Thursday, May 19, 2005

Being Pakeha...

Do I have a culture?

Surely, I must have a culture.

The term European New Zealander always makes me so cross. I am not European. I have no connection to Europe. I always cross that out on the forms and write New Zealander, or more lately Pakeha.

I am Pakeha. But, what does that mean?

8 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I think it means 'village flea' ~ but even knowing that I still call myself Pakeha!

Sharyn said...

Hahah, no we just talked about that in my lecture. It doesn't mean any of those things. It's derived from a Maori word (or several) that refer to spirits that live in the forest.

Karen said...

I really don't like that term and I am offended often that I can't just be a New Zealander since that is who I am. I cross things out and tick other and then write New Zealander I even actually feel that I am tangatawhenua (people of the land. I was born and raised here - I belong in NZ. Good post Shaz!

Iain said...

Yeah, granted it is awful hard to know what you should call yourself when you fit into the most average category in New Zealand.

Especially being young. That's the time you need to know who you are and what the world thinks of you.

Do you call yourself Pakeha, accepting that it might also be an underhanded comment. Do you call yourself Palagi, accepting that it might also be talking about some kind of albino fish.

Do you call yourself, "European New Zealander", saying that you have no culture of your own and owe everything in your identity to some far-off heritage.

Do you call yourself caucasian, not actually coming from EITHER SIDE of the Caucasus mountain range in Russia.

That's why I want to travel too, so that I can learn more about myself by learning what makes others different from me.

You know what other people call New Zealanders in other countries? You know what many New Zealander's nicknames end up being when they go overseas?

Kiwi. They call us Kiwis. And that makes me smile.

Lynne said...

I am a Pakeha. I have been a Palagi too, when with Pacific Peoples.
And I am tangata tiriti. (People of the treaty).
And me. I am me. A New Zealander, a kiwi.
Partner, lover, friend and wife of Steve.
Mother of Shannon and Kayli.
Sister of J,G,L
Daughter of I and M
Friend of...
DAughter in law, sister in law
aunt...

Am I getting carried away?

Preferred box to tick would be Pakeha, because it defines me as being in NZ, of European descent. Cos that heritage is impt to me too. Not least cos my forebears were mad enough, courageous enough to cross the oceans and pioneer in this new place.

SubversNZ said...

Pakeha is fine with me, Kiwi is good too.
I am of European, mainly Celtic, stock.
Irish, Scottish, Cornish, Dutch.
Born in south Auckland, New Zealand.

Sharyn said...

Any relation to Colin? ;-)

Iain said...

Oh Paul, you have such amazing stock... you must be related to some pretty fantastic people. In fact, I hear you McMahon's are all highly intelligent and roguishly handsome.

Those McMahons must have some pretty awesome Y chromosomes.