February 18, 2019
King makes case for kindness
Mental health campaigner and Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Mike King has a message for Māori – take more care of your own.
The former comedian was honoured for his work tackling mental health and suicide, especially among young people.
He says his taha Māori is important to him when he walks in the Pākehā world, but it’s in the Māori world that he feels measured up, especially when it comes to te reo Māori.
"Often I am made to feel embarrassed, I am made to feel like I'm not Māori, I have our language thrown in our face constantly, because I don't speak our language fluently that I'm somehow less than everyone else, so the hypocrisy drives me crazy. In some people's eyes the measure of being Māori is how much language you speak. I know my whakapapa. I know where I come from. I proudly advocate for my people. Why do you make me feel stink?" Mr King says.
Too often he sees young Māori humiliated on marae as they struggle with the language, instead of being embraced and encouraged.
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