Pasifika (migrants and their descendants originating from Pacific island groups such as Fiji, Sāmoa, Tonga as just some examples) poets in Aotearoa-New Zealand are increasingly audible and visible, which is a reflection of a rapid Pasifika population increase in the country; indeed the percentage of Pasifika youth under the age of 25, at 60% of overall Pasifika population, is the highest in the country. More, Pasifika poets are standing up to be counted, proudly proclaiming their Pacific islands heritage in a country, Aotearoa-New Zealand, which ironically does not seem to ever equate itself as a Pacific island, which of course it is, as Leilani Tamu points out later.
In te ao Māori [the world of the Māori] everything is intensely interrelated, which is why all of these conversations-commentaries keep on interconnecting. So when Alison Wong writes about Pauatahanui, it segues into what I wanted to write next. It was once the home of a poet who is mainstream, but has never been any favourite of this country’s academic mainstream.
I noted in the last conversation-commentary that Alison Wong had had a few pragmatic issues to deal with, including a major house shift and subsequent loss of internet connection for a time. Indeed she has since sent me material via the library!
So let's continue our conversation about Kiwi-Asian poetry...Alison Wong comes in and it is a pleasure to talk to her, for she has been a significant New Zealand author and poet for quite some time now and was also a Robert Burns Fellow.