During my zoom session with my class, this week, I shared this song called “Wairua” (spirit/soul) on YouTube by Maimoa. What was so neat about it is that it lifts the spirits and is sung in te reo Maori and if you didn’t understand the words, the music is still catchy and a celebration of life.
So if you want to dance – go for it! as it’s a song that celebrates for me te reo Maori, a language that was dying in the 1970s – 1980s when I remember only hearing the language being spoken by my teachers at school but not in public. It’s now being spoken in classes, in parks, anywhere where Maori and speakers of Maori congregate. A neat renaissance and celebration of what can happen when people pool together resources for their children and youth to learn their indigenous language/s.
I think that was because it generally wasn’t accepted by the majority society then, just as the Samoan language wasn’t because we were expected to assimilate and the pervading ideas during those times were quite racist and intolerant with the idea that westernized society was more superior.
Now we see bilingual signs all over NZ government buildings, education centres etc. we also see newsreaders greeting the audience using te reo, Rugby commentators getting the vowel sounds right (after much coaching) to be able to pronounce the names of professional rugby players properly!
Haven’t times changed and we now have a whole generation/s of youth not knowing that time in history but speaking and singing freely in te reo and being proud of there culture as young Maori. I see the same with other indigenous cultures in now feeling proud to be who they were born to be.
We have come a long way but there is still a long way to go what with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests that are still waging in USA, this is a movement that has been long overdue in the often marginalized not having a say but they now do.
Still a thought to those indigenous nations who are often “invisible” in social and political movements in many countries around the world due to their wish not to engage with western societies although some may to a lesser degree i.e. Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, First nations peoples in Canada etc. Their cultures are worth celebrating too…