Australia | Overseas whānau

Ehara tātou i te kirihou, he pounamu tātou

Te Pāti Māori co-leader assures Māori living abroad they are not ‘plastic’.

After a fulfilling time in Australia including the Australia kapa haka regionals, Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi has taken to social media to deliver a powerful message that Māori are not plastic, they are pounamu.

As Waititi arrived in Queensland, a wahine Māori was hesitant to approach the co-leader because she is ‘plastic’.

Waititi says from this encounter he wants to reaffirm to Māori “that we are all deeply connected to our identity”.

“We are not plastic, we are pounamu. We are not something that destroys the planet, we are the planet.”

Waititi says he understands some Māori living in Aotearoa are feeling disconnected to the people from their iwi who are keeping the home fires brewing, but says that is not their fault.

“We must remember any disconnection we feel is a product of the trauma of colonisation.”

Waititi says this recent encounter with the wahine Māori not only saddened him but also his family. Waititi went on social media saying foreign-based Māori were good enough to be Māori because their tūpuna made it so.

“Our tīpuna did not die and spill blood on our whenua for our very existence, for us to tell people we are plastic.”

The wahine Māori told Te Pāti Māori co-leader the reason she feels inadequate is because of how long she’s lived abroad.

Waititi says the young woman is not alone as many Māori do not know where they come from.

“You may not know your maunga, but your maunga knows you. You may not know your awa, but your whakapapa knows you. You may not know your reo but your reo knows you.”

After this experience, Waititi urges all Māori, abroad or not, to hold fast to their Māoridom and deeply rooted connection to their ancestors.

“Kia kaha ki a tātou, ki te tū rangatira, because we are magic people and there is nobody in the world like us,”

Te Rito