The Aotearoa Chronicles: Week One in the "Land of the Long White Cloud"

There are some things I don't question especially when it comes to my life, even with all the heavyness I have no complaints, good and bad it has led me to "Aotearoa", The Land of The Long White Cloud, the place where my grandfather has rest his life, people call it New Zealand.

For a Pacific Islander artist it has been a dream to be here. Ever since I was young I was always on a search for artists, writers, photographers, that looked like me or shared my history. In a America that has been a challenge but I have my tribe of Pacific Islander creators constantly creating.

My first week here, in metaphorical terms is like someone fucking me in the ear with pacific islander art and its not like my head will explode but its like its been saving a piece of my brain for that specifically to get filled to its capacity while Im here.

My first day here we went up to Mt. Eden to so I can learn the geography about Auckland, its not that big a friend told me she walked the whole city in 4 hours. Later that night I went to see a play called "Black Faggot", my new artist friend Leanne (she has become my favorite Mormon) took me. In Aotearoa, anyone who is Pacific Islander is called black because we're not white. Powerful play especially to watch it with Leanne who has such an open mind to gayness even as a devout Mormon. Leanne has been like my new artist mother, showing me around and taking me and my brain to be filled with art, specifically Pacific Islander art. So for the next weeks I'll be dropping you all lines and photos while Im out here. 

Kia ora from Auckland

Plays they need to bring to America, "Black Faggot"

One of my favorite artists, Samoan photographer Greg Semu. One of the first artists to document the Samoan Tautaus

Maori murals of the Wairua, a spirit 

Went to The Gibbs Farm, a crazy farm where a rich guy collects structual pieces of art as well as wild animals roaming. This is sculptor's Anish Kapoor's piece "Disememberment".

First time petting and feeding a giraffe.

Watching the zebras roam about.

Was having a conversation about this artist with a friend, Tanu Gago. Finally seeing his great work widely here in Auckland.

(Read more of Jean Melesaine's Aotearoa Chronicles by clicking here.)

About Jean Melesaine

Jean Melesaine is a queer Samoan community activist, documentary photographer and editor with Silicon Valley De-Bug. 

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