Re-indigenising Aotearoa

7 Feb 2023

To some, Waitangi Day is a day off. To others, it’s a reminder of historical injustice. To us it’s a time to celebrate the Aotearoa we want to be. A place that values indigenous culture and it shapes a unified identity for all of us.

To De-colonise or Re-indigenise?

There is a powerful movement from both Māori and non-Māori to de-colonise Aotearoa – to help remove any systemic racism and support Māori aspirations for self determination. That movement is growing and more are asking “how can we help? Where decolonisation is about dismantling unjust colonial power and racism, re-indigenising starts with Māori aspirations. It asks the question - how do we shape the world through tikanga Māori and te ao Māori values and priorities?

We are inspired by the whakatauāki of Aperahama Taonui, “Kia mau anō ki tōu ake kahu, te kahukiwi o Aotearoa nei". "To put back on and be adorned again with the cloak of Aotearoa".

The metaphor of a cloak made of kiwi feathers, worn by high chiefs as a symbol of rangatiratanga and self determination.

People often ask us, where can we start? It’s so daunting to step into it without an understanding of te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, or without strong connections to Māori communities. So this Waitangi Day 2023, we wanted to give easy ways to start the individual journey, to spark the average Kiwi to better connect with and value te ao Māori.

We’ve curated a list for those who want to celebrate, cherish and protect. If you want to join us in how we re-indigenise Aotearoa, here are some really easy ways to join the movement.

Te reo Māori is the window to the Māori worldview. Te reo Māori helps us access stories and histories, personality and identity of the Māori culture.

We can begin by normalising the use of te reo Māori in our homes, workplaces and communities. Remember you don’t have to be a confident speaker to celebrate te reo Māori

Maimoatia te Ao Māori - Cherish the Māori World View

The Māori world balances three core dimensions: Spirituality, Environment, Community. Those connections are reinforced through tikanga (practices and protocol). Cherishing te ao Māori is about normalising cultural practices within our everyday lives.

  • Learn: Develop your personal pepeha expressing your connections to people and place (link to video from workshop)
  • Watch: Rangi Matamua’s tv series, ‘Beyond Matariki’ on Whakaata Māori. Read: 'Atua' by Gavin Bishop to understand Māori mythology.
  • Listen: Waatea Radio for Māori news and perspectives

Tiakina tāonga Māori - Protect Māori Tāonga

Tāonga Māori are all those things that are precious and of high value to Māori including language, the environment, and customary knowledge and traditions. Māori are kaitiaki for these taonga. But we can all uplift their value in how we celebrate and normalise them.

Re-indigenisation is our next step in adorning ourselves with the true vision of Te Tiriti – a nation that honours and respects the rangatiratanga of its indigenous people, and supports them in creating a place where their worldview and identity is seen as a strength.

But it can start with more Kiwi celebrating, cherishing and protecting our cultural taonga and unique indigenous culture. Dive in, be enriched, feel connected and help the re-indigenising process to be a success.