I am two halves
and not quite whole

I am stolen land
cloud formations and patterned stars
oceans navigated
taro plantations
and coconut trees grown for each child born

I am farmed land
reared for profit
wood and brick glued together
by wrinkled palms
to make tablecloth homes

I am the answer
when the tall man with coconut skin
and sunset honey eyes
searches for his blood

I am the question mark stare
by the lady with her hands full of persimmons
by the man in the sea of suits
by the teacher who thinks I am Samoan/Māori/aren’t they all the same
when I call the woman with the book paper skin and crushed tomato hair, mum

I am story carved into minds
and breathed into life
by my ancestors
then passed down in the flesh of a coconut

I am story told to people who wander around the clay town
the words are woven together with sheep’s wool
repeated to other townspeople who sound the same
against the backdrop of golden grass
and air that doesn’t move

I am villages
and islands
connected by the sea
the giver of life

I am towns
and cities
connected by stretches of concrete and grey skies
the taker of lives

I am front-page news
people with my skin and hair
their knuckles bruised
foreheads bloody
categorised as either crime or sport

I am in the margin of the newspaper
printed in white ink
breathing in the blank space

I am New Zealand and Tonga
but I am not from here
or there
and certainly not from the woman with the crushed tomato hair.

About the author
Rhegan Tu’akoi identifies as a Tongan Kiwi and recently completed a BA in English and Anthropology. Words have always danced around her mind, but she only ever meant to write for a password-protected document.