The winter solstice seemed more significant to me this year. I have started gardening more. Plus I am very conscious of darkness, cold and wellbeing with a global pandemic and the highlighting of centuries of terror through the current #BlackLivesMatter protests very present in Aotearoa New Zealand.
I was born in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington in Aotearoa. My parents came from Scotland and England, both from white ancestry. My grandmother’s family farmed land in Aotearoa purchased in 1912, a legacy of an act of parliament (Native Lands Act 1865) that was “to encourage the extinction of such [native] proprietary customs”.
I see a wealth of women who invest energy into their communities to bring light to injustice. They have always existed. These women propose different ways, educate and share information, model and encourage care and compassion, and to use anger to fuel change. I feel these voices very strongly in the current weeks. I wonder if this is only in my own sphere that this is felt? I am hopeful that white privilege and the invisible whiteness that holds systemic racism firmly in place is being opened up as a concept to white people. I am worried about people retreating back into the tower and slamming down the gates. See the eloquent Lani Wendt Youngs 2019 essay Stories from the Wild for her take on gatekeepers of voice. The conversation of racism seems to be more everywhere and feels different.
I am looking, and listening and learning – learning when I can influence, learning when to shut up, learning about the history of my family and my people in the world. The Doctrine of Discovery and a timeline of the colonisation of India in relation to Aotearoa are current interests.
I am thinking about what I learnt from the Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust performance last year All Roads Lead to Ngātapa about people telling their own stories. #AllRoadsLeadToNgātapa#OURStoryOURWay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEJ7aOFZutE. It is important for me to consider what the 250 year anniversary of the English ship led by Captain Cook arriving in Aotearoa means. It means violence and domination to me.
“As a mindset, the Doctrine of Discovery reiterates an entitlement to conquer for the sake of imperial expansion. That mindset sits at the heart of the corporate memories, and fuels the process of climate change and ocean pollution which place our very existence at threat.” Tina Ngata 2019 (‘Kia Mau, Resisting Colonial Fictions’ ISBN 978-0-473-49495-7)
I am editing Wikipedia, designing for contemporary dance, researching theatre and building a community around a garden space in my suburb. Madeline McNamara, Jade Eriksen, myself and others are waiting news of an application for Madeline and Jade to develop a new show Liminal Splits and Other Basic Deceits. A group of young women present their spoken word at a Black Lives Rally in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and a young women MP posts it on social media: “So tell us to be quiet and know that we won’t” Ngā Hinepūkōrero June 2020 https://youtu.be/C5tjP4yndjc. Tina Ngata an author and activist turns her website into a Patreon to get funds for the clarity and research her words create: https://www.patreon.com/tinangata/posts
And I celebrate a small protest in my locale. A street sign perhaps named after Captain Cook was subtly changed to Cock Street.
Lisa Maule is a designer and producer in performing arts and events based in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The UN’s perspective on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery (May, 2012)
“The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concluded its eleventh session with the approval of a set of nine draft recommendations, highlighted by a text approved on the special theme, the ongoing impact of the Discovery Doctrine on indigenous peoples and the right redress. That fifteenth century Christian principle was denounced throughout the session as the “shameful” root of all the discrimination and marginalization indigenous peoples face today.
Photo captions / credits
Lisa Maule, selfie 2020
Sketches by Lisa Maule
Kia Mau, Resisting Colonial Fictions book (cover art-work by Robyn Kahukiwa)
Screen grabs from a promo video of “All Roads lead to Ngātapa” 2019 Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ. Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust
Image 1. L to R. Lisa Maule, Kaea Hills, Tiowaana Harrington, Manea Swann
Image 2. L to R. Lisa Maule, Kiana Ria Renata-Kokiri and Raiha Moetara