Saturday, December 10, 2011

a conference at the marae...






this week i spent three days in auckland. the largest city in new zealand with a population of about 1.5 million, i had been in auckland 11 years before on the carleton college studio art in the south pacific seminar and returning to auckland was a reminder that just 90 minutes north of the university of waikato is a pulsating, vibrant, polynesian city, full of diverse people and creativity, not to mention an abundance of hills.

i was in auckland to attend the expanding documentary conference, where i presented a paper and a story on a panel that included 2 phd students, one from australia and one from the states.

it was my 2nd "academic" conference and i had attended a conference in new york city this summer that had been intense and not as nurturing and supportive as i had initially hoped, though in the end the nyc conference turned out to be great as well!

the auckland university of technology (AUT) hosted the conference and it took place on the marae of AUT. new zealand has some crazy progressive indigenous rights that i'm getting reaquainted with and mos def, this place still has got a long way to go, but it puts the rest of the world to shame. and i think shame would be a good word for it, as colonialisation has usurped the importance of oral cultures and radically altered the way we interact with our world. alas, AUT is built on maori land and an elemental and sacred space on the campus is the marae, a communal maori space. the marae is the building you see but also the green space outside, not pictured, and some surrounding areas.

shoes were taken off every time we all entered the marae and the conference itself began with a welcoming ceremony from a few maori elders including one man who went on about trip he took to new york city and how much he loved it there. i was beaming with pride on the low, until he forgot and asked, "what's that black area?" and i chirped from the side, "Harlem!"

all the carvings in the marae are done by hand and brothers and sisters, many a marae are found all over these two blessed islands dotted with volcanoes in the middle of the pacific ocean...

i linked up with some good peeps, documentary creators and makers and even a sister from south africa who is about to launch a hot method of media making for township documenteurs globally who will be checking out the internet for the first time via their mobile phones, yes i, it be true, our world expands far and wide to forests and fog, and with a camera and video "right in the pocket" as my man felipe says, changing the way we meet peeps and potentially flipping up third world cinema into it's next revolution. information and power is in the hands of the people, let us remember this siempre!

more next level academic and street corner poetics and purpose (sometimes rambling and other times not, to come from Aotearoa and beyond today, tomorrow and par so...

love and health to all...

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