Skip to main content

News & Events

Pitopito kōrero

Intersectional Deaf Communities

24 Sept 2021

In Aotearoa New Zealand our Indigenous Deaf Community experience double discrimination and disadvantage as they navigate the experiences of developing a secure identity as both Deaf and Māori. Within these intersectional communities, many of our Tāngata Turi (Māori Deaf community) are left feeling that they are ‘on the fringes’ of both communities – minoritised within Deaf communities because they are Māori, and within Māori communities because they are Deaf. This discrimination adds to the historical trauma of experiencing the oppression of both NZSL and Te Reo Māori and all of the cultural oppression that is associated within both Deafhood and Te Ao Māori (Māori culture).

The need to rectify this disadvantage is one of the major focal points of Māori Strategic Lead, Dr. Kathie Rifle (PhD – Te Atiawa & Ngāti Porou) here at Ko Taku Reo Deaf Education NZ. It is essential that our Turi Māori (Māori Deaf) are included and enjoy a sense of belonging within their iwi (tribes), hapū (sub-tribes), and on their marae (ancestral meeting houses). It must be a priority when working with ākonga Turi Māori (Māori Deaf students) to build and strengthen cultural identity both as Deaf and as Māori. They ought not to be separated – “I am Turi (Deaf) and I am Māori” or “I am Māori and I am Turi” is an inherent right of identity development. Our Turi Māori have the right to choose how securely they walk in both of these worlds and should never have to compromise one in order to meet the other.

Pōwhiri at Ruaumoko Marae – Aotearoa’s only Deaf Marae

Pōwhiri at Ruaumoko Marae – Aotearoa’s only Deaf Marae