Patu to the face as a service – Testimonials

I was just talking about 3000 year old Welsh skulls and Māori not being tangata whenua and bam,  patu right in my face.  Had to stop, and go down to the A&E

  • Noel – a Historian (no really, you can just say you’re a historian and the Herald will print any drivel you make up)

As I was being consistently wrong about everything, as I am wont to do, I heard a mighty yell of ‘D haaa’ and smack, patu on the point of the jaw. Shut me right up I must say.

  • Alan – Author (sort of, he had one ok book but the rest are all pretty crap)

We were performing our ‘Haka’ to advertise insurance, when someone came running up, and screamed ‘Ana tō kai, kai toa’ and hit the head of marketing in the face with some sort of club thing.

  • Spokesperson for ARAG insurance

I don’t know what happened, one minute I was saying “muesli bars have too much sugar in them for growing bodies” and the next minute, tewhatewha upside the head. Well I never!

  • Judgey McJudgerson – Kindy parent/teacher

Look as the enlightened feminist I am I was just commenting on how ‘ethinc’ women are more attractive if they don’t look ‘ethnic’. Then crack, taiaha to the temple. I said don’t hit me I love women and what about fat yoga… and then pow, wahaika in the waha.  

  • Someone whose core is super soft 

Unsung heroes of Koha 33 – Joy Nelson

Not only does Joy describe Bibframe by using the ontology of Tutu, but she probably currently knows the most about data migrations to Koha. This would be neat in itself, but she never hesitates to share this knowledge by answering questions on the mailing lists, attending and speaking at Kohacons, and participating on IRC.
Joy is a person of great integrity and she brings that to her work on Koha. The community and the project are lucky to have her.

Unsung heroes of Koha 32 – Josef Moravec

I have never met Josef, but according to git it has been 685 days since his first patch was accepted into the Koha code base. He now has 42 patches with a total of nearly 3000 lines changed, which in itself is a great achievement. But even more importantly, Josef is a committed tester. He is currently leading the number of sign offs for April, and is second only to Marc Véron (unsung hero number 31) in terms of sign offs for 2017.
Jo Ransom met Josef in the Czech Republic while on her Koha world tour and speaks highly of him. If I have this correctly he works for a University that has been using Koha for quite a few years now. It is so great to see users becoming contributors also.

Děkuji Josef

Pae Tīhau Māori

I was reading this excellent post by Carrie Stoddart-Smith (which I discovered via Twitter) and it got me thinking about how I use Twitter itself. If you are a New Zealand Twitter user you have probably bumped into someone using the word Twitterati.  This is usually used as a insult, often in conjunction with equally prejorative phrases like ‘hive mind’ etc. Now while the Twitterati don’t exist (it’s pretty much just a group of friends acting like friends) there certainly are subgroups of NZ Twitter out there.

One of my favourite of these is what I am calling Pae Tīhau Māori, or the Māori twitterverse. I think a major characteristic of it is whanaungatanga (this is how I got to here from Carrie’s post). A lot of what I see is awhi, and whakawhanaungatanga. People helping and encouraging each other, and people making connections with each other.

One recent example of this whakawhanautanga happened with me just last week. While I was in India, reading twitter over breakfast, I noticed this Twitter exchange with my Dad.

 

Now this jogged my memory, Nanny Ada Davis fed me my first solid meal (which I don’t remember) but I remember being told, and I remembered the photos of me with her. So I posted.

Which after this

And a few more tweets lead to me emailing Phoebe a bunch of photos, for her to share with her whānau. Connections had been reestablished. Then there are things like this

And many many more (please hit me up with any examples you like if you wish). In general and with very few exceptions, I see Māori on twitter helping, uplifting, and connecting with each other. There are discussions, but I am struggling to think of one that wasn’t done out of a genuine desire to learn/discuss, rather than to attack. I am sure there are some acrimonious ones, but I am happy to hang out in my ‘bubble’ it’s a much nicer place to hang out than lots of the internet. Long may it continue. Mauri ora tātou

Our artist mothers

Fundraising link

So recently some artist friends and I were talking about the issues in management of our lives. One thing popped up that gets a lot of artist’s hackle’s up. It’s a kind of touchy subject internally and in the artworld’s eyes. Artist mothers. Mother artists.

This is quite relevant to this campaign and my artist life, as I had to make some major life decisions when my husband and I decided to have children. How would it work out? What would be our source of income? How would I manage to deal with my creative side? I always knew that I wanted children. This is something that every woman artist has to consider and I dare say no one takes the decision lightly. For, when you have a child, you are creating yet another work – but one that takes considerable time and energy and is very often blocking your need and want for other creative ventures that makes us who we are as creative beings.

I looked forward to the creativity that comes with children and using my education degrees in conjunction with my art creating urges. What I didn’t expect is that my artist life was going to need to go on hold for a while, and doing full scale exhibitions was going to be out. So with my first son Kahurangi, I tried to channel my energies into things like monthly naked photo shoots of him, sewing clothes, making knitted squares with my craft group who became his surrogate aunties so I could actually knit for an hour while they took turns holding him. I made awesome bento lunches for his kindy in later years and took pride in creating amazing costumes for various events and making toys to entertain him. I made the decision to allow him to rule my world to some extent, and I enjoyed the journey. Watching him grow and learn and the fascination of the world through his new eyes was enough for me. The sense of wonder and passion that a toddler has is some of the most creative worlds we have. I pottered along with my art on the odd occasion he was occupied, but rather than get up and do art, I spent his naptimes cuddling with him instead. The creation I was making was building him up and the relationship of our love.

With my second son Te Pō Atarau, he was a very sickly and needy child. By the time he arrived 2 years later, I was starting to get twitchy that my art was progressing so slowly. And along came this boy who needed my attention 24-7 literally and wouldn’t go to anyone else but me. I loved him so much, but I started to resent that I could not get time alone to myself to go the bathroom much less do any art. It was a hard time where I cried a lot and tried to convince myself that I was doing the right things by him, but desperately needed a creative outlet other than drawing pictures of him on my breast as it was the only time he was content. I ended up deciding that he was a sacrifice worth investing in, and I tried to make time fade – as with a baby or toddler the days are so incredibly long, but the years go by so fast. It was a long arduous haul, but we did it together and the bond that I have with him and had during that time was massively intense. I consider that emotional relationship as a major contributor to my art these days with empathy and understanding that I had never felt prior. I decided that I needed to put my life, my needs, my wants on hold at least until he went to school and be done with the battle in my head that constantly said “you need to make! you need to exhibit! you need to keep up with the artworld and get out there!” It was a very hard decision that I agonized and fought myself over, but once I made it, I was much more at ease and time faded faster towards my goal of their self sufficiency and my return to my passions for creating.

So when both boys were in school, I finally had some time to think and feel about myself again and recognize my needs that had been only tinkered with over the years. I began working on relationships, telling stories with my work, gathering research as time permitted and was mommy for the rest of the day dealing with school lunches, home work, sports, and feral excited children who never wanted to sleep. This carries on to today, where I am the primary caregiver of my two greatest works. I watch them create and think and feel and just “exist” and this fuels my own fascination in them together with the kind of love only a mother feels. This feeds my work, and I will argue this point with anyone.

Most of my favorite artists made conscious decisions not to have children. They thought it intrudes too much into their plan, their passion, their work and without that focus, that they would never be good. Most of the time they are right. The most successful women artists traditionally have not had children. But the ones who did or tried to desperately are there as well. Those are the ones we need to really be proud of, as the artworld still has a stigma that puts mothers in the background as having less drive, time and attention for the work, therefore they are not as dedicated. These women should receive even more credo as they manage two worlds and successfully navigate between them. While I lost some determination to succeed as an artist for a few years, the years allowed more personal growth than I can ever have achieved otherwise. I thank these leaders for breaking new paths that we can navigate on our own terms.

So this brings me to where I am today. I have been working on my two projects that I am crowdfunding for since Atarau enrolled in school 2 years ago. My focus is now on getting that part of me that drew so much attention and energy put towards my work while still working on building the artworks that are my children. I can’t wait to show what I have been working on and see if you can interpret the input that my being a mother has had on the works – or not. Because my job work has been limited in the last few years, my artwork has taken longer to achieve due to finance. My artwork is generally not saleable content, so it must be self funded to be completed and shown.

This is where you come in! I would love if you could support these projects completion so that I can tell about the relationships, health outcomes and other stories that have been meshed into these works. I have a lot to say, and I need your help to say it. Please consider passing this on to your artist friends or otherwise as a thank you for doing what they do, and also consider donating to this campaign in honor of all artist mothers!

Here’s a quick video I made with the kids about artists and artist mothers last night. They’re a bit shy, but they know how important and hard it is. They are also coordinating a bake sale and drawing sale for Sunday in order to help with my campaign with my amazing nephew. I couldn’t be prouder of their ambition, love and concern for me and these projects. Also here’s a little drawing I did just a wee while ago when Atarau came and fell asleep in my bed at 3am.

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Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu – The power of 7 words

I’ve told a few people this story, it is a very short one the whole thing happened in a few short minutes but it is still very vivid in my mind.

It was 1990, the 150th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti, and events around this were happening all over the motu. I was a seventh former (as we called it in the olden days, last year of high school) and myself and the other 7th formers in the Māori class were at a hui at Putiki marae.

We were introducing ourselves, and I was super nervous. As an aside I noticed this on Tuesday night too, I have no problem at standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people presenting. (I guess it’s the Pākehā man genes kicking in, we’ve been overconfidently talking at people forever). But put me in a setting like doing a mihi and karakia on the marae at Te Papa (Tuesday night) and I get all whakamā. So back to the story, I was nervously waiting my turn and when it came I bumbled my way through it. Then I said something like “as you can see I’m only part Māori”

Moana Jackson (who we were there to kōrero with) then said

There are no parts, you are Māori

Now if I was whakamā before, imagine how I felt now. I felt like I had been told off, but let’s face it to a 17 year old boy everything feels like being told off. Here is this man that my parents hold in super high regard and he’s telling me I said something wrong. I blushed and sat down.

But within minutes, I began to understand. One of the reasons my parents (and I) admire Moana Jackson is because his words come from a place of aroha. He was grounding me, letting me plant my feet, saying you have the right to be here. There are no degrees of Māori, you just are.

Seven words that have lived with me for 26 years now since that day. Seven words that have had a massive impact on how I view the world.

So even though it’s incredibly unlikely Moana will read this, just in case. Kia ora mō tēnā.