Auckland, New Zealand/Aotearoa
When I applied for Citizenship of New Zealand, the information pack gave the National Anthem in both English and Maori: the third line of which, is “Hear our voices we entreat” or “ Aka whakarongo na”.
As an immigrant of eight years, I cannot help but be aware of the racial tension. I am ever mindful of racism having been raised in Liverpool - a city built and made rich on the back of the slave trade and close to both Wales and Ireland where my English forefathers attempted to wipe out the indigenous language - which also occurred in New Zealand.
The joining together of the Maori flag with the New Zealand flag (with its Union Jack and links to Mother England) and the addition of other nations’ flags, is meant to symbolise the potential synthesis of overlapping cultures within Aotearoa, if we are prepared to be open-minded, tolerant and welcoming of diversity.
We would all be blessed to heed the words of the Anthem of Aotearoa and to embrace the voices of all racial and ethnic groups that enrich this multiracial country that we are fortunate to inhabit.