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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kirtan Yoga with Sri Prahlada @ Yoga in Daily Life Kensignton

we went to this event - it was lovely - this man shone - if you think you can't sing and you think you can't dance then you're right and if you think you can sing and dance without being able to you're right - at some point my chest started vibrating with aum and the sound was me but not made by me - had become a conduit for something that was uniquely me and also part of something else -and in a week that had been about disappointment and conflict and loss the well of sadness I was often tipped into became surrounded by a bigger warmer blanket of happiness - by the time we left everyone was so beautiful - we glowed

I usually use the apparent beauty or ugliness of strangers to judge where I am on the bi-polar spectrum continuum but an evening of kirtan freed me from this - there was just me, us, and the universe of possibility.

Moanaroa Krysia Zagrobelna

Fifi Colston drew my attention to Matariki and I found there's a kapa haka concert/competition in QLD later in the month but no local celebration that I've discovered yet. Now some mornings I take my putorino down to Coogee for dawn but when I think about doing it this Sunday - ie 24 hours away - all I can think of is that two of the people who got it for me are dead.

And this Saturday was the unveiling for one of them in Petone. And her sister suggested I write something to be read out at the unveiling. And I all I can think of doing is screaming out "I wish you were'nt dead" which might sound better in Te Reo but still doesn't need to be said. And I don't want to think remember hearing father at the Tangi crying in the rain and saying over and over "this is wrong - you shouldn't bury your children". And he is right - it is wrong. And the sheer bloody wrongness of it all tears at me.

And the madness of it all, and the memories of her, and her family, and where we worked, and parties, and a clever little daughter - and finding her again via the net 17 years after we last spoke and emailing her new work place to find she'd died the week before, on holiday in Malaysia, after cut-price cosmetic surgery and a whole world of wrongness opened up to me then.

I realised too late that I've been thinking that the unveiling was planned for Sunday. I sent my message to Ewa too late - about the time she would have been heading to the urupa arther than the day before. This is what Ewa might have read:

"I miss Krysia.
When I met her and soon afterwards Moanaroa and Eddie and Ewa and Keri-Mei I was very lost.
I'd talked myself into a job I couldn't really do properly at the Shop at the National Museum.
I was Krysia's boss.
Yeah right!
While I wandered around for three years
pretty much not being able to find my butt without using both hands
Krysia ran the Museum Shop,
and me,
and bought up Keri-Mei,
was a daughter
a sister
a friend
and did all the many other things that she is loved for.
When Taonga Maori opened at the museum Alan Baker the Director was sidelined by a mob of new middle managers
- he was a marine biologist and out of his depth amongst sharks in three piece suits.
He gave a brief speech and as it finished a quiet mumbled waiata began in Kiwi-reo
and then from the kitchen came this huge voice and through the entrance came Krysia
- like a yacht in full sail
- and she sang and strode towards the Director
- and everyone who knew the waiata joined in behind her
- and everyone who respected, Alan, the Museum and the taonga also joined in
- and suddenly this awkward Department of Internal Affairs off the shelf - paint by numbers powhiri became magnificent.
The Museum became magnificent,
Alan Baker became magnificent,
the air was electric with the staffs' respect for Alan,
words like aroha and tautoko became feelings not ideas
and the world was a better place.
Krysia knew that what was happening was wrong and she stepped out to change it
- not caring about how others reacted.
And we all got behind her
so pleased
and so proud to be part of what she'd started.
When Ewa suggested she could read out some words from me all I could think was:
"I wish you weren't dead - this is wrong"
but now I'm also thinking
"Krysia you were always beautiful,
you were often so strong,
you often knew what was right
and what was good
and you made a difference to the people around you.
and you made a difference for the people around you.
The world is a better place
because of who you were
who you are
And I am a better person
because of who you were
who you are
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you""

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Go West

I've been spending a lot of time at Parramatta lately working on our PCAI shop across Church Street from St John's church - in the Connections Arcade. Nearly there despite some road blocks both human and practical.

We're hoping eventually to build our studio/workshop at a site across the river from Rangihou Reserve. This park was recently renamed to recognise links going back to 1814 when the first CMS settlement was established at Oihi or Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands.

Marsden's Maori Seminary (also named Rangihu) was located here. It's sometimes described as New Zealand's first school and New Zealand's first brickmakers were trained here. Young Maori men, the sons of chiefs, were trained in a range of mechanical arts. This could be seen as Marsden spreading his version of the Word through demonstrating superior technology or more simply as the holding of hostages to ensure the safety of the CMS personnel in New Zealand. Typically Marsden assumed a superiority of intelligence and ability to strategise that was to later see many British soldiers and carpetbaggers fall in to traps in New Zealand. As Marsden went about gathering his Maori flock iwi acquired tame Missionaries for the access to guns, iron and other European goods that came along with the CMS settlements. I think more Pakeha-Maori were converted to heathen ways than Maori people were converted to Marsden's version of Christianity. It was clear early on who were the more sophisticated and who were the more naive.

I always get lost in Parramatta - I don't know where or what the landmarks are and my inability to relate what's around me to maps I've seen leads to chaos. I get lost finding the Westfield carpark, I get lost in the Westfield carpark, I get lost in Westfield and can't find my way out or my way back to the right floor of the right carpark.

A state of irritated frustration. of being lost, out of my depth helps me blend in with the locals as I make my way to the Connection Arcade.

On Friday I got lost driving back to Sydney. Just where I was expecting Jame Ruse Drive I found a suburb I'd never been in before. I stopped realising I needed sustenance and saw ahead of me the Tres Bien Fresh Coffee and Nuts Shop in Good Street. Call me a gubba or a skip if you like but I saw the name and thought "That's French - it must be Vietnamese - I'll get some rice paper rolls".

Turns out I'd found a very good Lebanese grocery store quite by chance. It looked good and smelled better, and the people working there or just dropping in were funny, friendly and helpful. 600 ml of Al-Rabih pomegranate molasse for $6.80!!!!! A 1.9kg jar of gherkins, a can of houmos, and one of okra in brine, foodie heaven at local prices.

I started off back to the big stinky eating sweets as I drove and almost turned the car around at 90kmh they were so good. There was a roll with apricot paste around it that was almost to die for at high speed on the M4.

The next day I was talking to the people who run the new local coffee bar. They're Lebanese and I could sense them struggle not to laugh out loud or seem patronising as I described my exotic adventures in Granville. They used to be amazed to see Australians buying groceries in single items, two apples, one banana, a can of tomatoes etc they always bought in bulk. At the moment buying bananas in bulk seems an act of stupidity - or showing off at $A14.99 a kg (or $A11.99 at Parramatta!).

When I was at Tres Bien the owner was negotiating the purchase of something - dried goods, fruit, spices, I don't know what but he settled for an order of a ton of it/them if the price stayed at $6.

Sometimes having no sense of direction and getting lost is a good thing.