To commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August), Sr Makareta Tawaroa reports from Whanganui Aotearoa New Zealand.
I am just another member of our whanau.
This is where I am most at home.
We are part of the land, (tangata whenua)
We are part of the River, (tangata awa).
Being Maori Is knowing who you are and where you belong.
This is who I am.
Matariki – official public holiday
Matariki, our newest official public holiday, was celebrated for the first time on Friday, 24 June 2022.
Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster Pleiades and welcomes in the Māori New Year. This public holiday is based on the Māori Lunar calendar called the Maramataka which begins with the first new moon after Matariki appears in the sky in midwinter.
Māori Health has recently undergone the biggest changes in a generation. The newly established Māori Health Authority will address deep inequities and provide a level playing field, designing a system that will work for Māori.
To support the different foundations of knowledge in this country, two Māori independent research institutions in the Whanganui/Rangitikei districts have been awarded funding to look at Māori health initiatives; one to look at Rongoa Māori which are traditional Māori medicinal practices that requires living in harmony with nature, and the other will support research to end intergenerational trauma.
Increasingly, practitioners of western medicine are becoming more open to different ways of understanding health and healing.
The late Sir Archie Taiaroa, leading negotiator, speaks on Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement Act) 2017
“The Whanganui River is a living being that nourishes and sustains the land and the people both physically and spiritually from the mountains to the sea. Our people say when the river is well, we are well.
“For decades, past governments have rejected this notion and have treated the river as a commodity, overriding our concern, taking from the river, causing harm to our waterways and ecosystems. In Te Awa Tupua, everyone has a place. And we must work together to keep the river clean and healthy.”
Matauranga Māori (Māori Cultural Knowledge) is not science, according to seven professors from Auckland University
Academics from Auckland University have raised concerns about changes to the school curriculum which have been proposed by the working group for NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). The working group wants to ensure parity for Matauranga Māori (Māori Cultural Knowledge) with other bodies of knowledge.
The academics are objecting to a part of the new course which “promotes discussion and analysis of the ways in which science has been used to support the dominance of Eurocentric views (among which, its use as a rationale for colonisation of Māori and the suppression of Māori knowledge); and the notion that science is a Western European invention and itself evidence of European dominance over Māori and other indigenous peoples”.
According to these professors, Indigenous knowledge cannot be defined as science, that although indigenous knowledge contributes to understanding the world, it falls far short of what can be defined as science and should not be accepted as an equivalent to science.
On the other hand, other academics say that Matauranga Māori and western empirical science do not need to compete with each other but can be complementary and have much to learn from each other.
Sr Makareta Tawaroa
Whanganui, Aotearoa New Zealand