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Princess…1973

So I have more information now, pieces to add to my story and fill in the gaps. I think sometimes it’s easy to tell yourself a narrative that isn’t exactly exact. You tend to fill in the missing pieces with other bits of missing pieces. Finding out the context of an environment or situation seems to just make it all slot together to make a whole, a whole lot better.

Turns out we are not a family huge on talking even though we talk plenty! Seems like I missed a few important details…good details…and not so nice details, which make the picture a bit more robust.

I was born at 8pm. Apparently my Nan was a 10 month carrier so my ‘lateness’ to arrive on the scene was actually right on time, well right on time for our gene pool lol! My Mama says she began labour “exactly 24 hrs earlier. Long hard labour”. She says she “didn’t know what was normal for a labour so just went with it as you do :)”. As it turned out I was coming chin/face first & had to be turned with forceps. It was very painful for her. But she says it was “so worth it.” For Me it makes sense that I don’t sleep at night well…I’m a night baby! :), so I think I’ll stop fighting it and just roll with it…if I’m awake I’m awake, if I’m tired I’ll go to sleep. Sorted! Well that was a whole lot easier than stressing over not sleeping! And it go figures that I’m stilling arriving at a destination or situation, chin and face first lol! Apparently I’m designed to do just that! Make a pain staking but memorable entrance lol, sorry Mama 😉

But most importantly, I found out, I was in fact, wanted…very very much wanted.

Mama says’ “Oh you were so looked forward to. I’m so sorry you were wounded from this. I actually went to bed two weeks early in my pregnancy because I was going to lose you, and I didn’t want to lose you. I was at home then with Nana & Grandad. When I first found I was pregnant, I’m not sure if your father knew or not then, but I went…to look for work. I was staying in a dive in town while I looked. I remember buying wool and starting to knit for you. Later when I went back” home “(I worked…for a month or so in a Rest Home for the elderly) I recall folding and refolding your clothes every day. Decorating your bassinette with lace & frills. Knitting and sewing more clothes. Buying a pram. I was seeing your father & we were looking for a house to live in when I was around 6 months pregnant. I wanted to end our relationship as I sensed it wasn’t going to work & wasn’t really happy with him. But…I wasn’t happy anyway in myself & never had been….I spent a lot of my youth not wanting to live. It was too painful. But yes, you were very much wanted. Abortion was NEVER a consideration. (And not to condemn any who choose that route but I just never considered it). When you were born it was the most wonderful experience … I would gaze at you every day in your crib in wonderment at your perfection. I loved you dearly. You were perfect. I talked to you constantly … breast fed you for 8 months … tried my very best to be a good mum. I think somewhere along the line as life seemed to get harder (as it does in a relationship of any sort let alone an abusive one) I had less & less to give out to you. I was trying to make sense of life and what to do. This was my only reason for wanting to end my life. It was never you. I suppose I’d reached a place where I wanted to back up and opt out… however I’d made decisions I couldn’t back up on and one was, I now had another life in my womb to consider. Bear in mind too, back then it was unheard of to go to a counselor. There weren’t any. It wasn’t on anybody’s radar. You just figured stuff out for yourself. A family Doctor was the nearest thing you’d get to that … a 5 minute chat. This would’ve been the period when I was late in pregnancy, and living with your father…It was very hard. An abusive partner, me lost, the big responsibility of parenthood looming and not knowing what to do.

When your father’s father died I was just then contemplating separating but I didn’t have the heart to leave him right then so went to the taangi. It was there I” became a Christian, I “urged…to get married. And we did. But things just got worse.” 

It was accurate that my father was cruel to my mother, violent to be truthful. Apparently an abusive man at the time; jealous and possessive; a drunk and violent person, who threw around ridiculous accusations of unfaithfulness and spent more time at the pub than with his family. My mother was afraid of him, and rightly so by the sounds of her recollections of him. She recalled ‘being hit occasionally and having a black eye once’…one too many I think! My Grandfather was protective of my mother and me. Apparently my Grandfather was kind toward my father when we were not living with them, but this changed when he knew what my father was doing. Thank you Grandad! My mother went back to my father when I was 18 months old, but my father had impregnated someone else and he chose that family. I didn’t hear from or see him until I was 7.

I also found out I was called a ‘Princess’ by my paternal family.

That we did indeed come from a long line of revolutionists, with my “Great great great Grandad, on my granddad’s side, fighting for our lands with one of the greatest warriors of his era, Titokowaru”.

I also remember having what I thought was a dream in later years. It was of sitting on a seat of some kind and moving across a road. It was big with metal sides. The whole road was moving and there were cracks in the road. Years later I was telling my mother this and she told me that she had taken me on the first Hikoi, with Whena Cooper. That moving road was the Auckland Harbour Bridge and I was in a push chair. It swayed as we crossed over it. Apparently it had been shut down to traffic while we all crossed. Years later I took my own daughters to the second Hikoi, to parliament, in protest of the foreshore and seabed legislation. A few years afer that, I went with my youngest daughter to the last of these Hikoi’s which was wahangu…silent. It was a powerful time. What an amazing legacy in all that other shit 😉

I know we lived in my home town on and off, in and out, over these young years. We lived on the East coast for awhile too, before my mother left my father. And I think we ‘travelled’ around abit, sometimes I stayed with my Grandparents.

There was another man around at this time, my brothers ‘would be’ father at that stage. I don’t think I liked him much.  I didn’t like how he made my mother feel.

At 3 years old, there are vivid memories of being frightened and having nightmares/terrors. I remember hiding in big boxes downstairs…playing. But I was frightened. I remember this because I remember the house we lived in at the time.

I also learnt hat my maternal Grandfathers Grandfather was Scottish and his father was French-Canadian.

My maternal Grandmothers parents came from a small west coast town and then moved to my Grandfathers place of birth in their later years. Both of them were English. My Great grandfather was from London, and my Great-grandmother was from south London. My Nan was treated unfairly her entire life; apparently she was supposed to be a boy…thank the heavens she wasn’t ay Nan 😉

My Uncle was super talented; a beautiful man as I remember, he was also tortured soul…he ended his life when I was 7. He was my first dead body. I thought he was going to wake up, but he didn’t, and he never came home. I loved him; I still do. I am glad that I knew him.

So I end this segment knowing that while our family was dysfunctional as such, it was also enormously resourceful, talented and abounding in love and sacrifice. It knew culture and diversity; it embraced grief and loss; it dealt with war and violence….and it survived, and became stronger. It left strong, solid and hopeful roots. I was loved and I was wanted. I am now forever grateful and forever in awe of the history that is mine.

Lots of light and love and fluffy stuff, to me, as I unravel even more 😉

https://meptsdandallthefuckedupshitinbetween.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/the-first-time-ever-i-saw-your-face/

(First published 5th May 2015 @ 2319 … Hollah 😉 )

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activism ~ tohunga suppression act 1907

When the great white hope docked their vessels in Aotearoa, and proceeded to ‘discover’ the already occupied land; they brought with them alcohol, tobacco, lawlessness, drunkenness … and disease.

Our indigenous population prior to 1840 was approximately between 90,000 and 100,000, and pakeha population was approximately 2000.

Not quite 50 years later, indigenous population had declined by nearly 60%! And pakeha had the cheek to quote our ‘savage’ beliefs as the cause of our decline and suggest we embrace christianity. Our population decline however, had nothing to do our belief system, and everything to do with our immunities not being equipped to deal with the infestation of foreign diseases. Other Indigenous cultures throughout the world, experienced similar ‘die offs’, which at the time, were also attributed to their ‘pagan’ practices.

So as we died off by the thousands and christianity was implemented as the saviour, the Crown systematically set about destroying what was left of the Indigenous identity.  The Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, is but one of the Acts, the Crown has used to oppress, assimilate and dictate how Tangata Whenua should behave, act and respond. This little shit stain Act of Parliamentattempted to kill the practice of ‘healing thy self’, which I might add, we were very good at prior to colonisation.

So by the time this Act was Repealed in 1962, it had semi done what it was designed to do.

Ref: Charissa Waerea 2011 Home Birth Conference

Recently this ugly Act and it’s ‘intent’, have raised its horns again. Once again the Crown is trying to define what is ‘right’ and what is ‘safe‘ for Tangata Whenua, by their own ethnocentric understanding and standards, and to sanction and punish,  how Tangata Whenua practice their own forms of healing.

“In a written statement, the Ministry of Health told The Hui that “certain activities are restricted to particular health practitioners, because of the risk of serious or permanent harm to members of the public if those activities are carried out by other persons.”” (News Hub)

The thing with one group believing they are superior to another, is they believe they also have the right to decide how ‘the others’ should moderate, regulate and heal themselves. Need I remind the Crown that a. Tangata Whenua were healthy before they sailed in on their colonial vessels and b. the Crown has not down a great job overseeing their own peoples health let alone Indigenous health.

I suggest they fuck off and mind their own business, but considering they probably won’t; I suggest We re-learn, if necessary – or continue to practice, if known – the holistic techniques our ancestors used prior to the colonial invasion. We are a resourceful people; well equipped to dismantle the ideologies forced upon us, and well equipped to embrace wellness.

This is the Act of Decolonisation, which we need to do in every area of our thinking if we want to thrive, not just survive.

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feature artist: hank willis thomas

The artist, Hank Willis Thomas, talks here about ‘reframing’ what we think we know; what we perceive, or how we view things. His work is designed to challenge our perceptions, misconceptions and views.

To view more of his beautiful and extraordinary work visit: http://www.hankwillisthomas.com

 

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can’t hold us down ~ christina aguilera

Can’t Hold Us Down ~ Christina Aguilera, 2002

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activism ~ responding to the over-representation of Maori in prison

The following article is an adequate and interesting look at the common, apparent ’causes’ of over representation of Maori in the Crowns prison system.  As I read through however, I found myself asking the questions I usually do, that never really get answered.

The usual Question“Angry boys. We get a lot of angry boys. What is the root cause of that anger?”

The usual Answer ~ “…the usual suspects of educational failure and family breakdown as the biggest contributors to young Maori heading towards criminal behaviour.”

My Question ~ Is that really what makes Us angry??

You see, when they say ‘educational failure’, they mean failure in the mainstream pakeha education. When they say ‘family breakdown’ they are referring to ‘imported’ addictions, that we didn’t indulge in prior to white invasion; they’re referring to behaviour, like domestic violence, that we didn’t indulge in prior to white invasion; they’re referring to a family unit that consists of Mother, Father and point 2 children, all living in one house isolated from a wider family unit, which we didn’t indulge in prior to white invasion.

The idea that we are ‘broken’ is from a completely ethnocentric point of view.

Does that make Us angry? Fuck Yes. And this doesn’t scratch the entire impact of the colonisation process on who we were and who we are now.

Responding to the over representation of Maori in prison.