whakatakētanga

By Azriel Ritchie-May

To those who tell me that racism towards Māori does not exist,

Where hell have you been?

While our culture has been sentenced for breaking and entering our own land,

You say our future is safe in government hands,

But why do I still get scared to pronounce my pepeha,
Neglected cause it often ends with looks of discouragement

You can tell me that pointing out injustices towards Māori is not mine to preach, but it is,

Because it’s hard to hold a brother up when stereotypes have beaten instability into our bones,

High school dropout, on the lookout for some easy money

Consistent confrontations,
Laced with silent racism
To conform to our stereotypes,

Out right racists yell from across the street, spitting out sounds that starts with the letter brown,
not like the colour, but your insult,

Racism is here in classrooms, bathrooms, workplaces, and safe spaces

You can’t tell me racism towards Māori does not exist

Cause it is homegrown colonisation,
Still traced back here to modern day gentrification

Māori pride demanded to bow down to the western world

Turning iwi to individuals

Fogs of intolerance telling you to sink or assimilate

I can think of 13 reasons why our Indigenous people are still struggling because of our race,

Māori suicide rates are still higher than any other ethnicity in New Zealand

And in the classroom I am still required to protect my language and defend my culture, the only difference now is they won’t belt me for it

Constantly hearing hates speeches echo through corridors,
Bouncing from bus walls,
And out into the streets,

I am hidden under a white sheet,
I am made translucent,
blood boiling with every word of equality to travel through bodies who walk not knowing who oppression is,

Don’t tell me that racism towards Māori does not exist,

Don’t you see Māori representing in New Zealand’s most troubling superlatives,

Most likely to grow up abused and underprivileged,
Most likely to come out of school under qualified and unemployed
Most likely to be imprisoned

Most likely to fall victim to nationals yelling on core to social stigma,

Like the problems don’t exist,
Like Māori don’t exist,

You cannot tell me that racism towards Māori does not exist anymore,
because it’s roots have tied knots around our fists
but Papatūānuku has taught the branches to steer clear of our mouths and so here I am to use it

Carry my whakapapa in my jaw,

Ko Te AngoAngo te maunga
Ko Te Kupuru te awa
Ko Waikeri te whenua
Ko Ruia te Aroha nga marae
Ko Tumoana te tangata
Ko Te Parewhero te hapu
Ko Te Rarawa te iwi
Ko Azriel Maraea Ritchie-May ahau

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