Queer history month arrives in Aotearoa – Te Ao Māori News

Queer history month arrives in Aotearoa – Te Ao Māori News

As Aotearoa celebrates its first queer history month, the month’s theme is a reminder of the importance of visibility.

Based on a whakataukī or Māori proverb, the theme “He kitenga kanohi, he hokinga mahara. “He kawenga mahara, he hāpori kitea” translates to “A familiar face stirs one’s memories, a collection of memories is a community seen”.

It emphasises how important collections are to ensure the visibility of different communities, says Professor Elizabeth Kerekere, chair of Kawe Mahara Queer Archives Aotearoa.

Kawe Mahara is the life force behind Queer History Month Aotearoa ‒ Pūmahara Ia Te Wā.

Professor Elizabeth Kerekere, chair of Kawe Mahara Queer Archives Aotearoa, said this year’s theme emphasises how important collections are to ensure the visibility of different communities. SUPPLIED / Facebook

On Tuesday, July 9, Kawe Mahara will host an all-day hui taumata celebrating and discussing queer history at the National Library Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa in Wellington to mark the opening of the month-long festivities.

“Learning about our queer tīpuna and our taonga affirms queer lives and is a vital part of the whakapapa of takatāpui and tāgata Moana in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa,” Kerekere said.

“To be able to showcase our communities and these memories in our National Library is a rare privilege around the world.”

The event’s date was chosen to mark the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act on July 9, 1986, which decriminalised sexual relations between men.

“Queer” is an umbrella term for people who identify with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and innate variations of sex characteristics, Kerekere said.

A diverse lineup has been organised for the inaugural event.

The day starts with a welcome from the Library and Kawe Mahara, poetry from Poet Laureate Chris Tse and joining online from the US will be the founder of Queer History Month, Rodney C Wilson.

The rest of the programme is split into the guiding values ​​of Kawe Mahara: Toitū Te Tiriti (uphold Te Tiriti), Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and Whanaungatanga (relationships and connection).

In expressing Toitū Te Tiriti, Tīwhanawhana Trust will be featured which was established in 2001 for takatāpui to “tell our stories, build our communities and leave a legacy”, Kerekere said.

Takatāpui is an umbrella term that embraces all Māori with diverse gender identities. This includes various sexualities and sex characteristics including whakawāhine, tangata ira tāne, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer.

Co-chairs Kerekere and Kevin Haunui will speak on the role of Tīwhanawhana in Wellington, Aotearoa and around the world. Renowned researcher Dr Clive Aspin will speak on takatāpui and HIV/AIDS histories.

Kawe Mahara Queer Archives Aotearoa co-chair Kevin Haunui will speak on the role of Tīwhanawhana in Wellington, Aotearoa and around the world. Photo: SUPPLIED / Linkedin

As part of kaitiakitanga, Kawe Mahara board members will share a piece of Aotearoa’s queer history inspired by a particular taonga from Kawe Mahara or their own private collections.

Board member Will Hansen will speak on queer activism in Aotearoa, and how data is being collected on what is happening now and in digital spaces.

The wānanga will also feature speakers from across Aotearoa’s rainbow communities to celebrate whanaungatanga.

Kawe Mahara has recently undergone a transformation, beginning with the name change from Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ).

Its trust deed, values ​​and collection strategy have been updated to be more overtly inclusive of all rainbow communities, especially trans, non-binary and intersex whānau, Kerekere said.

“Kawe means ‘to carry, convey, bear’ and mahara means ‘memory, recollection, knowledge’,” Kerekere said.

Although there have been various events over the years, this is the first time Kawe Mahara Queer Archives Aotearoa has taken the lead to run a history month in NZ. (File photo)

“Kawe Mahara stands for carrying the memories of all our takatāpui and queer communities in Aotearoa from the past, present and future, so that our communities can grow and thrive.

“Having survived an arson attack in the 1980s, and kept alive by volunteers through decades of discrimination, Kawe Mahara is a testament to the power of community archives.”

Queer History Month Aotearoa is a first for New Zealand and the world’s 20th, a Te Tari Taiwhenua ‒ Internal Affairs spokesperson said.

Although there have been various events over the years, this is the first time an organisation, Kawe Mahara, had taken the lead to run a history month in New Zealand, they said.

Inspired by Black History Month in the US, the world’s first LGBTQ+ History Month was held 30 years ago. Since its founding, 18 other months of history have emerged, including, most recently, in Italy, Cuba and Uganda.

The hui taumata runs from 9am to 4pm, Tuesday, July 9, at the National Library. Registrations for the event can be found through its website along with the live stream.

– Stuff