zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
[personal profile] zeborah
New Zealand just passed the third and final reading of our marriage equality bill 77-44.

(I was listening by radio after, having failing to get reception for Parliament TV and failing to get sufficient bandwidth for the internet livestream, I put out a plaintive tweet asking about livestreaming audio and someone pointed me to 882AM. Oh yeah, that dusty old machine.)

After the Speaker's announcement of the result and before the tumultuous applause, a waiata was sung and harmonised upon.

This is itself probably needs explaining. Waiata are traditionally sung (among other occasions) in support of a speech. As a non-Māori New Zealander I've most often witnessed/participated when this has happened during a traditional welcoming ceremony or opening ceremony; but also after some keynotes at New Zealand library conferences; or in support of family/friends at graduation. So for this to happen was very appropriate.

But the particular waiata chosen is what really needs translation. It was Pokarekare Ana which is a song extremely widely known in New Zealand, you may well even have heard it overseas, so it might just seem a bit twee if you don't know anything about it. And it's about a famous heterosexual love story, so if you know a little bit about it you might think that in this context, um, what?

But the reason this song was perfect for the occasion was because earlier in the evening, speaking in support of the bill, Te Ururoa Flavell referred to another part of this story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai - to the part where after Tutanekai married Hinemoa, his hoa takatāpui Tiki grieved for losing him. Te Ururoa pointed out that people complaining about this bill seeking to "redefine marriage" need to be aware that, in New Zealand, marriage was redefined way back in the 19th century by colonialism.

A lot of people, throughout the evening, pointed out that there's still a lot of work to do for justice and equality. But this was a great step, in so many ways.

[For reference, words I had to redact from this post given I'm attempting to translate here: Pākehā; kōrero; pōwhiri; marae; tautoko; Aotearoa; ahakoa he iti he pounamu.]
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