Ko Ngongotaha te maunga,
Ko Kaituna te awa,
Ko Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe te roto,
Ko Te Arawa te waka,
Ko Ngatoroirangi te tohunga
Ko Tamatekapua te rangatira,
Ko Te Papaiouru te marae,
Ko Whakaturia te wharekai,
Ko Kauae te urupa,
Ko Ngati Pikiao, ko Ngati Whakaue nga hapu,
Ko Te Arawa te iwi,
Ko Matariki Star Holland Bennett ahau.
Kia ora! As stated in my pepeha above, my name is Matariki Bennett. In the miniscule country of New Zealand, in the even more minuscule city, Auckland, on June 21, 2002, I was born into an eccentric family of creatives.
My mother being a costume designer and writer, and my father, a director and scriptwriter, there has never been a shortage of inspiration in our house. I also have an older sister who is an aspiring artist, and an older brother who is a film composer, two fish, two cats, a dog and a horse. As I said, we are kind of eccentric.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved crafting my own worlds in short stories, scripts and poems and have powered through books like nothing else. Last year I was introduced into the world of spoken word poetry which was the perfect fusion of performance and writing, and I was hooked the moment I performed my first poem. Let me tell you, my first poem was barely a poem – I had taken what I thought a poem looked like, and formed this rhyming, incoherent, cringeworthy mess (I now know that I am not at all a rhymer), however, over the past year that plagiarised voice has grown into my own individual voice.
As a young indigenous woman, I use this voice alongside my slam team of 3 other incredible young Māori women, to unearth issues that face us as rangatahi Māori and as wāhine Māori growing up in this colonial, mostly Pākehā society. I am very passionate about issues revolving around racism, the patriarchy, gender roles, you name it, I probably have something to say about it! But I am very aware of the condescending nature of some activists so I am careful to be open minded about everything and to approach all arguments with the goal of seeing from another perspective and learning something new as opposed to changing the way someone thinks, because I am a strong believer in every individuals’ right to their opinion.
I am so excited to have another platform to express myself on, and am ecstatic to have to opportunity to write blogs about this new series which explores issues that I am so passionate about.
About Matariki Star Holland Bennett
Matariki is a 15 year old Maori & Pakeha student attending Nga Puna o Waiorea School in Auckland city. As well as a writer she is also a poet and has performed her own work at the ‘Auckland Speaks’ National Poetry Day, NZ Poetry Conference and the ‘WORD: The FrontLine’ inter – NZ high school slam poetry competition n 2017.
Like her father the award winning film maker Michael Bennett, she is also an aspiring script writer and penned ‘Huia’ a short film. Matariki is passionate about issues facing young Maori woman, her beliefs and traditions and how these come into conflict with Te Ao Pakeha (the European world). As an active performer who also performs much of what she writes, Matariki will also be linking many of her blogs with her up and coming performances.