Poetry as Note Taking – He Manawa Whenua

The He Manawa Whenua Indignous Education Conference was my first experience in participating in a conference with translation. I think it’s a really interesting concept and I noticed that my notes looked more like poetry as a way to make sense of translations that were then re-translated, ear to brain to hand.

One of the keynotes, Professor Pon Teinara spoke only in Maori and he shared his mo’olelo of growing up in the bush. I found him to be so profound,  and I wish I could have understood him in his own language. Lost in translation.

hale He showed us a picture of his parents, beautiful, young rebels who set out to live a different lifestyle. To move away from the city and live out in the bush. This is not them. This is a hale from the Bishop Museum, but it gets the point across.

Wisdom is the daughter of experience (Da Vinci)

The house is telling us stories

of the old world.

Some may think it’s a picture of poverty

Of lack

and want

but it is a search for knowledge

in a world of silence

not noise.

We went to the bush to be free

How free do you wish to be?

What are you willing to do for this freedom?

What can you give up?

Do not ask senseless questions.

Sometimes the academic mind can trouble you.

I will give you everything I know

but the world waits for you

there is new knowledge out there

come out of the mist

come into the light

do not stay in the past

great knowledge has come from there

but you cannot stay

create new knowledge

to live in the world of now.


Who will fill your shoes?

Why would I want to wear someone’s old shoes?

You get the knowledge

but you may also inherit the unpleasant smells

Let us not sit in the shadows of our teachers.

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