Politics & Culture
Stuff to do with stuff I care about.
'People often have this very narrow view of what te reo can do. People think that Māori stories amount to myths and legends. But that's such a limited perspective. Our language has incredible range. We can traverse all genres and styles. We can do anything with te reo, and do it well.'
Standing on the periphery, it looks like two different and opposing worlds facing each other across a great divide. Which is, some days, exactly what it feels like to live in New Zealand.
Shame is one of the biggest barriers many of us face in learning Māori. The word whakamā means “to whiten” yet it’s so much weightier than that. Shame and fear of speaking Māori isn’t something that only affects shy people. Even the most confident speakers can lose their voice sometimes. I’ve heard people deliver powerful prepared […]More
Twenty years ago I graduated from Whitireia Polytech with a Certificate in Journalism. I scraped through with a minimum pass and a faint congratulatory smile from the head of the Journalism School, Geoff Baylis. He was a legend in his day, as a former editor of The Dominion who had been briefly famous for taking […]More
EDUCATION HAS LONG BEEN USED AS A WAY OF NORMALISING ONE SET OF IDEAS AND VALUES OVER ANOTHER. IT’S COLONISATION BY STEALTH. A BATTLE FOR OUR HEARTS AND MINDS, USING WORDS AND IDEAS AS WEAPONS. THAT’S WHY, WHEN WE SAY WE WANT HISTORY TO BE COMPULSORY IN SCHOOLS, WE NEED TO REALISE THAT THE CHALLENGE IS AS MUCH TO UNLEARN THE HISTORY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAUGHT, AS IT IS TO TRY AND TEACH A NEW, “OBJECTIVE” HISTORY.
A few years ago, I worked as a quiz writer on a TV show aimed at secondary school kids. Trial runs before the show left us scrambling. The historical questions had been pitched way too high. Some kids weren’t even sure what century the Treaty was signed, let alone the date. As for what each […]More