Hinenuitepō is an atua, a tipuna, and one of the biggest, most influential, powerful wahine Māori in our history as tāngata whenua. Hinenuitepō is a kaitiaki, a guide and a guardian of us, particularly as we move into Te Pō and Rarohenga from Te Ao Mārama.
We’ve seen colonial re-tellings of many wāhine Māori like Hinenuitepō that do not show our true power, agency, and mana. These re-tellings do not honour or acknowledge our bodies, our fatness, and the ways in which we have never ceded sovereignty. Healthism, like racism and fatism, influences the ways in which we conceptualise bodies. Healthism presents itself in a number of intersecting ways that ultimately structure and assign access, desirability and palatability, to bodies
that are deemed worthy of humanity. Te Ao Māori, Mātauranga Māori, and Te Reo Māori offer insights into the alternatives available from colonial ways of viewing fatness, bodies, health, and hauora. Mātauranga Māori highlights ways we can re-think and re-claim our mana tinana.
He uri au nō Ngāti Awa, Ngāpuhi, me Ngāiterangi, ko Ashlea Gillon ahau. I’m a fat Māori wahine who is a Kaupapa Māori transdisciplinary research fellow at the University of Auckland. I’m currently doing a PhD in Indigenous studies and psychology exploring body sovereignty for fat Indigenous wāhine, and a recent Fulbright Scholar in Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Health at the University of
Hawai’i at Mānoa.
My areas of mahi are Indigenous health, fat studies, identity, racism, privilege, equity, Indigenous theories, and methodologies. When I’m not doing mahi, I’m twitterdiarying, having kōrero and spiralling on Instagram, yearning for and swimming in the moana, and spending time with Mans or my whānau.