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Image of Kiringāua Cassidy skiing, he is in the snow with a bright blue sky behind him

He Matapihi Ki Tōku Ao

 

 

In this piece monthly contributor sixteen-year-old, Kiringāua shares “He Matapihi Ki Tōku Ao,” a snippet of his life.

 

 

Kei ngā mana, kei ngā reo, nei rā te whare o Te Ruahikihiki, nei rā he pakiaka o te kawa o Rahiri, nei rā he raukura o te maunga tītōhea, nei rā he pioke nō Rangaunu e whakamānawa atu nei ki a koutou katoa. Ko Kāi Tahu, ko Ngāpuhi, ko Te Ātiawa, ko Ngāi Takoto ōku iwi.

 

Ko taku kōrero i tēnei wā e pā ana ki te oranga o te tangata hauā Māori. I taku oranga kua rangona, kua kitea e au te āhua o te whakaweti mai o te tangata. Ko te mea pai, kua nui kē ake ngā hua o taku hauātanga, o taku Māoritanga tēnā i ngā whakapōreareatanga mai. Ko ngā hua kua puta i ēnei āhuatanga ōku ko taku mōhio ki tōku reo, ko ngā mahi hākinakina kua tapeketia au kia tākaro, ko ngā wānanga, ko ngā kura reo me ērā tūmomo kaupapa, ko ngā tūranga waka pai ki waho i ngā toa katoa, me te aha ake, me te aha ake. 

 

Ko ngā whakapōreareatanga kia au ko ngā wā ka tae atu nei au ki ngā tauranga rererangi, ā, ka uru ki ngā kairapu mētara, ā, he mētara nō taku tūru kua pāpāngia au e ngā kaimahi anō nei e kawe pahū ana au ki raro i taku tūru. Tē aro mai rānei ngā kaimahi i te wā e tika ana kia kake atu au ki te waka rererangi, ka whakataruna anō nei tē taea te kite i au. 

 

Ko ētahi atu āhuatanga, ko te whakahuakanga o taku ingoa e aku nēhi, e aku tākuta, e aku kaiako, e wai ake rānei. I te nuinga o te wā ka taea e au te kite, ka taea e au te rongo inā rā e ngana ana te tangata ki te awhina mai ki au, ki te whakahua tika i taku ingoa, ki te pai mai ki au. Ka rangona rānei te māngere, te hōhā o te tangata kāore i te ngana. Ko tāku, mēnā e kauanuanu mai ana he tangata, ka kauanuanu atu au ki a ia, mēnā e whakatīkai mai ana tētahi, ka pērātia hokitia ia. E waimarie ana au i taku ūpoko mārō, i taku whakaaro iti ki tērā hunga. Ki au nei, ki te kore rātou e pai ki au me ōku āhuatanga, ko rātou kē ngā mea ngunu. Kua kore rawa au e tuku mā tērā momo taku ao e whakahaere, māku kē tōku ao e waihanga, e whakahaere. 

 

Ki te taha ki taku Māoritanga, ko te nuinga o ngā āhuatanga kaikiri ka pā atu ki taku Pāpā, he parauri ake nō tōna kiri tēnā i ērā atu o taku whānau. I te tauranga rererangi ko au ka whakatauria nō taku hauā, ko ia ka whakatauria nō te tae o te kiri. I te nuinga o te wā mēnā e whakawetia ana ia, ka haere atu taku Māmā ki a rātou me te whakatika i a rātou. Ka tino rangirua rātou i tēnei wahine toto Māori, kiritea nei te hanga, ā, ka kore rātou e paku whakaaro ko ia taku māmā mēnā e haere ā whānau ana mātou. 

 

Ko ngā āhuatanga rawe o te ū kaha ki tō mātou Māoritanga ko ngā kaupapa mātinitini ka whakahaeretia, ka whai wāhi atu rānei, mātou. He Ika-ā-Whiro aku mātua i Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo, e hia nei ngā kura reo ka whakahaeretia e rāua me ētahi atu i te rautaki reo o taku iwi, o Kāi Tahu, i a ‘Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata’, kua noho rāua hei kaiwhakamāori mō Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou, kua whakahaeretia e rāua tā mātou kapa haka o He Waka Kōtuia, ā, kua tīmatahia tētahi tarahiti hei whakahaere i ēnei kaupapa katoa. He tamaiti au nā rāua, nā reira, kua tōia mātou ko aku tuākana, ko aku tāina ki ēnei kaupapa maha, karekau he whiringa, heoi, e rata pai ana ki a mātou ēnei kaupapa, i te nuinga o te wā kāore he amuamu. 

 

Hei whakakōpani ake, he rangatahi noa au e whai wheako tonu ana i tēnei ao hurihuri. Koinei he matapihi paku ki te ao e noho nei au, nō reira, kei aku whakatamarahi ki te rangi, kei aku whakateitei ki te whenua, tēnei anō te mihi ki a koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

 

 

 

 

 

Read English Translation

    This is a window to my world as a disabled Māori person and how these two aspects of my life connect. My Māori heritage and my disability have enabled many positive outcomes in my life. I am a fluent speaker and an advocate for te reo Māori. I am also lucky to have been involved in many disability sporting events and many other initiatives. On the contrary, in my sixteen years, I have seen, heard, and felt many aspects of bullying and discrimination due to my culture and disability.

     

    For example, every single time I go to an airport, I’m singled out and searched by staff. There have been times where staff have acted like I wasn’t sitting right in front of them. It was like I didn’t even exist until I was pointed out by another person. I’m frustrated at having to justify my own existence.

     

    My dad is the one who receives the most racism out of all my family, just because he’s a few shades darker than the rest of my family. At airports, I will be stopped due to my disability, and my dad will be stopped because of his colour. When he is being discriminated against, my mum will confront and embarrass them. The staff get very confused when this fair-skinned lady – who is actually Māori – comes up to them and calls them out on their behaviour. Sometimes, many people don’t even assume that we’re travelling together as a family.

     

    Another constant experience for me is the mispronunciation of my name by nurses, doctors, teachers, and whoever else I may meet. Most of the time I can tell if people are genuinely trying to help me, and if they are trying to pronounce my name properly, or if they are being lazy and not bothered to even attempt to understand my disability or pronounce my name correctly. I would say people who don’t respect me or take the time to understand my disability are the truly disabled ones. I count myself lucky I am strong-minded and that I don’t care what these types of people think. I will live my life exactly how I want to live it. No matter what anyone thinks.

     

    In my life so far, I’ve been lucky to have opportunities opened up to me. My parents are both recognised graduates of one of the top institutes of excellence in te reo Māori. My brothers and I have grown up attending the many conferences that we run alongside others as part of the language revitalisation strategy of my iwi of Kāi Tahu, ‘Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata,’ which translates to ‘One thousand homes, one thousand aspirations’ as it was the vision of my iwi to have a thousand homes of Kāi Tahu people speaking te reo Māori by 2025, they have been doing translations for Otago University for a long time now, they established our kapa haka He Waka Kōtuia, and they have also founded a trust by which they use to run these many initiatives.

     

     

    The discrimination I experience is far outweighed by the positive experiences my heritage and disability have given me. I look forward to helping shape the world to be a better place.

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