• Chantel Matthews

Kai Kōrero 19/06/20

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

consists of experiences/stories that are mostly unplanned that usually involve other wāhine.These experiences inform my practice as an exchange through experiences with others and how this sharing feeds into object making art practices with concepts of wellbeing as mana wāhine.

Friendaversary at Mexico in Ellerslie. 9 Wāhine attended. $40 per head.

This is our second year celebrating what we call a friendaversary which is a group of Wāhine that span 20 years+ friendship. During dinner we celebrated 3 birthdays that happened during lockdown with a dark chocolate espresso cake made from Mint Cakery.

I did not want to go to this dinner as I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed with the upcoming deadlines. I was already hoha (annoyed) that day, but decided to make an effort. Although I was short and sharp with my conversations, the girls were very supportive, listening to my stresses and reminding me that it's ok to feel low. The conversations started strained but warmed up as the evening went on amongst dish after dish, full belly and flowing margarita's.

I decided to leave early and just as my ride arrived, a friend dropped a bombshell of distressing news of what she had been going through reminding me of why we do these things, so we can check on on everyone's life, to listen and feel heard.

The takeaway for me was when my friend from my Pawarenga trip said her mum told her that mana wāhine has been overused to the point it has lost meaning, screaming, STOP USING MANA WAHINE!!! I stepped back and responded later in a message...

" I was thinking about what Māmā said about mana wahine being overused. I agree, really made consider why I'm using it as a methodology. I think it is to consider it as a way of being, to better understand the self, myself. Not growing up surrounded by mana wāhine or having as a grounding, means I'm just learning it for the first time, your māmā reminded me of why so it has been helpful"

She replied

" I'm glad that my sharing mums thoughts was helpful, cos at the time I realised how much of a downer that could be to hear and I apologise for not explaining that it's not directed at your use. I know you can see the depth of what you are doing.

Given the girls new I was having low evening and stressing about my project their words were encouraging.

" Be uplifted in your mahi with your mana", You have got this! you absolutely have, smash it and don't hesitate to give me a call for anything at all."

Another mate sent me a message.

" Don't doubt what you do because it's authentic, out of the box and takes creativity to a whole different level with your stance as a mana wahine. if you need to offload some thoughts call me anytime."