- Te Marie Tau, I Whanau au ki Kaiapoi: The story of Natanahira Waruwarutu, Otago University Press, 2011
She reads the script as a receipt, an extended subtweet of colonisation.
As an essential means of survival, GIRLIE has had hundreds of names and multiple identities. She was born twice, once as Mahalia and secondly as Matilda. She is known as Tilly on the marae and she was born again to the church as Mary. Years later she unlearns shame, finds te ao Māori and becomes Merehana.
Older generations of Māori are often whakamā about discussing their hardships for justified fear of retaliation. How do you then hold anyone's stories other than your own? As soon as you talk about anything deemed Māori, you are taken to be speaking for all Māori. As if there is a singular indigenous voice or experience. As if plurality doesn’t exist.
Often grand narrative structures are attached to these histories, that follow a Western linear trajectory of a single ‘true’ account. Māori history does not operate in this way. It is made of multiple narratives that occasionally cross over. It is moulded to the tempo of shared mythologies.1 Many Māori believe their ancestors walk alongside them, thinly veiled from the ināianei.
The line where her whakapapa transition
from ancestors to myth blurs.
Myth and whaikōrero are framed within a universal whakapapa
A personal narrative structure that western epistemology cannot account for or facilitate.
SCENE ONEExt. Arahura River – Night
GIRLIE is engulfed in water. It is black and slippery against her fingers. She grasps for salvation, reaching for the sky. The current flows around her but she is stuck. Poutini’s hands are clasped around her ankles pulling her deeper into the water. He tugs and she resists, becoming more and more worn out until her head is tilted back gasping for air and her limp body is submerged. Poutini drags her to the depths of the river.
SCENE TWOInt. Hospital – Day
GIRLIE stands behind a basin, she is methodically cleaning medical instruments. Her co-worker, Kahu, is on a break and walks around her idly.
KAHU It was a brutal game last night. We got floored.
Girlie Oh. Damn. It would’ve been a sad night out in Hamilton then.
KAHU I didn’t even get to make it to the pub. I was too late being held up here.
Girlie Oh that’s so sad. I’m sorry.
KAHU Yea there was even a real racist lady too.
Girlie Wait, what? What happened?
KAHU I was walking up to the game with my missus and my best mate and his missus. They’re all white as. The door lady turns and looks just at me and asks me how much I’ve had to drink. She didn’t ask anyone else.
Girlie But you were the one who missed the pub!
KAHU Yea aye. I wanted to dob in my friend who was drunk as just to prove her wrong. People are always treating me like some hori.
Girlie Yea people always act like New Zealand isn’t racist, but it is. Mum is brown and whenever we go to the shops together the shop people treat her so differently. When I go shopping alone they’re always offering help and being so nice straight away! But when I’m with mum they’ll just stand behind the counter and ignore us or follow us around. It’s rude as.