Confronting the left-right binary in an election year unearths a greater hypersensitivity than at any other time. This hypersensitivity is particularly notable among Māori. The effect is destructive so let us remind ourselves, that we do not need to measure our Māori-ness in terms of blood quantum and should never let anyone require us to do so. We do not need to measure our Māori-ness based on the level to which we are immersed in our hapu or iwi, or by the extent to which can communicate in te reo Māori. We should remember that the effects of colonisation mean subsequent generations are only now starting to find their way back to their iwi. That should always be encouraged.
Our political party affiliations do not make us more, or less Māori. Nothing can deny Māori our Māori-ness. Laws might suppress our culture, our language and our rights, but it cannot suppress our hearts, or our spirit. Our being Māori is in our mauri, it is not on the spectrum. So when we want to talk about politics let’s be clear about that at least.
The binary approach to politics divides us and this makes it difficult for kotahitanga (unity, togetherness) to emerge. We may be driven by different ideas and may choose alternative paths to get to the same destination but ‘naku te rourou nau te rourou’ (with your basket and my basket) we are capable of creating a framework that works for all.