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Moehewa: Death, lifestyle & sexuality in the Maori World

Customary death ritual and traditional practice have continued for the Māori (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 Māori and any one, or a combination, of the following: a queen, takatāpui,[1] 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 Māori visual narratives record such liaisons and erotic experience as joyously normal (Te Awekotuku, 2005). And yet some people choose to remain in the closet. In this paper, we present three case studies, and invite the reader to reflect with us on mourning rituals or tangi – Māori death rites, in a same sex relationship, or for a gay, lesbian or transsexual family member. In this way, we open up a space for dialogue about such matters in our intimate and kin communities.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Tangihanga Research Programme
Nikora, L. W., & Te Awekotuku, N. (2016). Moehewa: Death, lifestyle & sexuality in the Maori World. Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing, 1(2), 2–8.
Te Rau Matatini
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License. © 2016 Copyright with the authors.