I wear my pride upon my skin: Becoming more of who I am

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Authors
Smith, Hinekura
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Grantor
Date
2022
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Type
Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
Aotearoa
New Zealand
Māori women
identity construction
facial tattoos
tattooing
cultural identity
Citation
Smith, H J. (2022). I wear my pride upon my skin: Becoming more of who I am. Te Ira Tāngata, 2, 6-9.
Abstract
INTRODUCTION Tua - beyond. Kiri – skin. Combined, tuakiri is a Māori (Indigenous Peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand) term for identity or that which lies beyond the skin. So, what if your skin does not match the phenotype of your tuakiri Māori – Māori identity? An identity which you have always known is you, one which you have actively and proudly fostered for yourself as a wahine Māori and mother. An identity that you teach in / about, research and write. What if your white skin offers all of the profound privilege that the society you live in affords your phenotype, but when you reveal your Māori identity – who I am beyond my skin – there is discomfort, confusion, distrust, and sometimes anger as the ‘other’ reconciles what their eyes see with what their ears hear, bound tightly by the limitations of their own storied definitions of what being Māori means. Now take that white skin and engrave upon its face the markings of Māori ancestry, a moko kauae (traditional Māori chin tattoo) as a powerful symbol of tuakiri Māori, displayed permanently and visibly on the skin, and more radically, upon the face. Kia ora (hello) meet me.
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Tertiary Education Union (TEU)
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