Posts Tagged ‘Ila Couch’

Missing Connections: how closed adoptions created generations of ‘ghosts’ within our whakapapa

Dr Erica Newman has been awarded the Marsden Fast Start Grant to further her research into transracial adoption in Aotearoa. Over the next three years she will gather accounts and experiences of Māori adoptees and their descendants and document their efforts to connect to their taha Māori. Crucial to her work is understanding how hapū and iwi currently support adoptees and their uri on their whakapapa journey, and in what ways her own experience as the daughter of a Māori adoptee might assist in the future shaping of those processes.

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Indigenising psychotherapy

Verity Armstrong (kāi tahu, kāti māmoe – ōraka aparima) rolls up her sleeve. We are chatting through computer screens, but I lean in instinctively as she turns her arm to show me the detail and design of her tā moko. “Was it painful?” I ask. The irony of her response was not lost on the psychotherapist who makes a living encouraging people to talk: “The actual tattoo felt like it happened in a second. The hardest part was the talking.”

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Following in the footsteps of their kuia

Growing up with generations of extended whānau in the Blenheim Māori Women’s Welfare League, Sue Parish and Jazmine MacDonald didn’t give much thought to its future – that is until they became mothers. Seeing an urgent need to bridge the gap between senior members and rangatahi, they launched a succession plan for this important kaupapa.

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Life in the USA – A Grim Reality

When things are going wrong in America I hear from people: are you all right, what is really happening over there, when are you coming home? “It is beyond me why you have stayed this long, ” wrote a friend I have known since high school. “He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata,” I write back.

Tonight, people are rioting in Minnesota, the first state I lived in as a 17-year-old exchange student. People are rioting in Georgia, the state I call home. In Minneapolis, a police officer knelt on the neck of a black man until he could no longer breathe. Say his name – George Floyd. In Glynn County, Georgia, an ex-detective and his son have been charged, three months after killing a black man out for a run. Say his name – Ahmaud Arbery. They are not the first or the last, just the latest victims of modern-day lynching. Police kill people of colour in the US. There is no pause for a pandemic. This is the country I have lived in for 18 years and the country I am preparing to leave.

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Devoted to Dance

Arawyn has only just turned 10, and Mileena turned 12 the day after we spoke. “She’s going to be a teenager soon,” Arawyn says, sticking out her tongue and making a noise her older sister playfully mimics. The sisters have just returned from a big trip to the United States, an early birthday present for Mileena, who won a coveted spot in one of the largest ballet competitions in the world. Of the 10,000 applicants to the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Ballet Competition in New York, Mileena was amongst just 1200 selected to attend a week of master classes, mentoring, and the chance to be discovered by directors of the most prestigious dance companies from around the world.

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Holistic Healing

Tanya Filia had a successful career in education when a serious illness forced her into early retirement. When doctors gave her just months to live she turned to te ao Māori, rongoā Māori, and the principles of Te Whare Tapa Whā.

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A Good Egg

There’s a party at the New Zealand Consul-General’s home in Los Angeles, and Rachel House is looking for people she knows. “Let’s hang out with those Māori over there,” she says. Since I can’t see who she’s talking about it’s not until I’m practically walking into Rena Owens, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Cliff Curtis that I appreciate the setup. “Kaua e whakamā,” she says with a smile, waving me forward for introductions.

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Double Oscar Winner

When you visit the home of an Oscar winner the first thing you look for is their award, or, in the case of Hammond Peek – awards. For starters, he’s not the kind of guy who has his accolades out on display. Secondly, after giving you a sneak peak of the golden statues, he makes sure you’re not going to reveal their hiding place.

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A taste for pūtakitaki

I’m not interested in blasting ducks. This is a food resource. When you research our mahinga kai, you realise our food has often been turned into someone else’s sport. The best push is a drive … We have learnt to sit back and not rush the birds.

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