I will be leaving Paradise tomorrow evening. I thought I’d done my dash but today an awful sadness has overcome me as I reflect back to almost over 2 months spent in this beautiful and amazing place.
Most importantly I want to say Mahalo to the Hawaiian people and the Local people including the “mixed plates” (I’ve lost count of how many Hawaiian/Cherokee/Navajo/Puerto Rican/Japanese/Portuguese/Chinese/Filipino/German/Swedish/English etc mixes I have met often affectionally referred to as “mixed plates”), “Hapa’s” (meaning half normally refers to one who is part Asian part “Haole” meaning Anglo) and “Transplants” or (People from the Mainland of USA) who make this place unique and special and unlike any other land on this planet.
Hawai’i has gone through so much painful history, I relate to that pain because I was born and raised in Aoteroa (Maori on my Father’s side), so we share a similar past. Being part Maori there is something I feel that deeply resonates with my “Hawaiian Bruddah’s”. We have all since learnt that we can heal and we can share this planet with each other.
Here in Hawai’i my Ancestor’s walked this land a long time ago. My Cousins – Ohana or Whanau. Therefore I give them honour and respect first and foremost. To me, meeting any Hawaiian was like meeting Ali’i (Royalty) yet it was these same humble locals that treated me as if I had been born on a throne because of the links our people have upheld since ancient times.
I will mention here that I feel there is the some resistance towards other Poly’s such as Tongan’s, Samoan’s etc. This exists in New Zealand as well sad to say. My Mother is Tongan and although I know the Hawaiian’s really jump at meeting Maori’s I’m sad to see that I often didn’t get the same enthusiastic reception when I mentioned my Tongan side. I was even sometimes introduced to Hawaiian’s as being just “Maori” and I found myself playing into that mind set.
Tongan’s are Polynesian, we are all “Cousins” – it makes me very sad to see that this mentality towards Tongan or any other Polynesian is being silently practised. I myself felt so pressured to be “accepted” that I even sold out as trying to pass as a “100% Mean Maori”!
Then I thought of my Mother…
I thought of all the gifts my Mother gave me from her Tongan culture. If I say I’m “Maori” I would be denying my Mother.
If it wasn’t for my Mother I wouldn’t be Me. “Ofa” means Love in Tongan and it is the first word of my blog, when I think of my Mother I think of the word “Ofa”. So Ofa ‘Atu Lahi Hawai’i because you have taught me something that took me a long time to know and something very precious indeed…
I am my Mother’s daughter.
I will die shouting from the rooftops that I am a Tongan/Maori, not a Maori and not a Tongan but BOTH – integrated that’s ME! I’m not ashamed in fact I am PROUD! So here I am feeling very empowered and telling you that I am at peace with who I bloody well am. Finally! I make NO excuses anymore. This is ME! I will not dilute myself so that you can get a watered down version of my culture. The epitome of beauty lies in the rainbow. All colors in harmony together, a gift from our Creator.
So to all my Polynesian Bruddah’s and Sistah’s – I say Ofa ‘Atu to you and I say Ki Ora too! We are all ONE. In fact, to anyone who has taken the time to read this blog – to Lolita my Laos sister/best friend-for-life-where’s-my-diamond-ring-to-mark-our-anniversary.
To my gorgeous niece and nephews who are all mixed plates between them there is DNA hailing from Cook Islands, Maori, Tonga, Scotland, England, Germany etc
Lavinia, Du Janvier, Shaeden and Cruz:
To Aunty Gina, MaryAnne, Nick and Kathy and the staff at Kahumana Organic Farm, Trish and Preston who I met at the bus stop one late night, To Dharmani – My soul wounds sister who showed me the healing ponds of Ahalanui in Puna. To Ban Lei testimony to mixed plate heritage – Japanese/Hawaiian/Porteguese, To Connie who runs the most exquisite little gem of a cottage in Pahoa, (Contact Connie Lain http://www.konacomfortrental.com/ConniesCozyCottage.html also please see my post titled The Cottage) To Linda, my lovely and adorable Haole/Hawaiian local sister who married a Hawaiian/Filipino and ordered x3 mixed plates, To Pua my Hawaiian/Japanese Christian sister, Trang my sister from Vietnam whom I worked with in Sydney, to Angela my Kiwi/Anglo-Indian fellow Artist sister who ordered x5 mixed plates!, to James an American bruddah from Oklahoma who loves to scale mountains – to the world at large, it is our God given right to be here on this planet to share our world and connect with strangers as if we are blood.
And finally to all the “Mixed Plates” out there! You are living proof that LOVE works in all races and spaces.
“Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side, the one who create me and cause me too come from black and white.” -Bob Marley