22 Oct 2019

He Kākano Ahau: Episode 2 - Finding Space In Ōtautahi

From He Kākano Ahau, 12:00 am on 22 October 2019

| By Kahu Kutia | Twitter: @kahukutia | Instagram: @hekākanoahau | email: hekakanopodcast@gmail.com

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Kahu Kutia

Kahu Kutia Photo: UGP / Nicole Hunt

What defines the current generation of rangatahi Māori? Some might call us millennials, the first generation to be born fluent in digital technology.

Some might call us the kōhanga and kura kaupapa generation.  Many of our parents and kaumātua were punished in school for speaking Te Reo.  But some of us were the first to taste our language again and to bring it back to life.

We were raised on stories of resistance.  Bastion Point.  Springbok Tour.  Te Matakite Māori Land March.  Foreshore Seabed.  Tūhoe Raids.  Dawn Raids.  Raglan.  Pākaitore.  We look to Māui-tikitiki-ā-Taranga for guidance.  The trickster, the pōtiki.  With the legacy of our tīpuna in front of us, we walk backwards into the digital era.

Many of us now live in the city, and are redefining what it means to be urban and Māori.  Maybe we're learning Te Reo through an app.  Maybe we're driving home once a month to spend time at our marae.  Maybe we're reviving the hidden history of the whenua beneath the concrete.  Maybe we're just looking for a place to be Māori.

Pari Simpson delivers her powerful speech at the Waitaha regionals of Ngā Manu Kōrero at Lincoln University.

Pari Simpson delivers her powerful speech at the Waitaha regionals of Ngā Manu Kōrero at Lincoln University. Photo: UGP / Frances Morton

For this episode of He Kākano Ahau I went down to Ōtautahi, Christchurch.  In the first episode, we learned about the first generation to transition from rural to urban Māori.  In this episode, we're looking at what it's like to move to the city today.

From many perspectives, Christchurch seems a hard place to be Māori. 

TVNZ’s That's A Bit Racist documentary commissioned Harvard University to research racism in New Zealand.  The results weren’t great for the whole country, but the south came out particularly badly with 89 per cent of South Islanders saying they favoured Pākehā over Māori, compared to 63 percent in the North Island.

The South Island is where Kiwa Kahukura-Denton has lived for most of his life.  Kiwa moved to Ōtautahi this year.  Like many of us, Kiwa has moved to the city to study.  He's at Te Ora Hou studying to be a youth worker.  Kiwa and I talk about loneliness, staying connected, and what he hopes to create for rangatahi Māori.

Youth worker Kiwa Kahukura-Denton at his workplace, Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi.

Youth worker Kiwa Kahukura-Denton at his workplace, Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi. Photo: UGP / Naomi Haussman

“A system where Māori is normal, Māori is standard you know it isn’t that one house for kapa haka it isn't te reo class it isn't the whānau class it isn't when someone flash come to the school and you have a pōwhiri for them it’s just normal and it’s okay that its normal and they don't have to feel whakama about being Māori or seeing things a Māori way or saying karakia when they need to say karakia.”

We both agreed that the environment of the city can be isolating, and decided to go on a tipi haere to talk to other rangatahi Māori living in Ōtautahi.

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He Kākano Ahau is a podcast written, researched, and hosted by Ngāi Tūhoe writer, activist, and young person Kahu Kutia.  Kahu now lives in Wellington after spending the first 18 years of her life in the valleys of Te Urewera.

Over six episodes, Kahu explores stories of Māori in the city, weaving together strands of connection.  At the base is a hunch that not all of us who live in the city are disconnected from te ao Māori. 

He Kākano Ahau is hosted by Ngāi Tūhoe writer, activist, Kahu Kutia.

He Kākano Ahau is hosted by Ngāi Tūhoe writer, activist, Kahu Kutia. Photo: Nicole Hunt