Proud To Be Māori campaign kicks off

By Tumamao Harawira

The campaign highlights pride in being Māori. But some might think this is actually a Māori Party ad.

Te Whānau o Waipareira this week launched the campaign proud to be Māori, a campaign designed to instil a sense of pride into Māori communities, and Awerangi Tamihere of Te Whānau o Waipareira believes Māori haven't been able to really acknowledge their successes.

"It's a campaign to actually celebrate who we are, and celebrate what we can aspire to, and to celebrate what we can be, rather than messages about what we aren't and how we cannot be."

"This campaign was laid down by people like Aunty Mavis Tuoro, Uncle Jack Wīhongi, it went way before a Māori Party campaign, Waipareiria has always stood for aspirations of Māori. That came before any political party."

John Tamihere, former leader of the Māori Party has been in the news recently following allegations of undeclared donations following last year's elections, and is now the chief executive for Te Pou Matakana, which is housed in the same building as Waipareira. However, Awerangi is adamant that the campaign is about Māori, not the Māori Party.

For aspiration

"It proudly stands for aspiration. Those stories of standing up and fighting the fight when no one else would stand up was by uncle Pete, when he stood for Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, understanding that we needed an urban marae. Those are all sentiments all shared in our campaign. It was never about a party."

Sid Diamond, member of the Group Smashproof, was born into a Māori community in South Auckland disconnected from their customs and language, and he says that a campaign such as this is very much needed in places where he grew up.

"That lack of culture and tikanga in my own house. Gangs, you know whānau that don't have any sense of belonging themselves and they look up to other people who don't have a sense of belonging. They don't have any attachment to Māori, and they are Māori."

Sid is on a journey of finding his identity as a Māori, as such, he has written a song that is very much the same as the campaign being run by Te Whānau a Waipareira. Don't Run is a definite change from Smashproof hits such as Brother featuring Ginn Wigmore.

I want to do a song that is going to be in everybody's faces, just to show them the outcome of what has happened to us. We grew up in these areas where the lack of Māori Tikanga is there so I just wanted to write a song that Māori can be proud of.

Te Whānau o Waipareira will be running the Proud To Be Māori campaign for eight weeks.