Tūmatauenga is our god of War; in short. Really though, he’s so much more than that.
He holds our anger; our wrath; our vengeance. He is our hunter; our gatherer … our provider. He is strength … He gets shit done ;)
The Crown has also borrowed his name for the Army – Ngati Tumatauenga.
Yes I find it offensive. But not for the reasons you might imagine.
The Crown has a long history of killing off our culture; our natural way of being; and then repackaging parts of that culture and selling it back to us.
The Army is no different.
In New Zealand Maori make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population; both youth and adult. Maori men make up a disproportionate amount of that disproportion.
The other place where our Maori men are prevalent?
Yes, thats right – the Army.
Somewhere along the colonisation journey, our men have been stripped of their strength and their dignity. This was repackaged and presented to them as an alternative to prison, via the Army. Where they can be trained in the ways of the Crown and then sent off to die for the Crown if need be. Repackaging that system with the name of our god of War seems to have done what it was intended to do.
These are the things that rattle my cage.
I know i’m still on the down buzz with losing the brother from another mother; but the Army stuff thats popping up left right and centre is ruffling the feathers … that so many of our men, my Grandfather included, thought it was a good idea to join an institution that isn’t theirs; that doesn’t fight for them; that doesn’t support them and pretends to respect them to get them do their dirty work. I get its something to belong to (men seem to need that) … something to keep them focused.
But we were that … and more. And we fought for ourselves … for what was right … for our survival.
Maybe thats what they’re doing in some kind of way?
I dunno –
All in all, we were a ‘warring’ people … but thats not all we were … thats not all we are.