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  • India Jade Hinewai Grigson

Finding Tūrangawaewae

Words by India Jade Hinewai Grigson (She/her - Ngāitai)

What does it mean to be part Māori, having grown up in a Pākehā environment? This question has troubled me in recent years as I have begun to navigate my identity, attempting to visualise where exactly I stand in the world.


Ko Tainui te waka


Ko Wainui te awa


Ko Kapuārangi te maunga Ko Ngāitai te iwi


Ko Tōrere te marae


Ko India toku ingoa


Through my mother, I am of Māori and Scottish descent, while I am of Pākehā descent through my father. Despite growing up in Aotearoa, surrounded by my mother’s whānau, I lacked any solid connection to Māori culture in my youth. My childhood shaped my understanding, or rather, lack thereof, regarding Tikanga. I went to a very Pākehā school that did not offer any Te Reo classes or Kapa Haka. In general, there was very minimal education surrounding Te Ao Māori.


For most of my life, I have carried an inherited feeling of immense disconnect. It stems from my mother’s own experience as the descendant of the generations that were directly affected by the laws banning Te Reo Māori. My grandfather never passed down the reo and tikanga to his tamariki; instead, they had to seek out their culture on their terms, and each of them did this in different stages of their lives. Now I, too, seek out that knowledge. As I got older, I became increasingly aware of how little I knew, which evoked a flood of insecurities, shame and fear. Despite my attempts to learn Te Reo and increase my knowledge, I have still felt unsure of whether I could claim to be part of a culture that I knew so little about. I unknowingly subjected myself to stereotypes regarding what it means to be Māori, and my fears fed the belief that I could never truly belong. I thought I was alone in this internal conflict of identity. Still, as it turns out, many multicultural people face the same dilemma, often rooted in the after quakes of colonisation. It cannot be easy to know where you belong when society wants to define and label or place you in a box. But navigating your identity is an enduring process that I like to relate to finding one’s Tūrangawaewae: A concept that


Defines one's sense of empowerment and foundation, providing them with a place to stand. It is an internal reflection of our security and comfort within who we are and where we come from. Tūrangawaewae can be a place, person, feeling, home or anything that connects you to your whakapapa.


While I am still searching for my own Tūrangawaewae, I have learnt that part of embracing your culture and identity depends upon your strength to disregard that which seeks to limit or define you. It is never too late to reconnect, start your Tikanga journey and begin learning the language of your ancestors.


So, if you are also feeling lost in an ocean of unknown and uncertainty, I encourage you to continue staying afloat in the hope that one day, just like our ancestors, we will find a more certain shore because there is a place for you to stand in this world.


Te Rapu Tūrangawaewae


He kupu nā India Jade Hinewai Grigson (She/her - Ngāitai)


He aha tēnei mea te tangata Māori, i tipu ake ai i te ao Pākehā? Kua raru au i tēnei pātai i ngā tau tata nei, i ahau e aru ana i tōku tuakiri, e ngana ana ki te pohewa i tōku tūranga i te ao.


Ko Tainui te waka


Ko Wainui te awa


Ko Kapuārangi te maunga Ko Ngāitai te iwi


Ko Tōrere te marae


Ko India toku ingoa


Nā tōku māmā, he whakapapa Māori, he whakapapa Kōtirana ōku, ā, he whakapapa Pākehā nā tōku pāpā. Ahakoa i tipu ake ahau i Aotearoa, taiāmiotia e te whānau o tōku māmā, kāore ōku tino hononga ki tōku ahurea Māori i ahau e tamariki ana. I āhuatia tōku māramatanga, tōku kore māramatanga rānei o te tikanga, e tōku tamarikitanga. I kuraina ahau ki tētahi kura tino Pākehā, kāore he akomanga reo Māori, kāore hoki he kapa haka. He tino iti te mātauranga e pā ana ki Te Ao Māori.


Mō te nuinga o tōku oranga, kua kawea e au te taumaha o te hononga kore. I takea mai i ngā wheako ake o tōku māmā, he uri o ngā whakatupuranga i pāngia e ngā ture aukati i Te Reo Māori. Kāore tōku koroua i hōatu i te reo me ngā tikanga ki āna tamariki; nā rātou kē tō rātou ahurea i kimi i tā rātou i pai ai, ā, katoa rātou i pēnei i tōna ake wā. Ināianei, ko au hoki tēnā e kimi ana i taua mātauranga.  I ahau e pakeke mai ana, i pūrangiaho mai te iti o tōku mōhio, kātahi ka  pokea e te āmaimai, te whakamā, ka wehi. Ahakoa taku ngana ki te ako i Te Reo, kia whakawhānui hoki i ōku mātauranga, kua pōhauhau tonu mēnā au ka āhei te whakatau he hononga tōku ki tētahi ahurea kāore i āta mōhiotia e au. I whakaraerae ahau ki ngā arotoka Māori, ā, nā ōku mataku i whakapono ai ahau e kore au e whai tūrangawaewae. I pōhēhē au ko au anake e whawhai ana i tēnei pakanga o te tuakiritanga. Heoi anō, he raru nui tēnei i takea mai i te tāmitanga i te nuinga o te wā, ki te tokomaha o ngā kākano maha. Ehara i te mea he māmā te mōhio ki tō ake tūrangawaewae i tēnei ao ki te hiahia te porihanga ki te tautuhi, ki te tapa, ki te whakanoho i a koe ki tētahi pouaka rānei. Engari, he haerenga roa te aru tuakiritanga, ā, he pai ki ahau ki tūhono tēnei āhuatanga ki tā te tangata rapu Tūrangwaewae. He huatau tēnei 


E tautuhi ana i tō te tangata whakamanatanga, i tō te tangata tūāpapa, kia whakarato ai he tūrangawaewae mōna. He whakaahuatanga o tō tātou whakapono me tō tātou āhurutanga nō roto i a tātou anō, ā, ko wai tātou, nō hea tātou. He wāhi te tūrangawaewae, he tangata te tūrangawaewae, he aurongo te tūrangawaewae, he kāinga te tūrangawewae, he aha atu rānei e hono ai koe ki tō whakapapa. 


Ahakoa e kimi tonu ana ahau i tōku ake Turangwaewae, kua akona e au, ko tētahi wahanga o te kauawhitanga ki tō ahurea me tō tuakiritanga, kei te āhua tonu o tō kaha ki te whakahē i ngā mea e pīrangi ana ki te here, ki te tautuhi rānei i a koe. E kore e tōmuri rawa ki te whai hononga, timatahia tō haerenga Tikanga, ā, tīmatahia te ako i te reo o ō tīpuna.


Nō reira, mehemea e ngaro tonu ana koe i te moana o pōhauhau, o āmaimai, tēnei au e āki ana i a koe kia mānu tonu, mau ai ki te manako, ā tōna wā, pēnā i ō tātou tīpuna, ka tau marika tātou ki uta nā te mea he tūranga mōhou i tēnei ao.


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