Kia ora koutou,
Welcome to Term Three. I hope you enjoyed the school holidays. The third term is always a big one – it is cold and wet and there is lots of work to be done so I hope you find some nice opportunities to curl up somewhere warm and cosy with Toitoi 20. It is really fantastic and I can’t wait for you to see it.
I am sorry it has been so long since my last blog. I have had a difficult few weeks as my dad died. He was an incredible person – curious, courageous and, while he was not an artist or a writer, he was a man of great imagination. He believed in dreaming big and working hard. I miss him so much. I am not quite sure how I am going to live the rest of my life without him.
One of the things I do when I feel lost is I go to the books. I am a reader first and foremost and reading is how I navigate life. I want to understand what other people are grappling with underneath the surface and learn about how they have coped and reacted when sad things have happened to them. In the weeks after Dad died, I picked up lots of books and put many of them down again. But I also picked up some Toitois and found some amazing, empathetic and compassionate writing and art that struck me deeply.
One of the pieces I rediscovered was Paper Birds by Rosie Meyer from Toitoi 4 with beautiful art by Isla Bremner. It is a loving description of the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson and the importance of tradition and inheritance. I also really admired Natahlia Miller’s description of her grandad from Toitoi 15. It is made even more special by the incredible portrait by Tiria Carney. My Grandfather in India, a gentle poem by Niya Kochakkan about her mother flying halfway around the world to be with her father, really made me think of how I would do anything for my dad too.
So, I want to say an enormous thank you to all of you who write from the heart and have the courage to send it to me. Being creative is a very powerful act. It gives us the opportunity to make unexpected connections and to feel heard and understood.