Ko Aoraki te Mauka: performing my hybrid identity

Christine Rogers

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Adopted at birth and brought up Pākehā, I discovered at the age of 30 that I am also Ngāi Tahu (Māori). I am hybrid. Hybridity is much discussed in Aotearoa/New Zealand; some envisage it as a productive space which can liberate the subject from not belonging, others argue that the hybrid can negotiate between races. Still others feel an exhausting pull from one side to the other. As Ngāi Tahu, our iwi identity is already caught up with complicated issues of hybridity due to historical high rates of intermarriage with Pākehā. Using creative practice research and autoethnography I explored and expressed my new hybrid identity by filming myself speaking my pepeha, a traditional Māori introduction. As a filmmaker, I am accustomed to being behind the lens, in control, and to stand in front of it and speak Te Reo Māori was humbling and difficult. In this chapter I discuss how I worked with Māori knowledges in order to perform myself as an in-betweener and created a work that speaks to the ongoing losses of adoption and the complicated and rich space of hybridity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalMedia Practice and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


  • Adoption
  • Te Reo Māori
  • creative practice research
  • Ngāi Tahu
  • Pākehā
  • hybrid


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