Ōhinemataroa river, Aotearoa. Photo: Matariki Williams
[He Whakahē ki te Tuku Iho | Mō te Hihiri]
Nā Matariki Williams
Ko te tuhinga hautaka i tapaina ki te taitara “Against Tradition”[He Whakahē ki te Tuku Iho], i puta i te tau 2010, ā, i tohua hei pānuitanga i a au e ako ana i aku akoranga mō te Tohu Paerua o te Whare Taonga me te Whare Tawhito ki Te Herenga Waka. Koira hoki taku tūhononga tuatahi ki te kaitiaki, ki a Sean Mallon (Nō Hāmoa, nō Airihi hoki) me ana mahi arohaehae, ana whakaaro whānui. Ko te tuhinga nei hei kohinga kupu e noho tonu nei hei kaiwhakairo i aku whakaaro. Waihoki, kua whakahoahoa māua ko Sean, ā, ko māua hei hoa, hei hoa mahi hoki ināianei. I te wā i uru atu au hei tauira, ko ahau anake te tauira Māori i taku rangapū ako, ā, karekau he tauira nō Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.
Kāore te tautohetohe, te wānanga me te talanoa i ngā tirohanga a te iwi Māori me ngā iwi whānui o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa ki rō whare taonga i whai wāhi atu ki te akoranga. Nō reira, i taku tūpono atu ki tēnei tuhinga, ka kitea te tirohanga i te kimihia e au. Waihoki, hei tāpiri atu ki tērā tirohanga, he whakaaro anō ki tua atu i ngā kōrero mō te whakaoranga.
I tā Sean tuhinga, e kōrerotia ana te huringa o ngā whakaaro o ngā whakatipuranga, arā, e whakapātaritari ana ngā reanga rangatahi i ngā whakaaro hou, i ngā kawatau hou hoki. He mea taupatupatu pea ki ngā whakaaro me ngā wheako o mua. Ko tētahi wāhanga nui o te tuhinga nei e whai ana i ngā whakaaro o tētahi atu tuhinga i puta i te tau 1976 e kīia nei, ko “Towards a New Oceania”[“Ki Ngā Moutere a Kiwa Hou”]. He mea tuhi tēnei nā Maualaivao Albert Wendt, he ahorangi, he kaituhi hoki ia nō Hāmoa. E ai ki a Wendt, i whakahē ētahi o ngā kaumātua ki ana whakahē ā-tūmatanui ki ngā kupu ‘tuku iho’, ā, i tautokohia tā rātou e ētahi nō waho atu i Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, arā, e rātou kua whai mahi ki ēnei momo kaupapa kōrero hei mātanga rāwaho. Kua wetewetehia ngā take a Wendt ki ngā kupu ‘tuku iho’, heoi, ka tino hono atu au ki tana tirohanga e kī ana, e ōrite ana te ‘tuku iho’ ki te ahurea e whakaroau kau ana, e kore e neke, e tupu. Kua kitea hoki i ngā wheako o Wendt tētahi mea kua whakaarohia nuitia e au mō te whakamahinga o ngā kupu ‘tuku iho’, arā, ko tā te tangata whakahoki atu ki tana whakahē, nā te mea, kua pōkarekare te puna painga o ētahi atu. Ki te riro mā ngā ahurea kua rangahaua, arā, mā tātou anō ā tātou ake kōrero te whakahaere me te whakapātaritari atu hoki i ngā kōrero nā te rāwaho e kīia nei, he mātanga, kua whakamōreatia tō rātou ‘tohungatanga’ me tā rātou mahi (ērā e kitea nuitia i ngā tuhinga me te ao mātauranga). Ki te tika tēnei, ka whai hua kē rātou ina noho whakaroau noa tātou.
Kei roto i te tuhinga a Wendt tētahi raupapa pātai e whakaaetia ana e Mallon hei pātai e hāngai tonu ana i tēnei wā. Ka whakawāngia ētahi pātai e rua e Mallon, arā, “Āe rānei, e ora ana tēnei mea te ahurea tuku iho?”, ā, “He aha te ahurea tūturu?” He mahi ā-hinengaro te wānanga i ēnei pātai, he mea kua whakatinanahia hoki, nā te mea, kua whai wāhi ki te ao hei whakaaturanga e rua, ā, nā Mallon me ētahi atu i tiaki. Ko te mea e tino kitea ana e au i ēnei wheako ā-kaitiaki, ko te hirahira o ēnei kōrero hei kōrero whakawātea i te tuku iho, me kī, i ngā tikanga tuku iho. Ko tētahi tauira, ko te aro atu ki te hoahoa mō te whakaaturanga Mana Pasifika: Celebrating Pacific Cultures [Mana Pasifika: He Mea Whakanui i ngā Ahurea o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa] i te tau 1998 me te whakamahi i ngā tae ‘kanapa’ o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. Ka kōrerotia ake e Mallon tēnei whai noa i te aro whānui i a ia e maumahara ana ki te korenga o ērā tae kanapa i whai wāhi atu ki tētahi whakaaturanga o muri me te matekiri o te ngākau o tētahi hoa mahi i te korenga o rātou e whakamahi i ērā momo tae. I konei raru ai tātou, ngā uri o ngā ahurea kanorau, kōrero rau hoki: ko te aro whānui me te whakaaro hōrapa hei ara poto koretake e aukati ana i te tangata kia hōhonu ake i te karetai noa tana tūhono mai ki ō tātou ahurea. Nā konei au e mihi atu ki a Sean kōrua ko Albert, mō kōrua i āwhina i a tātou ki te ruku ki tua atu i te mea tuku iho, kia arohaehae tātou, kia whakaaro hōhonu hoki tātou.
Te Whare Wānanga o Wikitōria ki Te Whanganui a-Tara
Kia ora rā!
Nei rā te tuku i aku mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa. At this time of reflection, celebration and preparation as we welcome Matariki and the new year, I acknowledge and pay homage to those who have come before us and their koha and contributions to this ao, including you, their descendants. I acknowledge you, the whānau of this kaupapa, the editors, organisers, writers, reviewers and the readers and receivers and kaitiaki of these kupu and kaupapa. It’s been a privilege and a challenge to offer a translation for Matariki’s crafted reflection piece as part of this kaupapa and it’s humbling to be a part of its development and growth.
For the presented translation, the titles of articles as well as certain concepts in other languages have been kept in original form with a translation offered in [brackets] to maintain the integrity and original reference points. The very important word ‘tradition’ that features in the title of this piece has been translated as ’tuku iho' in this context meaning ‘passed down’, as tradition encapsulates so many things. Noting ‘tuku iho’ can be added to nouns to be more specific about what has been passed down, e.g. Tikanga, kōrero , kupu, taonga etc. to speak of particular things that have been passed down through the generations. In contrast ‘tupu atu’ was considered to express ‘dynamism’ in the sense of growing and changing in different directions. However, ‘hihiri' was selected to reflect ‘dynamism’ as it seemed appropriate for this kōrero, although recognising that this in other contexts it reflects a particular practice or methodology and the word has various meanings (Another beautiful wānanga ahead).
Mauri ora ki a tātou! Mānawatia a Matariki.
Nāku noa, nā Te Huia Cowell.
Against tradition | For dynamism
The 2010 journal article titled “Against Tradition”, was assigned as a reading while I was undertaking my Postgraduate studies in Museum and Heritage at Victoria University of Wellington, and was my introduction to the curator Sean Mallon (Sāmoan, Irish) and his critically engaged thinking. As a text, it has remained a formative part of my thinking and Sean has since become my friend and colleague. At the time I was enrolled, I was the only Māori student in my year and there were no students of Pacific heritage. Debating—or more correctly, having a space to wānanga or talanoa—the perspectives of Māori and wider Pacific peoples in museums was not incorporated into the course. So when this article came along, it provided not just the perspective I sought but also one that pushed that perspective beyond the narrative of reclamation or revitalisation.
Generational shifts are referenced throughout Sean’s article, namely how younger generations provoke a new set of thinking and expectations that could be at odds with what has been experienced before. Much of this article takes its lead from a 1976 text written by Sāmoan scholar and writer Maualaivao Albert Wendt titled “Towards a New Oceania”. Wendt relays that some elders took umbrage to his public disavowals of the word ‘tradition’, and that their sentiment was shared by non-Pacific people who had cultivated careers as outsider-experts. The issues Wendt has with the word 'tradition' are unpacked, but I connected most with his view that tradition can be seen as synonymous with a culture being perceived as static, undynamic, and unable to adapt. Wendt’s experiences allude to something I’ve often pondered about the use of the word 'tradition'; was the reaction to his disavowal because it challenges what others benefit from? If we/us of the studied cultures are controlling the narratives and challenging outsider claims to expertise (which often dominate publications and academia), it could jeopardise the claim those people have to ‘expertise’. If this is the case, then they would benefit from us remaining static.
Within Wendt’s text is a series of questions that Mallon concedes remain relevant. Two of these questions, “Is there such a creature as traditional culture?” and “What is authentic culture?” are interrogated by Mallon. This interrogation is both an intellectual exercise and one realised in a concrete sense as the conversations that inform two exhibitions that Mallon has co-curated. What is evident to me through these curatorial experiences is how important these dialogues are to dispel inherited practices or, dare I say, traditions. An example is the design approach for the 1998 exhibition Mana Pasifika: Celebrating Pacific Cultures and its use of ‘vibrant’ Pacific colours. This default to the stereotypical is reflected upon by Mallon as he recalls the absence of those bright colours in a subsequent exhibition and the disappointed response from a colleague as to why they hadn’t used them. This is where ‘tradition’ fails us as members of diverse and storied cultures: the stereotype is an unhelpful shortcut that inhibits people from engaging with our cultures beyond the surface level. For this, I thank Sean and Albert for helping us push beyond the inherited towards thinking more critically.
Sean Mallon, "Against Tradition", The Contemporary Pacific, University of Hawai'i Press, Volume 22, Number 2, Fall 2010, pp.362-381. 10.1353/cp.2010.0024.
Against Tradition is reproduced with permission of University of Hawai'i Press and author Sean Mallon.
Against Tradition | For dynamism © 2022 Matariki Williams. Text, translation and image may not be used without permission of UQ Art Museum or the authors or translators. Image courtesy Matariki Williams.
We would like to graciously thank Jamie Te Huia Cowell for the generous and thorough translation.
Matariki Williams (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Hauiti, Taranaki, Ngāti Whakaue) is Pou Matua Mātauranga Māori | Senior Historian, Mātauranga Māori at Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture and Heritage, previously Curator Mātauranga Māori at Te Papa Tongarewa. Matariki is the co-author of Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance (Te Papa Press, 2019), and co-editor of ATE Journal of Māori Art. She is a Trustee of Contemporary HUM.