This is a personal response to Sheraleigh Walker’s “Chapter Seven: Conclusion. Notes to myself: Writing from the gut”. Kia tau the Rangimarie: Kaupapa Maori theory as a resistance against the construction of Maori as other. Auckland University: Unpublished Masters thesis (excerpt), 1996. 153-154. Print.
The author says in the opening statement, “I struggle to retain my Kaupapa in a predominantly Pakeha institution” (Walker 153). What the author is trying to say is that within the institution of her university, she finds it hard to retain her purpose as a Maori student when the thinking systems of academia focus on Pakeha ways of learning and thinking. She calls this a, “mono-cultural education system in Aotearoa” (Walker 153). She goes on to say “I struggle to write essays and a thesis when I would rather be standing in a wharehui engaging my korero with listeners, to ‘whai te korero’.” (Walker 153). The author here is saying that in having to write and theorise her thoughts and practice, she begins to lose her Kaupapa. She feels this struggle is one of all Maori children within this system, who often do not get to engage with learning in a way that respects how they would like to learn. As a Maori person she would rather be able to speak to her audience and engage with them. She feels the audience who is engaged by writing her thesis is the Pakeha audience and that in writing, the people she wants to listen, Maori, will not be able to engage.
When I read this excerpt I feel anger, and disappointment from the author. I can feel she identifies strongly with Maoridom and although she is seen by other people as a successful academic, I think she feels that this success doesn’t align with who she wants to be. I think she is angry that there is no space within academia for real Maori purpose, and that instead it is constantly being objectified. Her piece talks in first person; Me, I, but Walker makes it clear that she speaks on behalf of Maori, on behalf of her whanau, through herself. She feels strongly about this topic. I found that once I got the definitions of a couple of the Maori phrases, I found it easy to follow, seeing her ideas clearly. I am a person of Maori descent, and although I have never identified strongly with Maoridom and the typical practices associated with that, I feel the authors view on the issue is an important and valid one. I think that different ways of learning and presenting, and also seeing the world are important to retain within the education system, and I hope she gets to change the world.