Should the rainbow community become an iwi of its own? That was a possibility discussed at the Hui Takatāpui in the weekend.
The biennial hui started in the 1980s to deliver more education on HIV after high rates were seen in the community but had to go into abeyance during the pandemic lockdowns.
This year Hui Takatāpui 2022 explored health, social, well-being, education, and leadership in relation to mātauranga Māori by sharing the lived experiences of takatāpui to inform the wider communities that they live in.
The LGBTQ+ community had been waiting for this event for four years and tackled some big issues, co-chair and director Tu Chapman said.
“Kia whakarongo mai te katoa, he tangata ke tatau, ehara ko te ahuatanga e hiahia nei te tangata te tuku mai kia matau, he tangata, he tangata koira ke te korero I whakatakoto mo te kaupapa mo tenei hui " He aha te mea nui o tea o, he tangata, he tangata".
“I want people to hear: We are just people, we don’t want to be labelled what everyone else thinks we should be. We are just people, that is what this hui is about. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people.”
The hui discussed identity as an issue and that was when the call for the rainbow community to form its own tribe was made.
An iwi of their own
“When we come together, we come as that roopu, this roopu. He aha te tikanaga o tērā - we are iwi into our own," Aunty Rā Hetet told the hui.
"We could get our iwi into Parliament, we could do all those things. That doesn't mean we let go of our birth iwi, you know where we whakapapa from but this is an iwi and I can't say it enough, the dynamic roopu iwi that it would be, if we could just put aside our differences and pull together, wow Aotearoa would be leading the way."
Aunty Rā has been a part of Hui Takatāpui since the 1980s and is a "true believer" that the LGBTQ+ community should have its own tribe though also never forget birth tribes. But the hui also found its members are Māori before anything else.
A rangatahi, Tangaroa Paul, said "Ko te aronga matua o tō tatau Ao māori ko te tiaki, manaaki I te tangata me te mea hoki e kore e taea te whakaparahako te whakahē I te tangata māori na runga āno I tō rātou whakapapa māori. So, hopefully, education around reinstating or reclaiming our space among our people but also bringing them along for the journey. We are a cool ride but also wanting to hopefully uplift and bring our people out of surviving into thriving."
The next hui will be in 2024 in Te Whānganui a Tara.