Heavy messages hit home in slam poetry

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The slam poetry group from Ngā Puna o Waiorea have taken out the WORD - The Front Line slam poetry competition.

The crew of four is striving to raise awareness among youth through slam poetry.

Te Rina Wichman-Evans (NgāPuhi, Ngāti Whātua) says the aim is “for Māori youth to hear what we have to say because most of the youth aren't aware of the problems here in Aotearoa.”

The young women say that spoken word poetry gives them a platform to speak boldly about heavy issues.

Arihia Hall (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Tūkorehe) says, “The second one is about Māori youth and our own challenges.  The third is about infants, child abuse and the oppression of women.

After taking out the WORD - The Front Line competition, they're now on their way to the trans-Tasman Slam Poetry Competition in Australia to face-off against the WORD - The Front Line champion team from Melbourne.

Matariki Bennett (Te Arawa) says, “Perhaps through our words we can empower them to speak out about their own injustice as native indigenous people in another land.”

This group of young women have grown close through their journey and shared experiences.  This is one of their winning spoken word poems which speaks about the loss of their elders.

Manaia Tuwhare-Hoani (NgāPuhi, Ngāti Wai) says, “I spoke with my grandfather last night, he said my great-grandfather Hone (Tuwhare) would be proud.”

The group are now raising funds to make the journey across the ditch for the trans-Tasman duel in December.