Māori Poetry

Performance art with 'Ngā Uri Hou' a new whare karioi, at the Indigenous Celebration Bali

I recently participated in the 'Indigenous Celebration' in Ubud, Bali at the Agung Rai Museum of Art. I also delivered a workshop on cultural tattooing whilst there, and performed some of my poetry. It was an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity and i'm grateful to have met some amazing indigenous artists and activists from places such as Taiwan, Solomon Islands, Papua, Borneo, Australia and some other far off places!

I also designed the logo for this festival, and one of my four brands, Toi Tangata Māori Art Gallery was one of the collaborative partners on the project.

Having focused largely on developing my tā moko practice for the past ten years, I am currently enjoying diversifying and experimenting with other art forms in recent times, like performance art and poetry, among other things still in development!

To read more about our new group 'Ngā Uri Hou: The New Descendants' or our recent performance at the Indigenous Celebration Bali, click here.

I also delivered a second workshop at The Green School on cultural tattooing whilst in Bali for this festival.

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maori performance art

'Do you think you're better than me?' a poem about Māori hating on other Māori

Here's a poem that I wrote some months back after witnessing several instances online of Māori hating on other Māori and ripping each other to shreds over various things in various ways. 

To me, we have enough battles outside of Māoridom to fight on a global scale as indigenous people and I do not believe in or support such attitudes and actions of hatred against anyone, let along against ourselves. In my opinion, cases of Māori hating on other Māori only weakens us all as a whole. As the saying goes, 'united we stand, divided we fall'.
 

'Kaua e whakaiti te tangata'

Do you think you're better than me?
With your university degree
Telling you how to be Māori
Oh the elitist snobbery
Well this is a free country 

And this is a contemporary
Generation
One Māori can never represent the entire population
I said this is a contemporary generation
And it's all about participation
Innovation
Not degradation

You think you're so traditional
Victoria Institutional
That's delusional 

The judge the jury and the hangman
Who gave you the mana
To whakaiti te tangata?

Your ego seeks to put down
In order to raise yourself up
From the gutter
Go ask your mother
What makes you Māori
She'll tell you
First it's whakapapa
It's whakapapa
It's whakapapa 

Got cousins in Australia?
Course you do
How do you think they'd take ya? 
Down on your knees
Stuck in jealousy
Pointing the finger
You're not a good Māori!

Aue te puhaehae
In the heart of the one on high
Get down off your pedestal
And peel some fucken potatoes

How deep is your matauranga
When you seek to shame another? 
How tika is your tikanga
When you laugh and mock
The one that most needs your manaakitanga? 

How tika is your tikanga?
How tika is that tikanga? 
What the fuck is that tikanga?

Kaua e whakaiti te tangata

Kei whea tou manaakitanga?
Or were you sick
On the day
They delivered that paper?