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March 27, 2017 | by  | in Editorial |
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Editors’ Letter

How do I write about you in the office without breaking down and making everyone in the room feel awkward? How useless are my philosophical ponderings on the concept of death, when this very regular and inevitable result of mortality happens and it just fucking hurts.

 

How could I not think I had a special relationship with Epeli? Well, my fantasy was  brought into check very abruptly at his funeral: several hundred other people had obviously thought themselves similarly special to him. Promiscuous bugger.

— Teresia Teaiwa wrote this of Epeli Hau’ofa and I laugh (or whatever sound it is I’m making through my tears) at how similarly I feel about her.

 

Some highly intelligent people make others around them seem smaller, but Teresia had the anti-capitalist gift of making you feel, after conversation or exchange with her, cleverer yourself.

— Dougal McNeill

 

She believed in people before they believed in themselves.

— Salī Salī, one of her students.

 

hi dear, sorry, can chat on fb but not around for meetings… got bad news: am in advanced stages of a not nice cancer :/

— She made it sound so casual, as if it were the common cold.

 

I’m almost tempted to wear an ‘ei katu [flower garlands worn on your head, from the Cook Islands] to work more often as a symbol of resistance… but then I’m afraid the bad vibes of the neoliberal university will completely coopt the joy in indigenous values the flowers represent. (sigh)

— Her post-birthday blues.

 

My grief feels private, special, my own.

Our moments were ours, and I selfishly want to keep them to myself. But I also know you wouldn’t want that, you wouldn’t want me to isolate myself from the many many who are grieving also.

We are Oceania.

We are grieving.

But we are strong, because of you, Fiery Canoe. So we will cry, we will sing, and we will share our stories about you. But then we will continue to fight, and love, and do our readings, because you showed us how.

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