Volume 1, Issue 2 - November 2006
Creativity and ethnic communities
Table of contents
Arriving in New Zealand from Nairobi, Kenya with my family led to the loss of numerous reference points. Most dramatic for a child was the loss of wildlife; driving past giraffes or herds of zebra was part of my world. Then there were the everyday, more mundane losses that occur when one shifts from a multi-ethnic, multi-faith community to somewhere new: School friends, peer groups, doting family and friends, food, language.
It seems strange to be writing this here, in Melbourne, and now, at the beginning of what promises to be a history-making drought. We talk to friends in Aotearoa about the weather – storms, wind and rain they complain, and we get envious. Australia is strange to me. The hard ground and yellow grass, even down here on the coast. The wind whips in, and there are days of persistent drizzle but as a farmer told me on the train the other day, it doesn't even reach the ground.
A Brief Introduction
Let me begin with an introduction. I identify with and belong to a tribe called Ngāti Manu, literally meaning the bird people, which affiliates itself with Ngā Puhi Nui Tonu from whom more than 100,000 people claim ancestry. My mother grew up in the Northland village of Karetu, not far from Kawakawa and Paihia. My father, who has Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu ancestry through his mother, and Galway Irish through his immigrant father, was brought up in Kilbirnie, Wellington. So I also have strong Irish and Kāi Tahu roots. I also have one English ancestor, New Zealand’s acting governor Robert Henry Wynyard, whom I can’t but help remember, and some Scottish ancestors on both sides of the family. We also have strong Ngāi Tai and Ngāti Raukawa connections on our mother’s side of the family. So by way of listing peoples, I’m introducing myself as multicultural. This article was part of an address to the "Biculturalism or Multiculturalism?" Conference at Canterbury University in 2005.
My New Zealand Identity
This poem sums up the author’s thoughts to date on being a sixth generation Pakeha New Zealander. The process of thinking about identity and ones place in the great scheme of history, of course, is never ending. As they say, identity is a verb not a noun.
Hybridity and creativity
Ian M Clothier
Everyone from Helen Clark down in this land, seems pleased to present Aotearoa New Zealand as a multicultural society. Often though, when multiculturalism is discussed an embedded assumption seems to lurk: the notion that in a multicultural society there is a kind of ‘forest of cultures’. Over there is an Indian, to the right someone from Tonga, and standing next to the German is someone from Nigeria. It is unnecessary to point any accusatory fingers regarding this assumption, but important simply to state that this vision is incomplete: in-between the trees of the forest of cultures, are the hybrid bushes of cultural pluralism.
Duty is Joy
The theme of this edition – creativity in ethnic communities – has special resonance for me. Initially, when I began writing poetry, it was a truly personal endeavour. I wrote poems about my own experiences, hardships, heart-breaks – what I call ‘in a shoe-box under the bed’ type poetry.
Confessions of a Secret Asian Man
If you really want to understand, it all comes down to the stacking of the firewood.
Creative New Zealand, Cultural Diversity and the Arts
Helen Bartle and Catherine Nesus
Over the last 18 months Creative New Zealand has been working on the development of its Cultural Diversity Strategy. This article discusses that Strategy, its philosophy and broader work that Creative New Zealand is undertaking in this area.
Positioning and Soliciting Myself – A Business Strategy
I came to Aotearoa New Zealand in December 2001. I had a return ticket and only intended to have a holiday and get my Returning Resident’s Visa. It is 2006 and I am still here. I had not reckoned with the lure of this land. The long white clouds and welcoming bush. Black sands, white sands, ninety mile beaches, gannet colonies, winds from the Hauraki and the spirit of Reinga. Neither had I reckoned with the covert disdain.
Creativity, Ethnic Communities and the Curious Case of Museums
What is the link between creativity and ethnic communities? Creativity often seems to be viewed as a cultural product, consumed passively at cultural celebrations such as the Lantern Festival and Diwali. Recent Auckland City reports have mentioned that ethnic creativity is vital to the growth of Auckland as a mature and vibrant city. But can creativity be channelled further? Can it be used as an active force for social change, and in particular to engender positive race relations? And are museums relevant sites for this?
Nurturing the Creative Spirit
Fe M. Sarmiento
Moving to New Zealand in 2001 was like a template of new beginnings as literally to me it meant new land, new zeal. Little did I know, it would be another journey where I would need all the zeal that I have to deal with frustrations, challenges and difficulties of being a new migrant – the feelings of isolation, periods of unemployment and a mid-life crisis.
Going Bananas: Multiple Identities Forum 2006
Be warned, this is not an academic treatment, or even a real review of the 2006 Going Bananas conference: What follows are my musings as I digest what turned out to be an experience of total immersion in a discourse of identity.
My father died recently. So recently that when I find myself writing that phrase I feel disbelief, sadness, awe, fear and nausea among other sensations too ephemeral to name.
Poems can send us into our own worlds, evoking memories, images or emotions. They can also connect people with similar experiences or create understanding by opening shafts of light into other worlds. This selection of poems and photographs is inspired by experiences, observations and stories of ‘ethnic others’ in Aotearoa. A sense of belonging and a positive self-esteem contributes to good mental health. Not being a part of the majority culture, adds another dimension to the often asked question, “Who am I?”
Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu: E Tala Mei Tonga Ki Tokelau
A poem composed in remembrance of the Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu with translations into Māori and English. A ‘ta’anga tangilaulau’, ‘ta’anga tengihia’ or ‘ta’anga tutulu’, it is the ‘poetry of weeping’. The poem enumerates the sad public pronouncement of Te Arikinui’s death, which emanated from Aotearoa and reached Tonga, as well as her unique trappings and great achievements as a Māori heroine, representing her people’s common struggle for freedom – a permanent way of life originated amongst such heroes as Te Wherowhero. The poem talks about the long-standing cultural and historical linkages between Aotearoa and Tonga and alludes to the inevitability of death, vested in the hands of women, leaving the indestructible ‘whenua’ (vanua, fonua, fenua, hanua, honua) as the Polynesian eternal soul.
Speech by the Governor-General The Honourable Anand Satyanand
His Excellency The Honourable Anand Satyanand PNZCM
A reproduction of the Governor-General’s swearing-In ceremony speech, 23 August 2006.
Happily Never After
A short story.
Lash/Super Toy/Powder Room
Hye Rim Lee
Through her digital personification, Toki, Lee presents a discussion of the desire and desirability of cuteness evident in Asian visual culture and fashion. Toki is a computer generated hybrid bunny-girl; she is cute and sexy like her anime (animated film) and manga (cartoon) counterparts, with doe-eyed western facial features, and a curvaceous and slender idealised body. Thorough this digital personification Lee explores what it means to be a Korean born woman living in New Zealand. The bunny reference though, has a multiplicity of significations, from the cute, playful childhood pet, to the sexual innuendos of playboy bunny. Toki’s name is Korean for bunny, which holds a personal reference for Lee as she was born in the year of the rabbit. Lee suggests that Toki is a supernatural life form who embodies the experience of migration as an 'alien Asian'. Toki's youth and adolescence, is symbolic too of the experience of migration, of the ensuing uncertainty and discovery of self. Lee evokes this process of individuation in her Birth of Toki series, a process similar to the way an adolescent explores and develops their own identity.
Ruminations on making urban space
The bricks, mortar, concrete and glass that make up a city are the spore of the sum of its inhabitants past and present; a built aggregation of human endeavour. Where the individual buildings tell stories of an owner or company’s hopes and dreams the pattern of city streets and public spaces tell more complex stories. Some cities are formed by the inexorable accretion of occupation, the streets and laneways paved, formalising the pathways and carriage trails that have been worn into the landscape over years of human passage. New Zealand cities are a more recent construct; a planned and designed pattern of ownership overlaid on the land, and the trails and shapes of earlier occupants.
Cultural learning for the benefit of all…
In the recently released controversial film ‘Borat! Cultural learning of America for make benefit of glorious nation of Kazakhstan’, Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G) plays a naïve journalist from the former-Soviet Union stumbling through the morass of his own and America’s prejudices. In what The Guardian called ‘a breathtakingly offensive’ manner, Borat exposes the extent to which cultural stereotypes, bigotry and inter-cultural misunderstandings underpin world events.