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September 11, 2018 | by  | in Arts Creative Writing | [ssba]


An abundance of nature and culture are the first things to spring to mind

The land of the long white cloud has left colonisation far behind

If we say ‘bicultural’ loud enough maybe it will ring true, this time

And we will all forget that to this day the Crown fails to uphold the treaty we signed

Lost in translation we were told, kāwanatanga and sovereignty were supposed to be the same

I’m just saying that you took everything and wrote the document, but the language barrier is to blame?

If we really are a progressive nation, trying to write the wrongs of the past

Why is it you can’t find New Zealand history being taught properly in a single high school class?

If you want your Māori name pronounced correctly you are flat out of luck

And people wonder why Taika called this country “racist as fuck”

Do you remember Taika Waititi, our internationally famed director, representing us without fail

Until he called us out for our issues, now he is just a brown Māori male

“But Māori get scholarships, and that’s racist to whites”

I have heard being said throughout my entire life

Māori are more likely to drop out of school, and be from a low socioeconomic background

We are over represented in every negative statistic in this country, studies found

More likely to have poor physical and mental health than any race from any nation

The only thing higher than that is our rate of incarceration

There are many factors that contribute but systemic racism is key

That is why before you play victim understand what they represent is equity

If you are claiming inequality educate yourself on what privilege may be

Understand that your scholarship was not being born into a minority

This country claims to appreciate our culture so much they want the world to know

I’m so glad the “Nau mai, Haere mai” billboards at the airports aren’t just for show

Everyone can chant the haka with the all blacks when they are on an international stage

Our language must be thriving you’d think after seeing it welcomed in this way.

Let’s make Te Reo compulsory for schools to offer, and an ‘option’ for you to take

Cue the mass hysteria “you will not force my children to learn this useless subject” they say

The irony being it was the government that beat it out of our ancestors in the first place

But as soon as a policy reform comes around it’s not government’s job to save.

No one is forcing anything; Te Reo Māori will simply die out if no longer heard

I’m sorry it has been ingrained that my ancestor’s language won’t get you anywhere in this world

But it shouldn’t be up to you to take away the opportunity of future generations to learn

Give back the voices of my tīpuna, let them be heard.

It was never once we were warriors, our people are warriors every day

Fighting for the language and culture this country tried to take away

And for some it is easy to sit there and say all this is a thing of the past

That Māori would have still fought Māori without the pakeha

And we would have, but there was no need to eradicate a culture’s identity

Now on our own land we have been reduced to a small brown minority

You can sit there and say despite all this it is not my problem and that’s your conclusion

But if it’s not your problem don’t sit there and criticize those fighting for a solution

Be aware that history is the reason why our ancestors have birthed us into this fight

Where we every day we are pushing to break the negative stereotypes

To bring back what was lost to the land our ancestors once roamed

Instil mana back into the whenua where the Māori call home


Nā Te Mahara Swanson Hall

Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Awa, Ngapuhi


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