Hariata Tanetinorau Rangi

The Guerrilla Collection ran a Poetry/Spoken Word Competition calling all young creatives to write/record a 1-2 minute long poem/spoken word piece based on the theme - "IDENTITY".

Hariata Tanetinorau Rangi was one of 3 winners for the 2022 Poetry/Spoken Word Competition.

Kia ora e te whanau,

My name is Hari, I’m 18 and in my final year at Papakura High School. I am also the outreach and community engagement manager at a youth performing arts centre based in the 298 - South of the South.

I hail from the mighty King Country from a small town called Waitomo.

I really like poetry because it gives you an opportunity to say the things that are often too heavy to hold and then push that into the universe. Right now I'm in the process of finding myself, and developing as an individual, whilst also trying to hold on to my roots and those who came before me so this was a big inspiration for this piece..

Film Credits

Brydie Colquhoun

Rodney Tyrell

By Hariata Tanetinorau Rangi

17 years before I was born I was gifted my great grandmothers name,
A kaituhi in her own right,
She was the first secretary of the Maori Women's Welfare League,
Te Roopu Wahine Toko I te ora,
An unsung hero,
At 15 she traveled Aotearoa during the Maori Language prohibition - translating the stories of Te Reo Maori into Te Reo Pakeha with the dream of preserving its heritage,
She's raised 4 generations of mokopuna in the Ratana religion,
Because she knew that there was more to the world than this
and that her mokopuna were destined to live amongst the stars
Over 40 years she housed and fed more than 100 homeless in her two bedroom flat in Tokoroa

Because she has known the burn of the concrete pavement on a cold winters night,
warmed by the heat of her 11 children, all under the age of 14
Living out of the POC church
until she was finally able to get on the benefit
Back then, you were given 60 bucks a fortnight,
a ploy on the government's part
The pay reparations the events of Te Tiriti o Waitangi

During her time working at the Welfare League
She also supported many Pacific Immigrants into becoming New Zealand citizens,
With the knowledge that Papatuanuku will always be home to the children of Kiwa
She passed away 8 years before I was born,
A bridge between Samoa and Aotearoa,
I am the love child she dreamt of to reunite Oceania
I have spent my life trying to live up to the expectations cultivated in her memory,
The whangai mother of my mother,
Five generations of mana wahine,
Stops at me,

The truth is,
this free verse wasn’t about
my Great-Grandmother
Or my longing to honour her 
But rather an excuse to admit that I am scared,
That if I lose my truth
I will lose my only connection to her
I haven't yet told my family that I am transgender,
And that I start testosterone in August 16th
Because how can I be the ancestor my ancestors dreamt of when I can't carry their name in pride,
I chose the name Hauraki as a way of staying close,
My grandmother whakapapa's back to Ngati Paoa,
Meaning even in my transgressions I am trying to grasp pieces of her,
Braid her wairua into my taonga so she remains the closest thing to my heart,
Tell her story in the papers of my poetry journal,
Because my words have woven baskets tighter then that of the harakeke,
So there will alway be somewhere to home my vulnerability,
Hold her hand when I am ready to come out to my family,
Hold her kaha when I am finally ready to say,
Kia ora,
Ko Hauraki toku igoa,
Ko Irawhiti au.

Hi Nanny Charlotte,
My name is Hauraki
and I am your Great-Grandson

For winning the Poetry/Spoken Word Competition Hariata received:

- $500 Prezzy card

- Online mentoring session to develop her poem

- A limited edition The Guerrilla Collection T-Shirt

- Dance film created to her spoken word poem by Black Grace dancer