By Michelle Uriarau - Ngāti Hinepare, Ngāti Mahu, Ngāti Kahungunu
“He wāhine, he whenua ka ora te tangata”
It is by women and by land, that the people are given life
In te ao Māori there is a synergy between women and land, and that without one or the other or both, man [humanity] will not survive. The representation of wāhine, therefore [sic], is a wider discussion about land and the continuation of whakapapa’ 2018 M. Eria, ‘Te ao Māori : The synergy between women and the land’
Of all the profound questions posed to humankind throughout time, no one could have guessed that the question ‘what is a woman?’ would be one of them. Especially as the question itself is not profound at all. Yet the trending narrative that ‘anyone can be a woman’ is now considered a truth to the point that major changes have recently been passed into New Zealand law that allows men to legally falsify the nominated sex on their birth certificate, hiding evidence of their actual sex. The new law allows them to be legally recognised as a woman based on nothing more than a personal declaration. Unlike previous stringent conditions, the requirements to provide medical evidence, and undergo years of therapy and radical surgery have been removed. In other words, no man needs to change a thing about his appearance to legally be considered a ‘woman’. The Big Lie, typically credited to Goebbels, comes to mind.
To say it is surreal to witness everyone in New Zealand’s parliament acquiesce to the bizarre and perilous doctrine that is gender-identity is an understatement, although NZ is not the only Government to have done so. Even more puzzling is the seemingly docile complicity by elitist Māori to go along with the popular, yet deceitful, allegation that tamariki and mokopuna (children and grandchildren) can be born in the wrong bodies.
What a time to be alive!
On page 3 of Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, in ‘Sexual Diversity in Contemporary Māori Society’, Clive Aspin makes the claim:
‘...transgender people hold a revered position within Māori society. Transgender people play an important role within both the takatāpui community and wider Māori community as holders and transmitters of ancestral knowledge.’
Who are these so-called ‘transgenders’ that Aspin refers to? Which hapū (sub-tribe)? Which whakapapa (descendancy) are they from and what exactly does he mean by ‘transgender’?
On the other hand we have the seemingly infrequently read, but gratuitously marketed, PhD thesis by Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, in which she makes a complete 180 degree turn to the above statement by Clive Aspin on p82 in her thesis, to state that:
‘There is not yet evidence that Māori had diverse gender identities
or that tākatapui played specific roles in pre-colonial times.’
Clearly there is a disconnect between what we are being told by both Aspin and Kerekere, who are at odds with each other, and what is reality in relation to Te Ao and Tikanga Māori.
Those of us raised within our culture know that we have always been defined by hapū established by whakapapa. Our culture has always been passed down to us by our kaumatua (elders) NOT academics or politicians. Broad sweeping baseless claims about ‘Māori’ can become quickly unravelled when specifics of hapū and whakapapa are either vague or non-existent.
Gender-identity ideology originated out of American academia and threatens that everyone must invest in its most outlandish, impractical and unrealistic beliefs - even those who work within government departments. The Regulatory Impact Statement for the Sex-Self ID Bill, which was recently passed into law, claimed that (p12, 32.):
‘Only recognising binary genders may have had a negative impact specific to Māori. Research suggests that there was gender diversity within Te Ao Māori and that has diminished with colonisation. This has negatively affected the acceptance and participation of gender diverse Māori in their own communities.’
This is a direct appropriation of our culture. So, why did Māori Members of Parliament who have the power to take the Government to task over such ridiculous claims, remain silent on the matter? I can only speculate.
The truth is that there is no haka, no waiata, no mōteatea, no whakataukī and no whakairo that proves that diverse gender identities ever existed in Te Ao and in pre-colonial times for Māori. Humans can never change sex. Regardless of culture, lying to any child about biological reality is incredibly cruel. How a child feels on any given day should never be responded to with off-label cancer drugs to stop their natural pubertal development or radical surgical amputation of their healthy breast or penile tissue. The very idea is horrific to the point of insanity, yet it has been written into New Zealand law.
The answer to the question ‘what is a woman’ is of course, wāhine: adult human female. Only wāhine can bring forth life which is why only wāhine can karanga (make the call of welcome). In ‘The Man Called to Karanga’ which aired on Māori Television in 2018, Pita Tamiana’s mother told him, men do not karanga because it attracts death. Unsurprisingly, Pita discounts his mother’s advice and wisdom, perhaps because he is academically trained? I am not sure, but the emerging picture of our culture being contaminated by certain academics and politics instead of being governed and guided by hapū and kaumatua, as is our custom, is an unsettling one.
I am co-founder of Mana Wāhine Kōrero, the only indigenous group created by indigenous women to advocate for the safeguarding of our wāhine, tamariki, mokopuna and our cultural integrity primarily against gender-identity propaganda.
We refuse to capitulate to this ideology which inserts itself uninvited into our culture, erases our mana as wāhine and hijacks our ability to safeguard in law that which we hold dear above all else; our tamariki and mokopuna. How can tangata whenua (the people) survive when this ideology seeks to permanently end the continuation of our whakapapa through the castration of our children and grandchildren? When I am asked about this topic “Why are you so angry?”, I respond “Why are you not!”
Michelle Uriarau - Ngāti Hinepare, Ngāti Mahu, Ngāti Kahungunu.
Co-Founder Mana Wāhine Kōrero
‘Ko te wāhine te whare tangata o te ao Māori - ā he mea whakanui rātou i tōna mana whakawhānau oranga.’
Women are the house of humanity of the Māori world - and they are venerated for creating life.