Rahera (Rach). artist/writer type. political junkie. aspiring human, sometimes. free speech and animal welfare advocate. interests include violent crime & children's books.

kia ora koutou. haere mai, ko toku rangitaki tenei. sometimes i have thoughts that exceed 240 characters. they go here. mau te rongo!

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“Are we talking Rachel / “Rahera” Poulain?” — Kera Sherwood-O’Regan

putting my Māori name in sarcastic quote marks, as if it were a gimmick or a joke, isn’t a great look when you’re claiming the moral high ground on kaupapa, Kera.

you don’t know the history of that name. it was gifted to me, it’s taonga, and it’s mine.

thanks for reminding me how special it is, though. i’ll be making an effort to use it more. people can call me Rach or Rachel or Rahera, i’ll answer to whatever. he rōhi e tētahi atu ingoa.

“First noticed her dragging my comments about pakeha needing to do better where she just went all te reo to silence me.” — Kera Sherwood-O’Regan

(i’m still perplexed by Kera’s claim that i “silenced her”, so for the sake of transparency, here are the full screenshots of that interaction.)

so, without knowing anything about me or my background, you’ve determined that my going by my Māori ingoa or my use of te reo in conversation is somehow disingenuous or inappropriate.

you’ve assumed my whakapapa, which is fine — i’m so pale i’m practically see-through, and for reasons i’ll get into soon, i don’t concern myself with ethnic labels. i’ve been vocal in my rejection of identity politics. i don’t ‘identify’ as anything other than myself — ko Rahera ahau. still, it’s interesting to think that you might treat me differently if i looked like my brown-skinned, dark-eyed cousins.

Sherwood-O’Regan sounds suspiciously Irish. if i thought genetics were relevant, i could analyse your Anglo-Saxon facial features and make inferences about the authenticity of your claim to be “indigenous”.

i wouldn’t do that, because 1) history has shown that attributing value to the concept of “racial purity” is a very, very bad idea, and 2) it’s just a shitty thing to do.

i don’t know the full intricacies of your whakapapa, and you don’t know mine. it doesn’t matter. you don’t know my whakatipu. you don’t know my whānau. i was born in this country, just like you. i whanau mai au i konei; this is my home.

ko Rahera taku ingoa. i’m a citizen of Aotearoa and i’m free to learn, speak or write in whatever language i choose to. it’s not your place to tell me what sounds i can and cannot utter with my own māngai, or what combination of letters i write with my own pen or type with my own fingertips.

“You don’t get a hall pass to do what you want with our culture just because you wear pounamu & pronounce names correctly.” — Kera Sherwood-O’Regan

around my neck is an exquisite pounamu toki. i also have a wheua tohorā hei matau.

you don’t know the significance of my taonga. you don’t know who gifted it to me and why. you don’t know whose hands carved it, you don’t know who blessed it or the words of the karakia that was spoken that day. these are symbols of my wisdom and power, my strength and resilience — my mana.

“you don’t get a hall pass” to dismiss the taonga i earned as though it were cheap plastic tiki from a souvenir shop, just because my skin is pale.

ko enei moutere he kainga ki nga tangata mai i te ao katoa, nga tae katoa o te kiri rerekē. you don’t have the authority to dictate who can and cannot embrace and celebrate Māori culture.

my kirituhi, my taonga, my akoranga are mine.

hei aha atu māu, Kera. don’t worry about it 🙂

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