Nowadays there are a lot of people using words like co-design. I remember when I did my first co-design master class. It was a three-day workshop, and I sort of slipped away. I had to find another Pacific person saying, “Isn’t this just what we do normally, or?” “That's what it is?” I was like, okay! I'm doing okay.
So before my baby’s 21st, I wanted to learn how to weave what Māori called a korowai, which is a traditional figured cloak. They are worn these days in special moments, for instance, graduation from university or a 21st birthday.
It is about the work, and it is about the people. Making documentaries is an ill-advised career really, so your heart better be in it! [Laughs.] It is the lowest budget; it takes ages. Most of the time you are just fishing. You know you are there trying to catch the best shot. You have to really appreciate that privilege.
I will go back to the state of race relations in our country when I was growing up. My mom was acutely aware because of the opinions she heard about Māori. To anybody else, she was a white woman. She overheard a lot of comments.
As a Pacific person we really do move through these spaces or in our career knowing that we are part of a collective. What that means is the notions of our ancestors. For us, we totally use in contemporary life. Those things include what we call Vā. Vā is recognizing the relational space between people and objects. When there is a disturbance, they are Vā for us; we deal with it by saying we make sure that we pick up on those cues.
“The U.S. Consulate is committed to supporting programs that educate and empower women and girls. impactmania’s Women of Impact provides a powerful platform for women to share their stories with their peers and with the public in an effort to celebrate their work and inspire us all. We’re excited to help connect impressive women from the United States and New Zealand and shine a light on their successes.” – Katelyn Choe, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand.
Women of Impact (you) will be hosted by the U.S. Consulate General at her Residence in New Zealand, November 3.