Rainbow pride flag (Wikimedia)

An open letter to Aotearoa from 50+ Takatāpui and LGBTIQ whānau

We need to talk.

Dear Aotearoa,

We write this letter to voice our profound concern at the hatred and abusive bullying that continues to be targeted at Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Over the past few months we have seen continued homophobic and transphobic attacks upon our communities. We should not have to, and will not, tolerate such abuse.

We ask those that live on these lands to stand with us against all oppression that is targeted at people who do not conform to outdated views of sexuality and gender identity. We ask that you do not tolerate hatred in any form and to speak up when you see and hear it.

We ask you to remember we are your mokopuna, grandchildren, tupuna, grandparents, whaea, papa, mothers, fathers, tuakana, teina, tuahine, tungane, sisters, brothers, cousins, whanaunga, friends, colleagues, neighbours.

We wish to speak now to Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people who, like us, live with the homophobic and transphobic comments that are made by people who want to do us harm. In signing this letter we are voicing our aroha for you all, for us all.

We stand visibly so that you all know that we are here. So that those rangatahi and young people who are looking to see people who will stand up for Takatāpui and LGBTIQ rights know that we are here.

We stand visibly so that those who may be struggling with issues of acceptance know that we are here. That we are Takatāpui and LGBTIQ. That you are not alone. That being Takatāpui and LGBTIQ is something that is beautiful, strong, political, cultural, social, fun, loving, caring, intelligent, sacred, honoured, and powerful.

We stand visibly so that you see that we are from all over the country, that we are from all cultures and ethnic groups, that we do all kinds of work and that we are everywhere.

We are visible so you see us and so that you know we are here and we will speak back to all that continue to perpetrate pain and trauma on Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people because of who we are and who we choose to live our lives with as lovers and partners.

Being visible at a time when there is an increase in homophobia and transphobia is an important stand to take by those that can take such a stand.

One of the key aims of such abusive bullying is to silence those who are victimised by the impact of the hatred. But we will not be silenced. Nor will we let such views go unanswered.

If we are to make this country safe for Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people and their whānau then we must say no to homophobia and transphobia, and we must do it now.

Ngā manaakitanga,

  1. Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Director, Te Kotahi Research Institute
  2. Dr Alison Green, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Ranginui, CEO Te Whaariki Takapou
  3. Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Whānau a Kai, Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki. Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Founder/Chair, Tiwhanawhana Trust
  4. Usufonoimanū Pesetā Betty Siō
  5. Annette Sykes, Ngati Pikiao Ngati Makino, Te Arawa, Activist Lawyer
  6. Julia Whaipooti, Ngāti Porou, Senior Advisor, Office of the Children’s Commissioner
  7. Dr Tawhanga Nopera, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
  8. Sharon Hawke, Ngāti Whatua
  9. Maree Sheehan, Ngāti Maniapoto-Waikato, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Musician/Composer
  10. Associate Professor Mera Penehira, Ngāti Raukawa, Rangitāne, Ngai Te Rangi, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
  11. Phylesha Brown-Acton, Director, F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa
  12. Te Ringahuia Hata, He uri nā Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui
  13. Renae Maihi, Filmmaker
  14. Gina Cole, Writer
  15. Laura O’Connell Rapira, Te Ātiawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Rarawa, Director of ActionStation
  16. Joel Walsham, Artist
  17. Frankie Hill — Musician and small business owner
  18. Kristin Smith, Co-director Kūwaha Ltd
  19. Lexie Matheson ONZM, Academic Equity Leader, AUT University
  20. Sarah Jane Parton, postgraduate student, Victoria University. Tongareva (Cook Islands), Tahiti
  21. Scout Barbour-Evans, parent, student and youth worker, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and Ngāti Porou
  22. Geraint Scott, Train Driver
  23. Sally Dellow, Senior Scientist Engineering Geology
  24. Manisha Morar, student, Tauiwi
  25. Emilie Rākete, Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa. Postgraduate student and community organiser
  26. Kendra Cox. Te Ure o Uenukukōpako, Te Whakatōhea, Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou. Community organiser and social work student
  27. Sandy Hildebrandt, BA, BSc, PGDipSci — Environmental Management
  28. Kate McIntyre, community organiser
  29. Merran Lawler, Kaiarahi, Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga/National Network of Stopping Violence Services
  30. Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds, co-founders of Promised Land Tales
  31. Aatir Zaidi, Chairperson EquAsian
  32. Kassie Hartendorp, Ngāti Raukawa, ActionStation and Tīwhanawhana Trust
  33. Whetū Bennett, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Hāu, Tainui
  34. Fetū-o-le-moana Teuila Tamapeau, Makefu (Niuē) , Fagaloa (Sāmoa), Content Publisher Auckland Council and Freelance Digital Moana Navigator
  35. Henry Laws, community organiser
  36. Tabby Besley, Managing Director InsideOUT
  37. Toni Duder, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu and RainbowYOUTH
  38. Morgan Butler, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tainui and Te Rarawa
  39. Anne Waapu, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Ātihaunui a Pāpārangi
  40. Nishhza Thiruselvam, Eelam Tamil, postgraduate student, community organiser, Tauiwi
  41. Hans Landon-Lane, Performer & Communications Advisor
  42. Jack Byrne, human rights researcher, TransAction
  43. Will Hansen, history postgraduate student and Lesbian and Gay Archives of NZ trustee
  44. Bell Murphy, Feminist Self Defence Teacher and PhD Candidate in Gender Studies
  45. Kay Jones, Independent Contractor, Facilitator Wellington Bisexual Women’s Group
  46. Angelo Libeau, Crisis Support Worker & Development Coordinator — Rape Crisis Dunedin
  47. Max Tweedie, New Zealand AIDS Foundation
  48. Tommy Hamilton — re.frame project collaborator
  49. Stace Robertson, All of Us Project + re.frame
  50. Anya Satyanand, The Prince’s Trust New Zealand
  51. Nicole Skews-Poole, activist and campaigner
  52. Robyn Vella Facilitator Auckland
  53. Sam Sutherland, Computer Analyst
  54. Philip Wills (Kāi Tahu), Student
  55. Bronte Perry, Technician
  56. Val Smith, Educator and Artist
  57. Christian Rika, Digital media specialist, Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Porou
  58. Associate Professor Dr. Taima Moeke-Pickering, Ngati Pukeko/Ngai Tuhoe, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  59. Murphy, Journalist
  60. Dr Clive Aspin, Ngāti Maru, Suicide Mortality Review Committee
  61. Matai Smith, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Taamanuhiri and Ngāti Kahungunu , Broadcaster
  62. Steve Lovett, Elam School of Fine Arts
  63. Elizabeth Wiltshire, Cross-Agency Rainbow Network
  64. Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho, Lecturer/Researcher, University of Otago, Wellington School of Medicine, ​ Ngāti Kahungunu; Rongomaiwāhine, Rongowhakaata; Ngāi Tāhu; Ngāti Manawa; Ngāi Tūhoe; Ngāti Pahauwera; Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāi Tarewa, Samoan, Tahitian
  65. Ricardo Menéndez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator
  66. Dr Huhana Hickey MNZM MInstD, Crown director, consultant and advocate, Tainui (Ngati Tahinga) and Whakatohea
  67. Matt Jackson, HR Manager
  68. Te Miha Ua, Ngāti Te Kanawa, Ngāti Uenukukopako, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rakaiwhakairi, Wairarapa Moana Hapū, Te Runanga o Awarua, Ph.D Candidate and Public Servant
  69. Peter R F Thomas, Operations Manager Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services, Board Director Te Rarawa Anga Mua and;
  70. Lifetime partner Eriata D Peri, Independent Traffic, Te Mahurere
  71. Dr Donna Campbell. Ngāpuhi and Ngati Ruanui, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato
  72. Dr. A.W. Peet, NZ citizen, Professor of Physics, University of Toronto
  73. Riki Anderson Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tamatea, Ngāti Marau, Lead Te Atakura Coach, Te Pae Mātauranga ki te Ao
  74. Wetini Paul, Community Based Researcher, Te Whāriki Takapou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Tūhoe
  75. Dr Lynne Russell, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Senior Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington
  76. Samantha Higgs, Early Intervention Teacher, B.Ed, Dip. Tchg. ECE, Grad Dip. Ed Psych, Grad Dip. Early Intervention, Pākehā/Tauiwi
  77. Creek Waddington, Ngāti Pākehā /Tauiwi (Irish, mostly), radio presenter with Quilted Bananas collective
  78. Suzi Paige MBA, Operations Manager and Entrepreneur
  79. Zoë Elizabeth Hayes, Ngāti Uoneone, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāpuhi, Funding and Resource Coordinator at Rape Crisis Dunedin
  80. Associate Professor Terryann Clark, Ngāpuhi, University of Auckland
  81. Lex Davis, Te Rarawa, Trustee Kauhkura Charitable Trust
  82. Dr Nathaniel Thomas Swire, Medical Practitioner

We thank all who have added their names to this letter since publication. We have closed that option now given the time it takes to continue to update.

However please make yourselves and your support visible in ways that work for you and share the letter with your whānau, communities, networks.

Ngā manaakitanga,
Leonie and Laura.

This letter has also been published on Dr Leonie Pihama’s blog here.




Community campaigning organisation bringing people together to act in powerful and coordinated ways to create a fair and flourishing Aotearoa for all.

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