zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
One of our straight white male MPs is going to go on the talkshow Ellen. He did give a great speech, but, um, what about the LGBT MPs and ex-MPs who also gave great speeches? And who did most of the work on the bill? Like, say, the Māori lesbian MP who submitted the bill in the first place?

So here are some speeches from the night by MPs who aren't straight white guys.

Firstly, the kōrero in which Te Ururoa Flavell (straight Māori guy) talks about about Tutanekei's hoa takatāpui Tiki, and gives more context to the history of Pākehā redefining marriage to exclude Māori customary marriage.

(Procedural notes: a lot of MPs on the evening chose to share their speaking time with someone else, and Te Ururoa was the recipient of one such five minute slot from John Banks which is why he's acknowledging "Hone Banks". He gets cut short at the end for going over his time limit which is a tremendous shame given how informative his kōrero was, but the rule seemed fairly equally enforced against Pākehā MPs doing the same. And applause is normally I gather not allowed but that rule went out the window completely for the whole evening.)



More awesome kōrero on the evening included:

Louisa Wall (Māori lesbian; submitted the bill; first name pronounced lou-issa)


Kevin Hague (gay white guy)


Tau Henare (straight Māori guy; responding to straight Māori guy Winston Peters' vile speech which I won't link to because Winston is *that* MP, you know the one, who just always.)


Mojo Mathers ((Deaf) straight white woman; bringing tears to my eyes every time I watch it)
zeborah: Zebra looking at its rainbow reflection (rainbow)
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.]
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
Huia Publishers are having a warehouse-clearing sale at the moment. Including a pile of NZ$1 books. (For comparison, the library's weeding sale of last weekend charges $3 for most books.) Postage is additional, but when I bought 7 books the domestic postage got calculated at $8.50.

So I got:
  • a YA fantasy by a Māori author I've been meaning to get hold of;
  • two scifi books by a Samoan/Celtic/Anglosaxon New Zealander someone recommended when I was hunting for Māori sf;
  • a kid's/YA fantasy by a Fijian/Tongan New Zealander that I hadn't heard of;
  • two books on indigenous sexuality/erotica;
  • one book as a gift.
From the library's weeding sale last week I also got four books, including the other YA fantasy by a Māori author I'd been meaning to get hold of.

I've been working on a bibliography. It's... quite small at the moment. I know of one other short story but can't find the title; an email to the publisher got no response so I'll have to track down the editor or the author or maybe by the time I fail at all those the library will have the anthology. I need to work my way through a pile of other anthologies and ultimately literary journals, though that will be dull and increasingly needle-in-a-haystack work.

I've been thinking of working it up to a proper paper for a proper journal. If I called it "Māori and Pacific Islanders in Speculative Fiction" then I could have a section on sf by Pākehā (maybe mention the ambiguous Lord and Lady Taiepa of Vogel's AD2000 and the "Uh uh, I'm totally not talking about New Zealand so this is totally not a Māori" native guide of Erewhon) and some of the Issues with Pākehā dominating sf about Māori etc(1), and moreover I could include Chris Baker and Tulia Thompson.

(1) It seems to me that there are also Issues with a Pākehā writing a bibliography of Māori sf. (For one, a bibliographer has to somehow draw a line between fantasy, magical realism, and non-fantasy with elements of spirituality.) But it also seems to me that it could be a useful thing to exist. So... as always, research and thought required.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (NZ)
I'm planning to read all the science fiction ever published by Māori authors. So far I've read half of it(*)! Herein follows a review of quarter of it.

Peter Tashkoff is Ngāti Porou; his novel Arapeta (on Amazon - and it's print-on-demand so it's *always* going to be 'only one left' - or for the Kindle) takes us a couple thousand years into the future, when humanity is scattered among the stars and Earth is half myth. Arapeta is the second son of the chief of the backwater planet Aotea, where the people live according to traditional ways of farming, fishing, fighting, and living. Only problem is that his family has a secret vein of pounamu (NZ-English: greenstone; overseas-English: jade) which is this universe's dilithium crystals, needed to power pretty much everything - and the secret leaks out to the broader universe. Colonialism ensues.

I found the book hard to get into to start with because of the prose. Particularly noticeable was the way every time a Māori word or phrase was introduced, it was immediately followed by the English translation, without regard to how clunky this ended up being. I'm more used to "incluing" techniques where you carefully place the unfamiliar word in a context that lets the reader figure it out for themself. I can see though why the author used this technique: there's a lot of vocabulary to introduce, and us Pākehā aren't famous for working hard at learning the Māori language....

But after I picked the book up again, I really got into it. It's set mostly in a completely Māori-centric world, plus space travel, nanites for medical care and body modification, genetic engineered soldiers, forcefields, hovercraft, and planet-destroying bombs. Through the main characters we get to care about this world, and through other characters we get a sense of the wider universe.

Spoilery discussion of something cool about the structure/unfolding of the plot; and then more spoilery discussion which I sum up as: Not very feminist, absolutely heteronormative. )

A couple random sentences I liked:
  • When you looked past the surprise attack and porridgey accent, this guy was quite a hoot.
  • Seven and a half minutes away, if you were a sunbeam, and happened to be lost at an awkward tangent off the horizontal plane of the planetary system [...]
Summary: The prose wasn't great and the book could have done with a copy-edit. The plot was mostly battles, preparation for battles, diplomacy to delay battles, and retreat from battles, with some romance as light relief and ultimate reward. But I really appreciated the way the plot unfolded, adding complications to the situation; it was a fun read, which I think just got better as it went along.


(*) Sample includes novels only, and only those turned up by the combined research of me and another librarian. The other titles are:
  • Skydancer by Witi Ihimaera (read; I'll try to read it again and review it as time allows)
  • Inna Furey by Isabel Waiti-Mulholland
  • Ripples on the Lake by Dawn Rotarangi
If anyone knows of more, I'd be over the moon!

The nice librarian also pointed me to:
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Yesterday the library I work in had a ceremony to welcome back and bless a carving of Ruaumoko, the Māori god of earthquakes and volcanoes. He was stolen last year while visiting an earthquake conference overseas; though in monetary terms the carving isn't worth much, we felt the loss a great deal. He was never recovered but a replica was commissioned, and yesterday -- the bits of the blessing I understood asked his spirit to come back and to remain. And it is *so good* to see him back in the library.

Sweden has a town called Båstad. Unfortuantely even if I could manage to get my king there, in the 16th century it was spelled Botstœdœ or Botsted or something.

Some nice person has replaced the 19th century "fantasy portraits" of Sten Sture Jr. and Kristina Gyllenstierne's Wikipedia entries with actual contemporary images of them from some altar. Of course in the 16th century *every* knight was depicted on altars and gravestones as being perpetually in armour, and a quick skim of my images folder confirms that plump faces for ladies and gentlemen alike were also fashionable. But that plain brown barrett is way better than the gravestone image I have for Mogens Gøye with his visor entirely covering his face.

Via [livejournal.com profile] shweta_narayan, a fun video of Revathy Sankaran singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in a whole bunch of different musical styles from India.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
A friend called me up today to ask if I wanted to go to Mozart with her and her folks and boyfriend, which I did. So at the appropriate hour, I took my laptop, caught the bus, sorted through notes for editing a Wikipedia page I'm working on, and arrived in town.

fastfood; random Maori legend; musings on personal decisions about personal safety; and Mozart )

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