Connecting our Rainbow tauira

Connecting our Rainbow tauira

Gender and sexual diversity within Te Ao Māori fosters inclusion and a sense of belonging.
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Uku (clay) sculptures created by Kim Ireland and on display during the Nelson Arts Festival.

Kim Ireland, Kaimanaaki Māori Support Advisor at Te Pūkenga NMIT, explores gender fluidity in precolonial Māori culture in support of her transgender son, Ray.

When her son came out as transgender, she used her research to investigate the unknown space for herself and whānau. She was never sure what direction her study would take, but always knew issues of identity would form a part of it.

Drawing on the inspiration and guidance provided by Elizabeth Kerekere and academic Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Ireland was able to support her son and others who identify as gender diverse or transgender at Te Pūkenga NMIT.

“Our ancient stories, prior to Christianity, show Māori were very accepting of different genders and sexualities,” Kim says.

As part of her research, uku (clay) sculptures were exhibited at the Nelson Arts Festival.

“Uku represents Papatūānuku are made into hue (gourd) forms which are a familiar object in indigenous cultures,” said Kim. “The work reflected the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity.”

Te Pūkenga NMIT has made a start with Inside/Out workshops, designed to build inclusivity for our Rainbow ākonga and staff.

For more information and resources, head to link).

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