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What does it mean to be Maori?
In Aotearoa/New Zealand, what does it really mean to be Maori, by people of Maori ancestry? In Hawai'i, we are categorized by blood quantum, which began in 1920, when Prince Kuhio attempted to place Hawaiians back on the land through the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. In the Prince's view, people of Hawaiian ancestry, regardless of blood quantum, whether piha koko (full blood), or hapa (part, portion) which ranged all the way to 1/32nd part Hawaiian ancestry, were to be covered under this Act. However, the racist concept adhered to by the American Government and culture, made the limit of no less than 50% Hawaiian ancestry. This view, and hope, was that since most Hawaiians died off, especially those of most Hawaiian blood, who had no immunity to foreign diseases, and those that remained, intermarried with non-Hawaiians, would dilute the "blood". Then Hawaiians would eventually dilute themselves into non-existence, as the part-Hawaiian population grew, and Hawaiian lands would fall into non-Hawaiian hands. I read the articles "Average Maori at least 43pc Pakeha" and "Full Blooded Challenge to Don Brash-Mangu Awarau (Patrick Flonce Rivers)". Today, we are divided into the following categories-"people who trace their ancestry back to before Captain Cook precontact 1778", where "native Hawaiian" are those of at least 50% blood quantum and "Native Hawaiian", those less than 50% Hawaiian blood quantum. At the same time, non-Hawaiians are calling themselves or representing themselves as "Hawaiian", some going so far as to fraudulently place "Hawaiian" on birth certificates. Those of us of Hawaiian ancestry, koko (blood), mo'o kupuna (geneaogy) have to prove our Hawaiian ancestry through birth certificate evidence that must go back generations to show our Hawaiian ancestry comes from our grandparents, great grandparetns and great great grandparents. Are there people in New Zealand who try to pass themselves off as Maori or go so far as to create a fraudulant birth certificate trail of Maori ancestry? There is so much at stake in Hawai'i that being of Hawaiian ancestry confers, ethnic and cultural rights, traditional customs, and especially the ali'i trusts, many of which were created before the Hawaiian Islands were stolen. Today, even Hawaiian ethnocultural identity itself is under attack, as what remains for those of us whose ties to Hawai'i goes back to the beginning of time when Polynesians discovered and created Hawai'i have to continue to fight for our ancestry, kupuna and heritage. For me, being Hawaiian is having the ancestry, blood, genealogy that is conferred upon us through direct threads from the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands, coupled with the identity, ethnically and culturally, with those kupuna (ancestors, elders). It is not about race, skincolor, blood quantum or what one "looks like", it is about what you are.
Me ke aloha pumehana.
I don't know of anyone who has tried to pass themselves off as Maori when they are clearly not.
For me, my identity begins with my whakapapa, genealogy. To me that is at the core of my identity. However, with that genealogy, is also te reo me ona tikanga (the language and the culture) of which that genealogy is covered in.
For us, blood quantum has never been a traditional part of our thinking. A lot of 'modern' Maori however (i.e. those who dont know their reo or tikanga) they do use blood quantum quite actively. Blood quantum was designed to deny rights to people who have whakapapa into two different ethnicities.
It sickens me what is happening to you, our whanaunga, from Hawai'i especially since people here can whakapapa to Hawai'i.
However, unfortunately for Pakeha ma, it is only a matter of years before we Polynesians regain Aotearoa, it is estimated that by 2025 that half of the population will be Polynesian (the majority of the Polynesians will be Maori, with all other Polynesian groups following). This means that we'll have a really good chance to take our reo revitalisation and tikanga revitalisation up a notch and transform mini-Britain back into Aotearoa. I look forward to the future!
Kia ora Hapahawaii;
I don't believe that there has been a social advantage as concieved by Europeans in New Zealand(yet)to being Maori; my own children consider themselves firstly Maori, though born in Oz.
As to the Blood Quantum Theory of Dr Brash; the distant echoes of Eugenics can be heard on the wind, that theory taken at its extreme would place many in a no mans land of not white enough! Maori themselves have never resorted to categorising themselves in such fractional terms.
I too look to the future, aware that with the future influx of our Polynesian whanaunga driven from there whenua by Climate Change brought on by the Environmental Terrorism of the Pakeha; be aware there will be a campaign of marginalising and demonising in order to keep us apart...we need to be prepared.
How we categorize ourselves and what does it really means to be Maori.
I catergorise myself as Nationally being Kiwi and ethnically being of Maori descent.
Feeling Maori is something I was born with -it differs from my other bloodlines in that there is a closer embrace encompassing nature and the spiritual world.
Edited by - markonijoy on Nov 19 2006 4:22:01 PM
Is there such a thing these days as a pure blood Maori or hawaain?
Firstly let me say that I find the idea of being categorized by "blood quantum" just another way to legally endorse and practice ethnic cleansing.
You've just contradicted yourself - or, we can imply from what you have just said, that you yourself endorse ethnic cleansing via blood quantum (because you asked the question, is there such thing as a pure Maori/Hawaiian).
I can hear the groans already about "but we were here first" and let me just say that that point is higly debatable.
Ne, e ko. We never said we were the first - however, this land has always had a very strong Polynesian history. And the Polynesian history has been a lot longer than European contact and continues on into this day and age.
The last full blooded maori i know would be my grandfather and his brothers and sisters about 13 of them left. Anyway, blood makes of only one point to me and that is that it gives you inherited traits.
I am not Maori first, i am my Tribe! Within my tribe i am my family, within my family i am me!
Maori for me exists on a global, national and international scale. Its a way to stereotype our race whose commonality is derived through our blood.
Maori is not something tangible nor is it a force, i believe it to be a frame of mind. My tribe, your tribe, her tribe and his tribe with maybe not the exact same frame of mind but similar interests, morals and virtues.
Maori frame of mind i believe is firstly concerned with whanau, with people. Katahi ano te puku kia rata!
In reply to tane ariki
I think you have taken my comments out of context,
I like taiga also had Grandparents who were full blood Maoris and recall being told that their generation were considered to be the last of the that status- I am now asking if anyone knows of someone who still holds this status of being of full blood,or if anyone still exists who class themselves as being full Maori
As to ethnic cleansing -No I do not support, condone or see any justification for it or any other violation of human rights
If biological links can be detected through DNA to the extent of working out how many individulas we originated from, then I believe that indicates a strong case against the presumption that a race ceases to exist through the blood quantum theory.
If it is detectable it exists, the fact it can be proven to exist is in itself a powerful tool.
Just to clarify my own veiwpoint let me say that I do not agree with the princilpes or theories relating to "quantum blood" being able to determine a persons racial preferences but as it is the tool used to enforce this ridiculous policy we need to look at how to diminish or redirect its power
I agree 100% with what taiga has defined as in "being Maori"
He explains so well how
the self fits into the tribal picture
Edited by - markonijoy on Nov 19 2006 4:29:35 PM
Aue! E Kare Ma, I have just got to jump into this korero.
Qu: Who were the first people to come to this land "Aotearoa" # New Zealand?
An: Kupe in Matawhaurua 920 AD.
Qu: When did the Great Migration happen?
An: 1350 AD.
Qu: When did Cook get here?
An: 1760 something we're told.
Qu: Who tells us all, that there were people here when we came to these shores and that they were all killed off?
An: Them that came much later that that.
Qu: When was the word "Maaori" first coined and in what "tongue" - language?
An: English and what if it occurred when they couldn't say properly the native word "MAURI".
Qu: When did the word "MAORI" get to mean a distinct group of people in pakeha society and used to distinguish us from all other peoples worldwide?
An: When a few decided that "the natives were not gonna die off and disappear" and "it would not be a good look" if their peers judged them to be racist.
Qu: Still doubtful?
Advice: Check when the word "Native" disappeared off all official titles eg schools, courts, legislation, etc.
Well theres quite a few debateable topics in there Retimana. Contesting the whole Kupe issue, as history told to me our people were travelling back and forth for over a hundred years prior to the so called great migration. And the great migration was actually not so great! Not a whole fleet of waka sailing all at once but rather generations of waka travelling throughout the legacy of time.
As for prior people, these are stories/believed people/beings to have lived here and are preserved in our history not in that of the latter people.
Maori and the origins of that word are clearly undefined and will never reached an agreed outcome and definition.
Globalisation of the word maori began with the introduction of the whiteman.
Kia Ora Taiga,
Wow didn't you let me off lightly!
But in "contesting the whole Kupe issue" - How about this!
No ahau kei roto i te whanau toru tekau ma tahi o Kupe, Matawharua captain and as well, a direct descendant of Matawharua Tohunga/Navigator Retireti.
Also, Kupe left Aotearoa and his Matawharua waka returned here modified and renamed Ngatokimatawharua.
Yes! We are of a proud, brilliant seafaring people, who have transversed this earth like we do the backyards at our whare, long before being found as "natives" by the galleons.
E Hoa, Aroha mai. Titiro and you will see that there is some 400 plus years between Matawharua's arrival and that deemed to be of the time for the "great migration".
Huh! now to the word "Maori" = I tautoko your "Creativity is the key!" especially when you say that it "began with the introduction of the whiteman". Some are very proficient at "Creativity" as they are too, in the business of "Manufacturing".
E noho ra
Actually, the word Maori is a genuine word but its modern usage has somewhat deviated from what it was used for - Maori is an adjective.
If we look at other Polynesian languages, we see the word crops up everywhere, and that the fullest sense of its meaning can be gleaned from looking at other Polynesian languages.
Maori means 'true, clear, light, wise, ancient, original'. That is its meaning. It has cognates in Cook Islands Maori as Maori, Hawai'ian as Maoli, Samoan as Maoni, Tahitian as Ma'ohi etc etc. The last two cognates prove that it is a genuine word because if the Pakeha had made it up you would expect Maoli in Samoan and Maori in Tahitian.
Its original usage was to distinguish mere-mortals and gods. This has continued on to this day because the word Pakeha comes from Pakepakeha which is another name for the Patupaiarehe. This then reflects against us, tangata Maori, the ordiniary ones (or in other words, we're normal, they're not ;)).
And to Markonijoy, purity is blood quantum in romantic terms. Purity in blood has never existed, doesn't exist and never will exist.
Ki Ora! E tika hoki tane-ariki, kui, markonijoy, Retimana and taiga for your thoughts and feelings on what it means to be Maori.
There may be 5000 piha koko Kanaka Maoli (full blood Hawaiian) left in the world, most are on the island of Ni'ihau, the island that the Sinclairs of New Zealand bought and established a Hawaiian only island. It was in part was to help preserve and perpetuate what remained of indigenous Hawaiian culture and language, although Hawai'i, Hawaiians and their culture was already changed significantly at this point in time. Unfortunately, blood quantum is a method in Hawai'i that continues to be of necessary usage in order to ensure that Hawaiians (people of indigenous Polynesian ancestry) will benefit from Hawaiian Homelands and other programs geared towards ali'i trusts. This ensures that elders (kupuna), who are more likely to be 50% or more blood quantum are helped first, sort of like who should be in the front of the line. Such is the way it has to be because of the historical direction Hawai'i has taken. However, blood quantum, amongst most people of Hawaiian ancestry, is not an issue as to who is more Hawaiian therefore others are not. It is non-Hawaiians who utilize blood quantum as an argument against there even being any "real Hawaiians in Hawai'i or the world" now. For those of us of part-Hawaiian mixed race multiethnic ancestry, of which many Hawaiians are, we are penalized for our elders and ancestors crossing racial, ethnic, skincolor, religious, national and cultural barriers by intermarrying with just about everyone and anyone who came to Hawai'i's shores. However, it is Hawaiian ethnic and cultural identity that tied us to our kupuna, the aina (land), values, beliefs and history.
Mahalo nui loa me ke aloha pumehana.
He'ohu ke aloha 'a'ohe kuahiwi kau'ole
(Love is like the mist, there is no mountaintop it does not settle upon)
The word Maori is a much debateable topic. I understand the linguistic philosophy, as yes there is a definition that suggests maori to have those meanings: Native, natural, original. However, there are also traditions that suggest otherwise as well. Like someone has mentioned it as being slang to the word mauri or it being a combination of two words ma meaning clear, transparent, null of colour and ori meaning different.
The problem with linguistics i have is that sometimes i wonder if there may happen a domino effect on words, especially throughout the pacific. Where one culture suggests a definition and this becomes standard throughout thereafter.
This is the same with the word Pakeha. Given many different meanings. Pakepakeha=Patupaiarehe, where i am from the patupaiarehe were infact native here to Ngongotaha before the arrival of Maori. Would that not then suggest that Maori may have thought Pakeha to be native? Of course this is not true as they were referred also as Murikokai, unless we also believed the Patupaiarehe to be seafarring voyagers.
Tane is correct in that assessment of the word. It is not to my knowledge disputed, at least in relation to the drafting of the Treaty of Waitangi. 'Ordinary' or 'Normal' people of the land in relation to the growing immigrant alien population. It is widely accepted that on the arrival of settlers to this shore and through the process of colonisation that tangata whenua were marginalized while thier Pakeha counterparts were elevated to a higher status closer to God.
Ae Tane it is quantum romanticised but to what harm? I am not offended by the question and I can identify with Marks life experiences. Taiga has given a good description on the actuality of tribal relationships. I would point out that tangata whenua were never iwi first. Pan tribalism is a relatively modern concept and historically was only practiced in time of great need or obligation. First to the whenua then to the Hapu, next to the iwi (varyied only by religious allegiance).
Te Reo is part of a larger family of languages, it is no mystery. It is as accurate an anthropological science as any others used to determine the origin of our people and is used to verify many of the theories supposed by more tactile scientific methods (hieroglpyh excepted). It is also quite exciting on realising that Te Reo is far from dead and that in knowing one language we have a massive insight into many others.
Edited by - legaleagle on Oct 24 2006 1:32:59 PM
Edited by - legaleagle on Oct 24 2006 1:34:46 PM