DRAPER, Utah — For over 40 years, Pauline Tangiora, a Māori elder from the Rongomaiwahine Tribe, has been an activist for Indigenous rights, human rights, environmental justice and conflict resolution. From a small community on the Māhia Peninsula of the North Island of Aotearoa (also called New Zealand), Pauline Tangiora has been making extensive efforts toward peace. Here are 10 facts about Pauline Tangiora to illustrate her thoughtfulness and impact.
10 Crucial Facts About Pauline Tangiora
- When asked about what she learned after representing indigenous communities on the world stage, Pauline Tangiora clarified that she does not represent indigenous peoples, but she can bring their messages to the U.N. Not everyone can speak directly to the U.N., but through the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom organization, Pauline Tangiora was able to communicate other people’s concerns and views.
- Pauline Tangiora’s father stressed to her the importance of listening ever since she was a child. She claimed that this was the best advice she had received because she never stopped learning. When it came to giving advice, Pauline encouraged the youth to find ways to help their community and to listen to them without judgment, according to Impakter. Pauline believed that the youth should respect their elders, but also that their elders must earn their respect. Both perspectives matter and by working together, they can bring about necessary change.
- Pauline Tangiora is one of the 50 members of the World Future Council, which is an organization that aspires to harmonious societies. It has worked to establish this by developing policies that can be communicated to policymakers and enforced to resolve societal issues.
- There are many other positions Pauline Tangiora has held including being an advisor to the International Steering Committee of the World Court Project as well as a Justice of the Peace and the President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Aotearoa. Furthermore, she was the Regional Women’s Representative for the World Council for Indigenous Peoples and a Patroness of the Peace Foundation.
- The Māori language, also known as te reo, was the main language of Aotearoa. However, over time it became restricted to Māori communities, as more English speakers came to Aotearoa and expected the Māori people to assimilate. Although less than 20% of Māori could be viewed as native te reo speakers by the 1980s, the Māori people would not let their language vanish. Pauline Tangiora was influential in the Māori language recovery movement which included engaging young children in te reo and developing the way in which they learn about te reo and the history of Aotearoa at schools, according to Seeds of Wisdom. Due to the efforts made during the Māori language recovery movement, Māori became the official language of Aotearoa under the Maori Language Act 1987.
- Another hardship the Maori people faced was their fight over land rights with the Crown. The Crown took away tribal lands from the Maori people and applied scorched earth tactics which destroyed livestock and crops, according to Cultural Survival. In 2016, the Crown apologized and completed a treaty settlement of 100 million NZD (about $64,468,000), along with a social assistance package. Pauline Tangiora was one of seven negotiators who contributed to the treaty settlement. Since then, economic burdens have decreased and children have discovered more about the history of Indigenous people.
- According to Seeds of Wisdom, Pauline has also helped the San people in the African Kalahari preserve their cultural heritage. To conserve water, she has supported environmentalists in Brazil. Also, she helped Australian Aborigines bring back their lost ritual with whales. Pauline Tangiora became involved in the peace movement during the Vietnam War. She listened and observed, wrote letters and talked to anyone involved, never relenting. As dedicated as she is to protecting her culture and home, Pauline Tangiora does not hesitate to stand with countless others.
- Additionally, Pauline Tangiora has assisted children specifically. She has spread awareness concerning the harm done to Maori children in state care and comforted children in Iran who were victims of chemical weapon attacks, according to Cultural Survival.
- Pauline Tangiora withstood getting a ta moko, a traditional Maori tattoo until she was in her 50s because she understood how meaningful it was. The ta moko, meant for both men and women, represents responsibility, culture, and overall identity. There are many unique designs and symbols portraying different parts of their life and individual traits. It is a significant process and Pauline Tangiora ensured she was ready for it.
- According to Cultural Survival, as of 2018, Pauline Tangiora was one of the only three activists given the International Bremen Peace Award from the Schwelle Foundation in Germany. The Schwelle Foundation seeks justice and peace, both supporting and establishing programs that strive for change in amicable ways. Pauline Tangiora, in all of her impressive endeavors, has acted in a non-violent manner.
Creating a Better World
These 10 facts about Pauline Tangiora emphasize her selfless acts. Pauline Tangiora, for many years now, has proven her dedication toward creating a safer, more unified, world. She is a remarkable example of what individuals can accomplish when they have courage to use their voice for relevant matters and to protect those who need care.
– Megan Roush