A note on Language
The language used in this work is complex, rapidly changing and often controversial. This section gives a brief overview of what we understand some of the terms used on this website to mean.
Decolonisation - We use this word to describe the analysis and deconstruction of oppressive systems and ways of thinking which were imported to Aotearoa by European colonisers. It is a complicated term - some argue that it still centres colonisation, others that it shouldn't be used by Pākehā as we were never colonised, and others still that Pākehā should aim to 'decolonise' while Māori 'reindigenise'. We are aware of the problematic nature of this term, but we haven't found a different word that suits this kaupapa better. However we are very open to suggestions! Please get in touch through our contact page if you have any ideas or concerns.
Anti racism - This term is used for any action that is in opposition to racism. The following quotes give an idea of what they mean to us:
“In a racist society, it is not enough to non-racist. You must be anti racist.” - Angela Davis
"The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself.” - Ijeoma Oluo
Pākehā - Used to refer to anybody of European descent. Defined by Māori Dictionary as a New Zealander of European descent - probably originally applied to English-speaking Europeans living in Aotearoa/New Zealand. "There is nowhere else in the world where one can be Pākehā. Whether the term remains forever linked to the shameful role of oppressor or whether it can become a positive source of identity and pride is up to Pākehā themselves. All that is required is a leap of faith." - Ani Mikaere
Privilege - Any unearned advantages that society and systems give to one group over another, especially when the oppressed group is simultaneously disadvantaged. An good example of Pākehā privilege is inherited monetary wealth from colonised land, while this same thing removed the financial base (land) of tangata whenua which led to increased poverty. For more examples, read Peggy Macintoshes Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.
Constitutions - Technically, none of the documents in the constitutions section are actually constitutions - it includes two declarations, a treaty and a report. However, we couldn't find a better term that encompasses all of these things. Suggestions are welcomed! In the future we also hope to add historical and current pieces of legislation that are relevant, such as the Tohunga Suppresion Act, the Foreshore and Seabed Act and some information on the Waitangi Tribunal.
People of colour - POC or BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Colour) are terms used to refer to anybody who isn't Pākehā/of European descent.