An inter-disciplinary group of Māori academics from the University of Otago have released a poster to encourage the public to engage with “the voices and experiences of Māori to help create an anti-racist Aotearoa New Zealand.”
This week, Professor Jacinta Ruru (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui), Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla (Ngāi Tahu) and Jeanette Wikaira (Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāpuhi) released the Read our Words poster, profiling ten easily accessible Māori authored non-fiction books.
Earlier this year the academics wrote a Spinoff article providing a local response to the global Black Lives Matter movement in which they encouraged all to listen to the voices and experiences of Māori to help create an anti-racist Aotearoa New Zealand.
The poster is a follow-up to this call to action, and the academics would like to see it distributed across Aotearoa.
“One way for New Zealanders to help create an anti-racist nation is to ‘read our words’ and engage in the depth and diversity of Mātauranga Māori. Māori writers have been resisting and challenging racism since Pākehā and the written word first arrived in Aotearoa. This poster reminds Aotearoa of this, and we hope it will be printed and posted in corridors throughout the country in schools, community halls, marae and public libraries,” Professor Ruru says.
The poster is the latest undertaking from the Te Takarangi team, which started their activities with a project celebrating Māori scholarship through the curation of a list of 150 Māori Non-Fiction books from 1815 to 2017. Supported by Te Apārangi, Royal Society of New Zealand and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the Te Takarangi exhibition was successfully launched at Parliament in October 2018.
Since then, the team have developed a social media campaign to release a book a day (for 150 days) on various social media outlets; an Otago University exhibition – Te Takarangi ki Ōtākou; and the impressive Te Takarangi Pūkorero a ‘book festival’ chaired conversation led by te reo experts Professor Poia Rewi, Professor Rawinia Higgins and Victoria Campbell.
Ruru, Wanhalla and Wikaira have many exciting additional projects underway this year, including the development of a further curated list of 150 Te Reo Māori resources. They are also working with a team of outstanding Māori scholars across the country to produce an edited book about the Te Takarangi collection.
“The poster has been something we have wanted to do since the inception of our Te Takarangi project, and our vision is to see the posters pinned up in every school and library in the nation, promoting Māori scholarship, Mātauranga Māori and combating racism”, Wikaira says.
The group hope to widely distribute the Read Our Words poster across Aotearoa, which can be downloaded here: https://www.otago.ac.nz/humanities/otago743980.pdf