How to Perform 101

By Hana Pera Aoake

Dad always buys me plunger coffee when I come home. As a child we never could afford such things. An ex boyfriend who is rich and whose skin glistens like melting snow buys me a chemex. He teaches me about “real coffee” and quince paste. He has never had instant coffee in his life. He shows me things I’ve never had. He spends $55 on hand cream and I find it shocking. It feels like assimilation, but traversing class and race. Erasure. I refuse my Dad’s instant coffee and he seems so hurt. I get home and buy instant coffee and cream and save $6. I am not white think about Dad as a child walking to school with no shoes. I think of this proud man  I drink instant coffee from now on.

 

1.

There are no real systems in place to deal with waste or to encourage the individual to participate in understanding processes for recycling. The pacific is literally drowning while the motherlands remain wealthy and continue to pollute and pillage. The colonies struggle. What are the consequences for the motherland?

 

2.

Keep thinking

Aotearoa was not “discovered” by Abel Tasman. Māori had been there 800 years earlier. I know nothing except images romanticised in films of cheese, windmills, tulips, bicycles, clogs, and Abel Tasman. “We all arrived on boats.” As though my ties to place are not embedded into the whenua of this land.

 

3.

Are the waterways as polluted as the ones in clean green Aotearoa? Dead bodies floating through the river Thames. Brown flowing slush water of the Amstel river.

 

4.

I tried to grow plants when u left / they died

Traversing over waters just like my tupuna

Time zones

Always learning and exploring / u could never keep up

 

5.

men on tinder call me exotic / a Disney princess / pretty in pink / crashing a bike

My European getaway  Clown face / makeup smudged

 

6.

Bats in Australia who died from their brains exploding, or rather boiling to death.

All the pacific shrinking until it’s completely swallowed / the ‘motherlands’

In London on Waitangi day, do any of them even know what their ancestors did to us?

Crying in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant

The British hate emotionality.

The waiter is so uncomfortable.

I buy mac and cheese and think of all my boyfriends

and their comfortable, ordinary childhoods

I don’t even want to be Pākehā or Māori anymore. I just want to be downloaded on to a portable disk.

 

7.

The pit on the urupa with all the piles of bodies

Infected with smallpox

Infected with whiteness

The trauma of the war in Europe is present

Gold plaques for all the Jewish bodies killed and taken.

A busted wound

Like colonialism but more visible

Where are our golden plaques?

 

8.

The google art and culture app that gives virtual tours of exhibitions via google earth and matches your face to a portrait from museum collections from around the world.

Every match I get feels like an attempt at racial profiling

An exotic Polynesian princess / olive skin / maybe even Italian

A Dutchman shakes my hand and says, “I thought you died out or is that aboriginals in Australia?” I think of crying. No matter what we survived. We exist.You will not erase us.

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