Response to Sian’s pictures
What if my threads are debris? What if my sacred threads are just debris? Then I am homeless. Then I am spending all my time trying to build shelters for myself. Trying to find places to put my bones. The word iwi means bones.
What if I put flowers on my threads? Explosions of determined blooming are happening here. It cannot be prevented. I am unable to be held down – no matter my threads unknown. No matter my unstructured pepehā. Both fragility and grit go together. These are my karanga. When I stand mate wahine on the paepae (on the border) I am an open thread to the world of te pō. I am walking fearlessly in a place not everyone can go. I can travel to the darkness…and back.
What if I cannot build? What if I cannot make myself stand? What if sticks and stones have broken my bones/my iwi/kōiwi? I have cut my hair in grief. A thousand strands have fallen to the earth and from them grew all of the colours. Flight has wings. My moko kauae. Tāwhirimātea is the unstoppable force of nature who cares not that you disagree, that you dislike. In the topknot. The threads I have dropped are ladders from you to me and from me to you. Hine.
Māwhero came from the first woman. Her cheeks were it. Her breasts were it. Her womb sheltered it. It is te ara, the pathway.
By Anahera Gildea
Anahera Gildea (Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-tonga, Ngāi te Rangi, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa, Kāi Tahu) is a writer, performer and ‘artivist’. She welcomes working with difficult questions and tries to move through her life at the ‘speed of creativity’. Her first book ‘Poroporoākī: Weaving the Via Dolorosa’ was published by Seraph Press in 2016. She holds a BA in Art Theory, graduate diplomas in psychology, teaching and performing arts, and a Masters degree in creative writing from Victoria University.