My house is full of photographs of a Māori man my sister and I have never met.
He sits in the lounge, in the kitchen, on my nana's bedside table. He is the lit candle at Christmas time and the fantail that visits every Queen's Birthday weekend.
He is my Poppa - my great-grandfather - the patriarch of our family. And this week, it will be 23 years since he took his last breath, on his bed, with my Nana Mae screaming at him, "you promised you wouldn't leave me".
I'm sure many families have similar stories; mine is not unique.
But my Poppa, Henare Cross as he is known to me, was Māori. He died from cancer.
And as the news of a Māori Health Authority brings hope for so many in this country, while others scream cries of separatism, I can't help but sit and wonder, would that man who sits in a photo frame around my house, instead be sitting here with me now if these health reforms existed then?
The health system has been failing Māori since colonisation. For non-Māori, it's an expectation to live to your 80s at least. Life expectancy for Māori is your 70s.
Poppa was 71 when he died.
He had lost 10kg, was in the hospital, clearly sick. But doctors didn't know what was wrong with him and wanted to send him home. He was eventually diagnosed after a lot of pushback from my whānau.
So why is it that Māori are 20 per cent more likely to get cancer and more than twice as likely to die from it?
A well-publicised example of this is Labour MP Kiri Allan having a 13.3 per cent chance to beat her stage 3C cervical cancer diagnosis compared to a 40 per cent chance if she was Pākehā.
The answer for this is multifaceted. Longer wait times for Māori and unconscious racism in the health system are just some of the answers I look at when thinking of my Poppa.
But it is not his death that hurts me. You see, this man lives and breathes through me.
I may not hold memories of the man who adored me as an infant, but I know him as if I did, thanks to the never-ending tales of his adventures told around the dining table.
What hurts is this person is my identity to te ao Māori. He is the one who grew up on our turangawaewae in soil rich with the history of our tīpuna. And my opportunity to sit and learn from him was taken, too early.
Now I sit as a journalist and bear witness to the uncomfortable truth that racism is still alive in our communities - last week the Bay of Plenty Times reported on the loud shouting and jeers that met a woman greeting an audience in te reo Māori at the launch of a new ratepayers' group.
Reporting on this has been under scrutiny by those who attended, stating the "incident" was not the main story.
It may not be the case for those who are more concerned about their rates rising than the heckling, be it big or small, of those in our community.
But for me, this heckling is undoubtedly the most important element.
We should be giving nothing to racism and if one news article compared to countless council-based stories achieves this, then I am proud of my colleagues.
You see, it wasn't too long ago when my nana was jeered at too. She was just a little girl drinking from a water fountain at school. Classmates were then disgusted to even go near it in case they caught her germs.
Because she was Māori.
Fast forward a few decades and our ritual was washing the dishes while practising our vowels in te reo Māori - something that she should be teaching me and something that should be able to roll off her tongue.
But it doesn't.
The reason is entrenched in our history. It is something we shouldn't be afraid to confront and next year it won't be as New Zealand history will be compulsorily taught in schools.
Despite this fact, as reported in the media, too many people are against this teaching of our history, they're against Māori wards - which are a simple initiative to ensure Māori voices were sitting at the table, in honouring te Tiriti, honouring the wellbeing of all our people.
Too many people also believe the introduction of the Māori Health Authority is giving Māori privilege we do not deserve.
Despite the fact that many poppas, nannies, aunties, uncles - whānau - are now buried in the ground too early, as was my Poppa, this racist rhetoric hasn't changed and we still haven't learned.
There have been countless times I've had to push my Poppa, my identity as a Māori wāhine aside, to ensure people are held accountable for their racist ideas.
Those same racist ideas ensured my strongest connection to my whakapapa is a man no longer here.
Those words affect me. Every syllable of every racist thought is another pin in my heart that I'm not Māori enough - and I was never given the opportunity.
Now the generation after me just might have that with the introduction of a Māori Health Authority and many other initiatives that ensure a "for Māori, by Māori" approach is centre.
Yet there are people who say that's "racist".
My question to them is: when has this country ever not been racist?
I would like to ask my Poppa the same question. But I can't.