Tangata Whenua Insight

From Danette Abraham-Tiatia (Ko Ngai Tuhoe, Ko Nga Rauru nā iwi No Kōtirana me Airani oku Tipuna)

Connection to who you are and where you came from is important for young people of all cultures and whakapapa. When a young person does not want to connect with their whakapapa it is important to understand what sits behind that.

If this young person is taiohi Māori it is even more important to know where these connections might lie. As Tangata Whenua we are connected to our whenua through whanau, hapū, iwi and marae. This gives connection to something bigger than ourselves. When you know where you are from and who you are connected to, it can create sense of belonging and, when healthy, contributes to resiliency in young people.

It is important to acknowledge and understand the systematic break down of traditional Māori society since the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the effects it has on present day. Systems, media, institutional racism can have a negative impact on how a taiohi Māori might see themselves. As a youth worker, the acknowledgement of external factors that have contributed to the disconnection of a young person is integral to fostering reconnection.

Challenging perceptions, attitudes and systems when they negatively affect Māori is a commitment to the outworking of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.