What happens when two worlds collide? When you merge Te Ao Maori with the Western World? New Zealand?
We insist people choose between either world. No one is a New Zealander. You’re either Pakeha or Maori and some, according to the NZ census, are ‘Other’. So what happens to the ‘others’?
Most of my life I’ve felt like a person of two halves - patched together with te taha Maori and te taha Pakeha (my Maori and Pakeha sides). But I’ve come to learn I am not of two halves. I am whole, unique and rare and I don’t have to belong to either world, I can create my own.
‘E rua nga Ao / Two Worlds’ is my story.
My story. A story of identity crisis both sexually and culturally. A story told through the story of others. A borrowing of tradition and myth, combined with the stories I see in the world.
Women and their stories are central to my work. As a minority (gay Maori), I have always identified with their struggle to be seen and heard, and the ‘beauty’ that they operate within yet are often constrained by.
Our Women are my canvas upon which I layer my work, my thoughts and feelings about the world - such as fashion, religion, social injustice and colonisation.
In telling their stories, I tell my own and hopefully create a new narrative for ‘others’ to write their own.
The final chapter of E rua nga Ao, is a story of empowerment through self discovery.