I was 3 when my Mama took me on the land march. The only vivid memory I have of it was crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and it swaying and the road parting and then coming back together. It’s a memory I had for years and never really understood what it was about until I relayed it to my Mama one day. She grinned and said she was surprised I remembered it…then she told me what it was about.
My Mama is an activist…as labelled by mainstream society. I like the term ‘activist’, as it evokes thoughts of revolutionaries and standing against injustice and fighting for what is ‘right’. Not right, as in the good old Christian morals of old…but what is right. From my point of view ‘right’ is equality…protection of the vulnerable…balance of power and control, knowledge…choice.
My Mama is hugely knowledgeable. She sees clearly what is unfair and unbalanced in this world…and she voices her concerns. She fights for our environment, our children, our health and the indigenous. And it was her fight for the indigenous and first nation people of this country, that led her to join the land march.
I soaked up those roots…that fight. And while I have fought long and hard for myself and my children…I’ve also fought for us…we…the indigenous of this country. My voice has been through art and writing…knowledge and protest.
I’ve taken both of my children on protests that pertained to the corrosion of Maori land and rights. I taught them both to defend who they are as Maori women and armed them with the knowledge that they would need to educate others when they were confronted with ignorance. They’ve both done that. I urge them to teach their children, my mokos, now.
But 40 years on, and I am forever grateful for having experienced the first of our land marches and the ‘awakening’ that followed.
The fight for indigenous rights is by no means over. And as with all first nations people, we all continue to educate ourselves and others. And we continue to fight.
First Published on: Sep 18, 2015 @ 22:28 ❤