Moana Jackson and the Force of 10

‘…..whakapapa (Family ancestry) is a series of never-ending beginnings…” Moana Jackson

Inspiring, uplifting, the ten ethics Moana Jackson presents are a powerful force for change in 2016 and beyond. Made in his speech to He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference 2013 as below on video, it’s perfect year start to ‘never-ending beginnings.’

It’s a glorious, hot, summer holiday start. We’re not a religious or overly Christmas focused whanau (family). Pressies, Santa  are for the kids, but kai (food) is for everyone!cropped-cricket-xmas-2015.jpg


We headed outside, on the lawn, down to the parks and beach for cricket, swimming and then MORE kai (food)!

I had made a half-pie list of all the podcasts, links, articles and books to read that I had wanted to catch up on from 2015 never actually intending to look at any of them!

So I was rapt that upon retreating indoors from the heat that the very first one on my list that I watched,  the brilliant and remarkable Moana Jackson was awesome. His speech is the antidote to all the usual ‘end of year’ palaver that gets put about.

Moana Jackson presents ten ethics as a gift, not a framework, or in any way locked in, for his audience, the indigenous researchers.

  1. The ethic of prior thought
  2. The ethic of moral or right choice
  3. The ethic of imagination
  4. The ethic of change
  5. The ethic of time
  6. The ethic of power
  7. The ethic of courage
  8. The ethic of honesty
  9. The ethic of modesty
  10. the ethic of celebration

These ethics are such a powerful force that we could ALL do with a little bit of transformative change in 2016!

An added bonus is you also get a glimpse via a somewhat lengthy introduction to the legendary Dr Ngahuia Awekōtutku Māori, feminist, takatapuhi (two-spirited) academic and activist. Thanks to, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Director of Te Kōtahi Research Institute and her team for recording and ensuring this speech is available on-line for all to share. `

Yes, Moana’s speech is from 2013 and before you say ‘Ngāti Tūreiti!’ (latecomer!) Moana also notes very eloquently here, that rather than making being late or on ‘Māori time’ the negative western notion that it is that as indigenous holders of prior thought (Ethic #1 !!) Māori are to regard time as just like whakapapa(family ancestry),  ‘ a series of never-ending beginnings..

Happy never-ending beginnings to you all!





Being Native Creatives at Xmas

native creatives

” It is unacceptable for children in New Zealand to suffer from poverty-related illness at rates much higher than other developed countries; and for particular groups – such as Māori and Pacific children – to carry the burden of poverty and illness.

Every year there are 40,000 hospitalisations linked to socio-economic status and much of this is due to poor quality housing and the inability to heat homes.

Experience over the past thirty years confirms UNICEF’s view that Government policy has the single biggest impact on child poverty rates, not economic growth alone. ”   

Open letter: Ensure an adequate standard of living l UNICEF New Zealand (9 Dec 2015) Response to Child Poverty Monitor Report New Zealand 2015

 I had been reflecting on the past year and in particular celebrating examples of the many, many Native Creatives that were working at such an amazing level from Māori Directors, Writers, Producers screening films at ImagineNative and Toronto film festivals in Canada to Rena Owen from Moerewa living and working in Hollywood, USA to the amazing longevity of our performance luminaries like George Henare, Christina Asher , Wiremu Davis, Tina Cook who have graced our stages and screens for over thirty years.

 We were collectively and individually as artists, making what we believed was a difference.
But in the wake of the release of the  NZ Children’s Commissioner annual Child Poverty Monitor report citing once again, vast numbers of mostly Māori children living in such abject poverty, it was all too easy to become overwhelmed and numbed by the pain and anguish that it represented.
Our collective Native Creatives story successes were just not enough to do anything practical for the vast numbers of Native children, here. Not in Australia, Canada, Africa, here in our lands.
Nationally, the report caused an outcry for two days and was then subsumed by the tsunami of ‘how many shopping days till Xmas?’ sales, the Oprah Winfrey visit to Ngāti Whātua marae where she said after her traditional welcome ‘I have deep respect and awe (and) regard for what just happened here’ combined with the launch of the latest ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ franchise.
The report went back into the ‘to do’ lists of all the usual suspects, opposition politicians keen to bring the government down, child action poverty groups, Māori activists groups in all fields, all government agencies that deal with Children.
 I couldn’t ignore the report.  I had to take stock because Being a Native Creative is arguably;
  • not going to lead to large numbers of houses being built for families in need
  • not going to lead to provision of cheap fruit and vegetables for below the poverty line families or
  • shame politicians into doing the unthinkable and ending poverty in our nation.
So what was the point of all our struggle to be recognised as Creative Natives?
Hope. By telling our stories, whatever they may be, to the best of our hard won craft abilities, about the everyday lives of our families, children and our native worlds that we walk in,  is going to bring, HOPE.
You can’t buy hope, it can’t be faked as it’s eventually found out, and it never ever goes on a boxing day sale.
We are the bringers of HOPE. As Native Creatives we have the power to create dream worlds  in films, live theatre, games, poetry, music, literature, visual arts as if they were real possibilities.
The immediate effect of being a Native Creative and telling our stories is that Native people can get;
  • Joy of recognition of seeing others like themselves being reflected on the big, small , mobile screens.
  • Pride in hearing their native tongue, maybe for the first time being broadcast on the web, airwaves.
  • Happiness in viewing their cultural ‘norms’ and language  portrayed in the theatre
  • Excitement in native language music broadcast as popular culture
  • Understanding that some-one who looks, talks, lives and has lived just like them is a Creative and it is possible for them to be one too.

Being a Native Creative at Xmas is recognising and being confident that  through our story lens  we can envision a hope for all of us. And that is enough to eventually change the whole universe!

Ka whawhai tonu matou ake, ake, ake!

2015 IMAGES: Clockwise bottom L – R Mika Haka presents his short film Taniwha at ImagineNative Film Festival Toronto Canada, Māoriland Festival, Otaki, Dr Leonie Pihama San Francisco USA, Author Whetu Fala with Rena Owen Hollywood Los Angeles, Wiremu Davis & Tina Cook film Premiere Paramount Theatre Wellington, Māori elder actors panel Wellington.


When Cynthia Lickers-Sage – one of the founders of ImagineNATIVE attended a Te Manu Aute hui at Tapu Te Ranga marae in Island Bay, circa 1995-ish she announced she would start a native film festival. Lynette Crawford Williams reminded me of this moment recently!
Sixteen years after the first festival began and after three films I’ve been involved with have screened there, I’m going to see Cynthia’s dream come true. And what a dream it’s become, now the largest international native film festival it has thru programming, goodwill and sheer hard work, carved it’s way into an enviable position as native film festivals finest. Thanks to Jason Ryle, Executive Director and Marcia Nickerson Chairman of ImagineNATIVE board for coming to Aōtearoa to meet with us face to face and for the gracious invitation.
Ka mau te wehi!