• Chantel Matthews

Morning Pages

I had a little epiphany this morning after last night’s Va Moana Kai Kōrero session I attended last night hosted by Laynes, guest speaker Marina McCartney discussed cultural themes including inbetweeness, disconnection, desire to belong, alienation etc being someone who is half-caste and not able to speak her native tongue fluently.  She talked of one of her methods within her creative practice was ‘meditation’ she calls it which she described as channelling her ancestors from the other side for direction, support etc, similar to my experiences yet I didn’t know this could be an actual method which her supervisors have said it is.  She had a list to belong which was about 16 things on her list like, learn the language, get a malu, etc to make her feel more Samoan, her title of her work is “The Return” It made me think about our last conversation given my friend Misty who I interpret our conversation to mean, you don’t need to belong because being is and maybe believing that my being is enough, is enough. 

I talked to Marina afterwards about “the Return” being in English and does that contradict the thing she is trying to do and did we ever leave? We also talked about the idea that it is easy for people that grew up fluent in their native tongue and growing up with cultural traditions to say that just being is enough but harder to believe for ones like us. 

My epiphany this morning was that Marina discussed in-betweeness from a diasporic view due to colonisation and identity between her pakeha and samoan side where as I like to think my research NOW 😊is exploring in-betweeness from a me and te ao māori world, this world and that world ie through ancestral whakapapa, through nature and self, nurture and self and how this operates relationally with time/space/wāhine collectively.

Not from a diaspora, or colonised view as I realise that will naturally have a place and position but not a focal point for me.

Anyways, you both are amazing.  Thank you for hanging in there with me this far.  I did have a brief catch up with James as well last week and he threw a spanner in the works around Paint Efflorescence (when water hits concrete over a slow period) as I still want to make a bench seat for some reason but not to sit on… tbc but he mentioned how the seat would turn to salt over a period of time which relates to my exploration of moana being something that is connecting strongly through this process. 

I might try to make a test bench seat from a mixture of the ceramic cups and concrete (as the seat operates at a domestic level) but also this idea of waiting to be sat on much like a cup of tea waiting to be drank, the cups no longer serving, a seat that can’t be sat on, this burden of the gift, give and take thoughts… and seeing if I can make the surface turn to salt over a period of time which then could be put back into the moana?

Lots to think about.

Marina McCartney is a PhD Candidate, Vice Chancellor's Doctoral Scholar and award-winning filmmaker with films featuring in numerous festivals, including Palm Springs ShortFest, NZ's Best Shirt Film in the NZ International Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE, Hawai'i International Film Festival and the NZ Script Writer Awards. Her film Vai, an award-winning portmanteau feature film made with 8 Pacific female writers and directors, opened at the 2018 Berlinale, and has screened at many festivals including SXSW, Edinburgh Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival.

Marina's PhD research is titled “The Return: Moana Films and the Re-imaging of Belonging in the Diaspora”, will reflect on the first half of her PhD project and the journey of finding oneself through and within your research. 

Vā Moana Kai Kōrero

Thursday 29th Oct, from 4.30-7 p.m. 

WE 303 and Gallery III (same level WE reception, ST Pauls St) 


The Vā Moana Kai Kōrero sessions are a chance for us to come together and share food while getting to know each other and learning about each other’s research and industry or community experience. It’s also an opportunity to seek support for any forthcoming exhibitions or thesis/exegesis writing that is due. 

This month we are lucky to have two exciting presenters – PhD Candidate Marina McCartney and Professor of Architecture (Māori) University of Auckland - Dr Anthony Hoete (Ngāti Awa).