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One Ocean

May 15, 2017

FA’AFETAI — Thank You The first memory I have of a lecturer is of Teresia Teaiwa. On my first day at uni (during O-Week), she delivered a mock-lecture for us first year students. Being a Pacific Islander, and a recent immigrant to New Zealand, I was feeling quite small. The buildings seemed to be swallowing […]

May 8, 2017

Your jokes are dry. I keep watching Saturday Night Live‘s skit about people finally realising Beyoncé is black. It’s funny, well-written, and it parodies so many NOT FUNNY jokes that get made about people of colour. One time I was at a meeting where I was seated at a table with mostly Pasifika students. As […]

May 1, 2017

Homesickness After nearly three years of living away from home, I’ve come to think that homesickness isn’t always about missing the place you lived before you moved away. A lot of times, being homesick is about the little things — the small conveniences you once enjoyed. I remember how exciting it was to move to […]

April 10, 2017

On Black Being a Colour “I do wanna talk about that stuff…” — Oscar Kightley I believe that art has the most extraordinary power to liberate. This is why, for a long time, I’ve been sceptical of the type of West Papua stories that paint the natives as lost causes, and their independence movement as […]

April 3, 2017

Person: “Oh, so you’re from the islands?” Me: “Yep!” Person: “Wow, you speak really well! No, honestly! Your English is really good!” I’ve had this conversation ten trillion times — I’ve counted. I’d like to make it known that I’ve had more conversations like this with islanders than with palagi people I’ve met. The fact […]

March 27, 2017

Shy admission: more than once I caught my breath, with how much there was to admire. Diplomat: representing us overseas with your not-missing-a-beat articulate Truth teller: revealing and peeling off your skin in front of students unaccustomed to real, in school assemblies when in uniform. Activist: in front of everyone that little bit braver, than […]

March 20, 2017

You said I was “third world” When I couldn’t spell right And you shipped me your left-over mutton flaps To say “congrats on your plight!” You said I was different And then asked me what the difference was You proceeded to pity me when I shrugged, “just because…”   You said I was “third world” […]

March 13, 2017

Overcoming Orientation Blues Leaving home was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. As an international student, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed when I first got to uni. The week before classes started, we had Pasifika Orientation. There were a lot of students there and I felt a bit nervous. I wasn’t […]

March 3, 2017

(Dedicated to my mother and my grandmother)   Bare feet, a bush knife, and string bag swung across the back Fresh bananas, nuts and yams, all in a neat stack A bundle of leaf on her head, walking down the track Her skin, and her hair, Melanesian black   The sun scorched her head, and […]

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