I was told there were celebrations on at a Marae (communal and sacred meeting place in Maori culture) in a town near to where I live, so we decided to travel there and see what was happening.
What I discovered
This weekend was the 9th anniversary of the coronation of the Maori King, Tuheitia Paki. The Kingitanga (Maori King Movement) arose when some Maori tribes decided to create a role equivalent to the monarch of the British colonists, in n attempt to stop the colonists claiming their lands.
The Maori monarch is now a role with no legal power recognised by the New Zealand government, though for the tribes that recognise the movement the Maori monarch is the position of paramount chief. Particularly in the area we live in, the Maori monarch has a high level of power among the local tribes.
I am trying to share the importance of Kingitanga to Maori from this area to my non-Maori acquaintances (friends and family). This is a small action, but when I learn new things about Maori culture, I have a desire to share it with people I know that see Maori culture as ‘nothing to do with them’. Because Maori culture is an inextricable part of New Zealand culture, and I am sure that ignorance (by choice or circumstance) of Maori culture by a proportion of the Pakeha community is contributing to the communities being divided and the persistence of stereotyping and casual (as well as not-so-casual) racism.