impactmania's Women of Impact was awarded the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Grant (2019). The U.S. Consulate supported 12 interviews and a week-long events in New Zealand.
When the British came, they brought a treaty with them and we signed it because we liked what it said. It said we were going to remain who we were. We were going to be able to hold our customs and our language. It was all lies.
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.
My first tour overseas as a diplomat, I went back to the very same embassy, standing on the other side of the windows. I knew exactly what applicants went through to get to that window, because my family and I have gone through the same steps. To me, it speaks volumes about a country where we actually believe that America is no longer a white veil.
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.
As part of impactmania’s Women of Impact series, we are traveling to New Zealand in November 2019. A number of the women from the program will meet their peers for cultural exchange and to create economic opportunities and partnerships. The [...]