Imogen | Share your why

Photo of Imogen | Share your why

Kia ora koutou!

It is important to me (Ngāpuhi, Te Āti Awa) because I see the way colonisation, assimilation and racism have harmed my people, specifically through my Koro.

He grew up beaten for speaking te reo, he grew up with negative feelings towards his people because of the prevalent propaganda/scapegoating - he rejected his culture. I never learnt te reo growing up because my father never learnt te reo, because my Koro refused to teach it to his children out of fear of the negative impacts that knowledge and association could have on his whanau.

I want to learn te reo Māori to fight back against the efforts to erase it and us.

I took a 101 class at university, and when I went home to Rotorua I did a mihimihi for my Koro. He was amazed I had learnt it at uni. He couldn't believe that it would be upheld and celebrated in that way.

It is important we all continue to learn and strive to do better because it is not enough to not be racist, we must be anti-racist.

It is important because Māori are tangata whenua, we are the people of Aotearoa, to live here is to be visitors, we must respect te reo Māori and te ao Māori (they come hand-in-hand).

I am practicing karakia every day for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. I hope to continue with this and more beyond tēnei week. I hope you are challenging yourselves too.