One of my scripts for the Radio NZ competition has a Maori family as the central characters. This has once again opened up that good old can of worms of who has the right to tell a story...
The story I wrote is not about race but it is about people. I orignally had different main characters but the story morphed and it was this family that I was drawn towards. This brings into question the appropriateness of whether or not it is ok for me to have a Maori family to tell the story, and if so how do I need to represent them.
There is a part of me that thinks 'I'm gay yet I write straight characters, I'm female yet many males inhabit the world of my scripts, I'm 31 yet my characters are 5 and 65' BUT is this just another colonial piece of crap that allows me to think I have permission to represent a culture I'm not part of? Is it ok for me to assume that because I am writing about people I know, family's I have been amongst, and most of all that I write about PEOPLE, and that I am 'creating', that I can assert grounds to do what I please?
I realise that this argument is not about my script, it is much bigger than that. But what difference does it make if I change the characters to pakeha? Would I have had the same conversation if my characters were Asian, or South African?
Do I really have the right to write the stories that come to me?
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