā” – but I don’t identify as ethnically or culturally Pākehā.

So what am I? My Europeanness feels pretty much zero – I visited a few countries in mainland Europe, once, but have never been to the UK.

I live in Dunedin but my Dunedinness is by location of home rather than a feeling of belonging. I have lived here for about half my life, but that is on five different occasions (I’ve moved around quite a bit),  but when I was a child Dunedin was a remote, unusual place, rarely visited.

The closest I am to Scottishness, supposed to be a thing in Dunedin, is I have three grandchildren who are half Scottish, sort of – they have visited Scotland once or twice.

I don’t feel particularly Lowburnish, the place where I grew up until I left for the big smoke when I got my first career job (that lasted a year). I returned to live there thrice more at different times, but Lowburn doesn’t seen very Lowburnish now, since heavy machinery demolished and remodelled it, and it was then split in two by a lake. It is nothing like it was.

Perhaps Otagoness is my thing, having lived here nearly all my life, apart from a few years in Auckland in the seventies before I packed my life into a van and drove south again. But it’s difficult to identity what Otagoness means.

My father was born in Dunedin but moved to Central Otago when he was very young, living inland (in four locations) for the rest of his life, apart from a tour of the world with the NZ Army in WW2. My mother was also born in Otago, living in four places also, but also living in three parts of Southland.

I may feel some southernness, whatever that may be.

But further back it gets tricky. One grandfather was born Invercargill and lived also in Bluff, Port Chalmers, went to Europe for WW1 and remained for upskilling afterwards for a while, then  Dunedin and Clyde before going to Christchurch to work for the Army in WW2, where he died. But my other three grandparents were born and grew up on the other side of the world. In New Zealand they all lived in various places, mostly in southern New Zealand.

I’m just 1/8 Kiwi if I go back to my great grandparents, so can I claim any Kiwiness?

New Zealandness or Aotearoaness are stretches given that Christchurch seems like quite a different place to me, let alone the other islands south, east and north.

Maybe Earthness is my thing, I do feel some affinity with the planet I and my ancestors have lived on all our lives.