Settlers of colour: Arama Rata, Faisal Al Asaad, ‘Whakawhanaungatanga as a Māori Approach to Indigenous–Settler of Colour Relationship Building’, New Zealand Population Review, 45, 2019, pp. 211–233


Abstract: Communities of colour are racialised and oppressed differentially by settler colonial states , yet the discourse of diversity and inclusion that dominates state interactions with communities of colour tends to conflate marginalised groups as equivalent and interchangeable to the detriment of intergroup relations. An approach to community building that recognises racial difference in general and the irreducibility of indigeneity in particular is needed if racialised communities are to create solidarities for transformative change. We engage Indigenous and settler colonial theories to address these imperatives, while noting the distinct character of these frameworks. In particular, we seek to highlight the specificity of indigeneity in settler colonial contexts, such as Aotearoa New Zealand, and to generate a model for relationship building that is not founded on settler colonial ideologies, by drawing on Indigenous concepts. Through thematic analysis of interviews with Māori community leaders, we explore Māori-–tauiwi (settler) of colour (ToC) relations. The results of our qualitative analysis provide evidence for Māori–ToC relations that are consistent with whanaungatanga (good relationships characterised as family-like, based on similar experiences, and bound in conditional solidarity). Furthermore, we identify the following four aspects of whakawhanaungatanga (relationship building): positioning, power sharing, dialogue and cultural practice. Thus, we suggest whakawhanaungatanga as a Māori approach to relationship building with the potential to generate Indigenous–settler of colour solidarities towards transformative change.

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