Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Thank goodness for Thankful Thursdays. Maybe it's the weather and my lagging energy levels but I'm really lacking motivation at the moment.

I'm thankful to other bloggers who post about their comings, goings and doings. They remind me of the stuff I could be finishing etc. I wish I could paint or something like that, I could really do with a good chucking of paint onto a canvas right now. Instead I might have a go at creating gorgeous jewelry or writing stories.

Oh and I've heard...a crossword a day keeps the dementia at bay. Well, I'm getting sick of exercising my brain so often lately. It might actually go purposefully on strike soon. I think by the end of this year, thanks to the numerous crossword books around here, I might have a better vocabulary than ever before. Now there's a positive!

This week New Zealand is celebrating Maori Language Week. Well, I'm pretty sure there are some that haven't given it a second thought. I have Maori ancestry and feel a real affinity with the culture. Most would be surprised that a little white girl born in the most 'Pakeha' of Canterbury rural towns would feel so strongly about this. I have been tempted on several occasions to register as a Maori, simply because of this connection I feel. But I never have, nor will. I guess most people would think I was fraud.

All I know is this. If you love the sound of a language, the music, the art, the customs, the warmth of the people and so much more then I guess you should be allowed to feel a connection if you want. Even if you only have a little slice in yourself, like I do.

It's a bit like the way I still secretly consider my self a musician, despite not playing much music at all over recant years. I also discovered in my reading and searching a number of relatives who were musicians and singers. Once it's in your blood, I guess it's hard to ignore.

But I'm also lucky to know it isn't all about blood. In my case, it is also about the influence of people, other families and love. I was brought up within another family, whom I grew to love and had a huge influence on me. I believe, despite there being absolutely no blood related connection that they will always be a part of my ancestry. They also make me who I am.
I was lucky to have contact with all my blood relatives, but I know this is not always the case. I hope others find comfort in the people who had a real impact on their lives, never mind how they are connected.

When completing some family research about my Paternal Grandma I discovered that my Great Great Grandmother was in fact Maori. That was enough for me to consolidate my feelings and questions about my own ancestry. My Granny also has Scottish in her blood. What an interesting combo that makes!!! Warm musical people with a great sense of humour and a tendency to drink whiskey...............lovely.

After reading about the people who had gone before me I understand why the Maori language comes so easily to me, why I even bother to show an interest, why I'm drawn to the music and love teaching others about our bicultural country.

Bicultural? Not more. There are so many cultures that now make up a New Zealander. No space anymore for small mindedness I think. Our travels to live in the North Island have exposed our children to a wealth of culture, the good and bad. They are aware that the colour of people does not dictate a good friendship or person. My little pakeha/white children are not always the kind and decent ones either, to my horror. But it's the truth.
I'm very thankful we made the decision though, to expose them to more people and challenges.

So, like many other awareness weeks I embrace Maori language week in my own personal/private way. I love hearing the place names pronounced correctly (or well attempted) on the evening news and enjoy discussing greetings with my daughter during homework time.
It may be tokenism, but I think it helps keep a part of New Zealand alive. A part I would like nurtured, at least through my children.

Happy Maori week to you all

Aroha nui

Jaz xx


  1. Kei te pai Jaz!

    Ko Meghan ahau!Kei te pehea koe? Kia pai to ra!

    p.s. I need your email address please, can you email me at meghanmaloney1 at!

    Have a great day!

  2. Jaz. For me that post goes so far beyond the issue of Maori in New Zealand. It gives an insight into what we should all recognise in ourselves - for few of us are 'pure' anything. I think that this post is probably one of the most insightful I've read. It will certainly spur me to a post sometime in the not-too-distant future.

  3. Great post Jaz. I try to learn a bit more vocab each Māori Language Week (and mean to learn more the rest of the year but am a bit slack!) This year I've (among some other things) managed to memorise one of my favourite Māori proverbs - 'He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!' What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!

  4. With the recent deaths of my parents (dad this summer, mum two years ago) my thoughts have been circling quite a lot around family history lately - what's in my genes vs upbringing etc. Interesting post, thanks.


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