Home > Culture & Identity, Workshop 2012 > Culture & Identity

Culture & Identity

March 21st, 2012

Perspectives on Identity & Culture in Aotearoa New Zealand

Exploring how participants can contribute to Aotearoa becoming a nation that values Māori rangatiratanga, while creating positive understandings of our own identities, often leads to some discussion about the relevance of te Tiriti o Waitangi.  In this  interview long-time Pakeha Treaty educator Mitzi Nairn talks about how this work has meant coming to terms with “shifting goalposts”.

Like Mitzi, we’ve found that when addressing te Tiriti and culture and identity questions, the terrain can often change.  With this in mind, how have your goalposts shifted recently?

 

Culture & Identity, Workshop 2012 , , , , ,

  1. ruby tuesday
    | #1

    @Alex Barnes
    “As citizens, Tauiwi have settled here under the power of the Crown, who also has a binding political relationship with hapū.” Cheers Alex! That is incredibly clarifying! And thank you for taking the time to respond and walk me through this.

    “we don’t live in a “multicultural society”, we live in a “multiethnic” society….” What I like about this idea is that it challenges the notion that we’re multicultural and can happily co-exist in different cultures. Many people just don’t know how to do this. Whereas multi-ethnic represents the variety of ethnicities present in NZ, and the cultural traits inherent in how they live. ”

    This too is an awesome perspective shift. And I like how this – “It doesn’t assume we can co-exist and easily move between cultural worlds.” – is true, but how the idea of multi-ethnic society opens up more of a possibility for fluidity and movement between. By seperating ethnicity and culture, rather than attributing the traits of one to the distinct category of the other, more participatory possibilities are opened up; even if we don’t assume that we can co-exist and *easily* move between, the idea, the…un collapsing (expansion?)…of these categories mean that we can be one ethnicity (or several), and particpate in elements of (an)other culture(s), that is more usually attributed to a different ethnicity, moving between and amidst with a less self/vs othery kind of feel. And…sorry If I’m misinterpreting…

  2. Alex Barnes
    | #2

    Thanks for your thoughtful post ruby tuesday. Here’s a partial response…

    Tauiwi are part of the Tiriti relationship. This is important to remember.

    Pākehā and more recent immigrants are all more broadly speaking “Tauiwi”. One difference is that as a Pākehā I have European/British heritage, and te Tiriti was signed between two sovereign nations: Britain, and various hapū of Aotearoa. So in that sense Pākehā or European New Zealanders that call this place home, have a particular relationship via our British heritage. This relationship links me to the monarchy and to hapū. So in this sense, we have a political relationship because we came here via the Crown. BUT we have a cultural relationship because of our interactions with tangata whenua, and the development of our own distinct culture – Pākehā culture (which is often debated!).

    I once heard this great quote from a seasoned Tiriti community educator: “In New Zealand we don’t live in a “multicultural society”, we live in a “multiethnic” society….” What I like about this idea is that it challenges the notion that we’re multicultural and can happily co-exist in different cultures. Many people just don’t know how to do this. Whereas multi-ethnic represents the variety of ethnicities present in NZ, and the cultural traits inherent in how they live. It doesn’t assume we can co-exist and easily move between cultural worlds. While I feel this would be the ideal, very few people can comfortably do it in their own ethnic group (think about class difference or sexuality differences here), let alone across whole cultural spaces!

    Te Tiriti gives all people a place to stand here – whether they identify as Tauiwi, Pākehā, Samoan, Malay etc. There are just different layers of the relationship. Article three of Te Tiriti talks about citizenship – this is where Tauiwi find their place to be here. As citizens, Tauiwi have settled here under the power of the Crown, who also has a binding political relationship with hapū. In this sense, there are rights and responsibilities upon both sides. Check out this blog, which you might find interesting – it adds another dimension to the discussion about multi-ethnic and multi-cultural positions and the colonisation process.

    P-E-A-C-E!

  3. ruby tuesday
    | #3

    @ruby tuesday
    make that other tauiwi, tauiwi outside the treaty (because pakeha are tauiwi also right?)

  4. ruby tuesday
    | #4

    I’m intrigued by, in as much as its not something I’d thought about before, the problematic of minimising Maori by making them a minority amongst other minorities, as victims of racism like all non-Pakeha. And the connected issue of Pacific peoples being “Pakeha under the treaty”. I’ve enocuntered this recently in some of my own conversations, the balk against priveleging a Maori standpoint in light of a more culturally plural society. But there is an agreement that needs to be honored. So, if tauiwi aren’t given scope for consideration under the treaty (which suddenly seems perfectly obvious), and are considered to be a “Pakeha problem”, left to the pastoral care of the (post)coloniser then…how do we negotiate and honour the bi-culturality of the treaty, and the multi-cultural society of lived Aotearoa? What attitudes within pro-rangatiratanga groups are taken towards tauiwi?

  5. | #5

    Kia ora Alex, our newest Shifting Thinking blog contributor! I’m looking forward to the Entry Point session that you and others will be faciitating around these kinds of questions surrounding “culture & identity” at the upcoming Shifting Thinking Workshop. I think this metaphor Mitzi uses, of feeling like “the goalposts have shifted” might be quite a common one for many people, particularly those who are really committed to exploring and changing their own thinking. I’m keen to hear more about the ideas that you’ll be exploring in your session and how they connect with the overarching theme of “participating and contributing”. Oh and readers can expect to see further details emerging about the other entry point sessions for the Workshop in the coming weeks :)

  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.