WHAT IS INDIGENEITY?
This paper aims to explore and understand the definition of indigeneity from a Māori world view. Presented is a selection of narratives by authors and scholars that provide their knowledge and experience of Māoritanga. In this way, indigeneity is described by the indigenous themselves, which often contrasts to the non-indigenous definitions.
The following sections will also include the effects of post-colonial assimilation on Māori culture, beliefs, philosophies, and way of life, which negatively impacted on the identity of Māori.
I also include my personal views on the terms "indigenous" and "indigeneity" from the perspective of a wāhine Māori that was born and raised in an urbanised environment in the 1970s. Religion also contributed to the misinterpretation of my indigeneity and indigenous background. As a consequence of this, I have personally experienced what’s known as an identity crisis that has led me to search and discover my inherent identity as wāhine Māori.
Therefore, I present a culmination of knowledge that I have learned through a personal journey of identity, which has evolved into my desire to reclaim my indigeneity. With this said, the need to reclaim one’s indigenous identity implies that an indigenous born person can lose their indigeneity. For many Māori this is true, and I include the effects that colonisation has had on the loss of indigenous knowledge throughout Aotearoa.
Despite this, the knowledge which tūpuna passed down from one generation to the next has always been available if there is enough desire to seek it out and learn from it. This essay attempts to disentangle the fabrication of indigenous Māori from a colonised viewpoint, and present the authenticity of tradition, belief, and philosophy from a Māori worldview.