Waves of identity: Reflections on the terms “indigenous” and “indigeneity”

  • Latoia Sasa-Tepania


Throughout my childhood upbringing, the term Indigenous was never once used in my household. I identify myself as a Samoa, Maori woman. If someone were to ask me of my birthplace, Aotearoa would be the first name I reply with before New Zealand.

My father, a proud Samoa man, who acknowledges his village of birth being Papasataua, Savaii born o n the  island of Samoa; is how he introduces himself. My beautiful mother, who identifies herself as mana wahine born Manaia, Taranaki. A child of the Whakatutu, Tepania whanau line.

Both of my parents never used the terms Indigenous or indigeneity to introduce who they are, or as a sentence starter to explain their connection to land, sea or people.      

In recent years, it has come to my attention the term Indigenous, is not only spoken often in and around my place of study; but also, printed several times within the tertiary provider’s prospectus.

I begin to think; now is an excellent time to explore and look at the relevance, of the term concerning the New Zealand context,  field of practice and I as a practitioner.

It is with hopes my findings and personal views, help you the reader, start to think and really look at the types of words people place on you.

After all, who likes being called names. Instead I, myself give the right to a name; then have a n ame give its power to define me.





How to Cite
Sasa-Tepania, L. (2019). Waves of identity: Reflections on the terms “indigenous” and “indigeneity”. Te Kaharoa, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.24135/tekaharoa.v12i1.263