<p>Jacqueline Carter. Photography by Lizzy Leckie.</p>

Jacqueline Carter. Photography by Lizzy Leckie.

Maybe I shouldn’t say this
but Robyn is my favourite

always has been
or at least since my teens
when I first saw her paintings
I don’t remember where exactly

I still have photocopied
and cut out images
of ‘Karanga Karanga’
hanging in my hallway
often looking at them
before going out the doorway
to any hui
or to mahi

I still have ‘Hongi’
which my tuakana gave me
(acrylic on Indian paper
for the art enthusiasts among you)
hanging in my bedroom
trying to remind me
that tāne and wāhine
are meant to respect each other
like Rangi and Papa –
not so much Tāne –
for almost thirty years now
I think I’ve finally learnt that one

I see in her paintings
the faces of our people
the faces of our tūpuna
the faces of our mokopuna
sometimes even my own
which I thank her for

Runner up for me though
would have to be Maureen Lander
one of the first
to experiment with harakeke
showing curators
in galleries like this one
that kete are taonga –
not just craft objects –
and poking fun at the Crown
with her gentle sense of humour



fighting so many battles
on so many unlevel battlefields

Club rooms
various Boardrooms

Whatungarongaro te tangata
Toitū te whenua

People pass away
but the land

Before we pass though
we bequeath to our mokopuna
all that we can
to ensure a better future

Toi Tū Toi Ora

of a better world


On her paternal grandfather’s side, Jacqueline Carter is Ngāi Tūkairangi of Ngāi Te Rangi. On her paternal grandmother’s side, she is Te Patuwai and Ngāi Te Hapū of Ngāti Awa and Waitaha with links to Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Maru and Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu. She is also of English and Irish descent through both of her parents, and of Scottish descent through her paternal grandfather.

She began writing poetry in her late teens and started to become published after doing Witi Ihimaera and Albert Wendt’s Creative Writing course at the University of Auckland in 1997. Publications include the Montana award-winning Whetū Moana and its sequel Mauri Ola (both edited by Robert Sullivan, Albert Wendt and Reina Whaitiri), Ngā Puna Wai Kōrero (edited by Robert Sullivan and Reina Whaitiri) and all editions of Ora Nui (edited by Anton Blank).

She is currently doing Paula Morris’ Master of Creative Writing at the University of Auckland.