Moehewa: Death, lifestyle and sexuality in the Maori world
Nikora, L.W. & Te Awekotuku, N. (2013). Moehewa: Death, lifestyle and sexuality in the Maori world. Paper presented at the10th Global Conference, Making Sense of: Dying and Death. Athens, Greece; 7-9 November 2013.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8312
Customary death ritual and traditional practice have continued for the Maori (indigenous) people of Aotearoa/New Zealand, despite intensive missionary incursion and the colonial process. This paper critically considers what occurs when the deceased is different, in a most significant way. What happens when you die – and you are Maori and any one, or a combination, of the following: a queen, takatapui, butch, like that, gay, she-male, lesbian, transsexual, a dyke, intersex, tomboy, kamp, drag, homosexual, or just queer? Who remembers you and how? Same sex relationships today are still discouraged or denied, although traditional chant and Maori visual narratives record such liaisons and erotic experience as joyously normal. And yet some people choose to remain in the closet. With three case studies, we reflect on mourning rituals or tangi – Maori death rites, in a same sex relationship, or for a gay, lesbian or transsexual family member. We use the Maori term takatapui to refer to these partnerships.
Copyright 2013 The Authors.