What is “Pūhā & Pākehā”?

I always thought blogs were pretentious. The “blogesphere” is like hundreds of mosquito bites that I can’t ignore. I want to lean into what disturbs me: I can’t know about it until I actually experiment with it.

Basically I have lots and lots of ideas. I want to practice writing about these ideas. Ideas come from within me, and through experiencing the world. A lot of the stuff covered here is NZ based, but the ideas and experiences may relate to people internationally.

“Pūhā & Pākehā” is about the following mundane, but hopefully enticing, list of things:

Why “Pūhā & Pākehā”?: It’s the name of a song, written and performed by Rod Derrett, which was released in 1965 as a 7″ record.

Performer Rod Derrett's classic 7" 1965 track
Performer Rod Derrett’s classic 7″ 1965 track

I like this name because it’s subversive. It makes fun of the colonial relationship between the indigenous Māori peoples’ (the first nations of this land) and my Pākehā peoples’ (1st-7th generation Europeans who settled in Aotearoa, and now call it home-I call us Honkeys). Generally, Māori find the song funny. Pākehā can find it puzzling and offensive. I like to trouble my own people, and get us thinking in peaceful but critical ways about how we relate to ourselves, this place, and Māori peoples. I’m a non-stupid optimist.

Culture: In the 1980s I grew up in a strong Māori community and became familiar and comfortable with the language and ways of being. As I got older I realised my up-bringing wasn’t ‘normal’ALEX & RIRIA_682. I became interested in the role of culture in mine and others lives. I want to explore how culture shapes people and their ideas about the world, and self.

Arts & Ideas: I know lots of creative people who have lots to offer the world. I want to share their ideas about their craft, and the difference it makes. I also like articles/podcasts about the arts and ideas, so you’ll see these pop up too.

ALEX & RIRIA_881Transformation: So many terms become empty and meaningless vessels once they get used too much (i.e. “sustainability”). “Transformation” is one of those words. I want to refill the transformation vessel and let you know what I think I it means: a human process that positively changes a person or groups understanding of themselves and the world, and promotes peaceful action. I want this blog to hint at the shades of transformation that go on all around us-politically, spiritually, culturally, environmentally and economically. Basically I’m a peacenik.

IMG_0474*A note on language, representations and ethics*: Language is powerful. It creates meaning. I want to play with language and ideas here. I want this blog to be an enabling and troubling place. Ka tuhi ētahi o ngā kōrero ki te reo Māori, engari ko taku reo matua ko te reo o ōku tūpuna, te reo Pākehā. I, and invited contributors, will write in Māori or English. English will be the dominant medium, because I feel most confident in expressing my ideas through this language. I will not provide translations.

I will do my best to accurately represent the ideas that people share with me. My approach to ethics is about working with people to create a mutual understanding of what’s being explored, and then representing these as best as I can with their agreement. Sometimes I will write formally, other times less so. I don’t want to be too restricted in how I express myself or ideas, but I will be careful about how I represent those who generously share their ideas, experiences, and time with me.


2 thoughts on “What is “Pūhā & Pākehā”?

  1. Ethics, art, transformation, peacenik…….you KNOW you’re-a speakin’ mah language!

    Respect for bringing your unique perspective to the blogosphere. The scales just tipped a little bit the right way again ;o)


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