Mary-Anne shared a moment

Mary-Anne Cameron | May 2021

When I was young My grandfather spoke Te Reo, I thought all grandfathers spoke the reo.
When I was young My grandfather spoke Te Reo, I thought all grandfathers spoke the reo. I thought it was natural, I loved it. In the street we were told we were part of the tribe Ngai Tai we were told that we belonged. I thought I should learn the language I had valued I enrolled at school and learnt. My grandfather threw my books down and was exasperated, the transliterate words threw him. He said the language was describing not transliterate. My first lesson was about te reo irirangi describing sound on a radio. I was spoken to in Maori at school by teachers who knew my background but I was also chastised by those who thought I was out of line. My journey abrupted, I am white, My grandfather went to a small settlement when he was two. His parents were teachers at Torere (they are buried there) My grandfather learnt this language from 2 years old, his parents his whanau learnt this language and were integrated via whanaugatanga. My mother was part of the era that was told not to speak. For years I tried to speak to, learn, but I am white my story my grandfathers story is negligible, insignificant. My family has two cultures which cannot be appreciated by the outside. My grandfather had two cultures he lived Maori, he became a translator he was of two cultures and so am I but I am white and no longer belong. Sometimes being of blood is representative however some people like my grandfather are treasures that are forgotten. I would speak this language every day I just need someone who would not ridicule me for being white. Mary-Anne