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Kia ora and welcome to Tapatoru

Tapatoru is a word from our Maori language in Aotearoa (New Zealand) that means 'Triangle'.The triangle has many different meanings for many communities and cultures. For us here in New Zealand, the triangle is a prominent symbol within our Maori culture. The triangle is also a shape that can be interpreted at many different levels and has many positive and strong aspects that we can relate to, that has inspired and motivated us to set ourselves up under the name Tapatoru.

Tapatoru is based in Wellington, which is the capital city of New Zealand. Historically, this vibrant and close-knit city has become home to many of our Maori trans people and today we celebrate a community who feel somewhat established and embraced by its city.

The trans community is filled with diversity at every degree and we have trans support groups locally and nationally who cater for some trans people throughout this diverse continuum. Tapatoru is aware that not everyone is comfortably supported which has prompted the launch of this group who affiliate and embrace their Maori trans whanau who are trans and living in Wellington.

On saying that, we understand that our Maori trans whanau have a different way of addressing that one component of their lives in comparison to other cultures. That is why Tapatoru will exist among the Maori trans community purely and not necessarily be seen specifically as a support group.

While our Maori trans whanau may face similar issues to our wider trans community - we are indeed a proud and active people who live within, along and beside our own whanau, hapu and iwi, as well as the wider continuum of the diverse communities within Wellington's L(esbian), G(ay), B(isexual), T(ransgender/transsexual), and I(ntersex) peoples.

Tapatoru is merely a vehicle of which to bring together our Maori trans whanau more frequently than what is currently happening and to circulate any information or communication that will benefit us. How this happens will depend on the interest and support as well as exercising those familiar values around family (whanaungatanga), support (manaakitanga), and unity (kotahitanga). So just as much as we will be working hard to provide opportunities for our Maori trans whanau, we also need our Maori trans whanau to respond and get involved too. It is definitely a two-way street. While time and money is precious, and to have us commit ourselves to our Maori trans whanau.....we therefore pledge that our Maori trans whanau respectively come forward and show the world just how we 'lead by example'.

Throughout this website we will now refer to our Maori trans people as 'whanau'. We will also exercise the concept of whangai in relation to trans people who are not Maori; who live in Wellington and who affiliate to Tapatoru's vision. This also includes people who support the work (mahi) for trans people via their community, agencies or individual studies towards education and research.

The challenge (wero) has been laid down.

Tapatoru would like to be a point of contact and dispersal of information for our whanau. We would also like to share and build our networks with friends, family and colleagues of whanau in the Wellington area as well as community groups and agencies who support and affiliate to the work of Tapatoru.  

WHO ARE WE? My name is Karen and I was whangai’d to a Maori whanau in Otaki (Ngati Raukawa) at the age of 15 and my partner Peri is of Te Arawa, Tapuika descent. Together we span 60 years within the wider LGBTI community here in Wellington.

Over the years we have lost a lot of our whanau through ill health, unfortunate and avoidable circumstances. We wondered just how confident we are about our future as we age, or if one of us dies, who will look after the other. And we wanted something like Tapatoru to start a long process of bringing our whanau together to (a) strengthen our ties; (b) prepare us for those times when we lose whanau; (c) ensure we are informed with what is happening in our wider trans world as well as our country; (d) plan for our future as we age.

I guess two main areas that Tapatoru can certainly work on improving, is our concept of: the present and the future of Maori trans in Wellington.

The short term vision of Tapatoru is to encourage more opportunities to gather as a whanau and to celebrate unity, connectedness and work together to build our support networks within our community here in Wellington. Our focus is to enhance our present situation with supporting our trans whanau in ways that will encourage fun, action and build stronger relationships.   

The long term dream (moemoea) of Tapatoru is to provide a place for our aging community. Whatever shape, form, size that will be - will only happen if we make a start now and develop it together as a whanau. While some of us may not enjoy the fruits of our work, we know that as a people, we have made a start to contribute to our generations to come.


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