My physical being landed in the Central Coast of NSW 21 years ago. A proud descendant of Māori (Ngāpuhi/Tainui) and Samoan lineage – Hāwhe-kāehe with European-English blood thrown in the mix. Spiritually entwined with Hokianga and Waikato in the Motherland of Aotearoa, whilst walking the land of the Gadigal people, I often do receive the question of “Where are you from?”. My glowing olive skin, rippled with island melanin must present confusing to some in Australia. Perhaps it’s the infusion of brown skin and gender fluidity, that stands out to them. Perhaps it’s because my head is always held high.
I proudly respond with by telling them about my upbringing of an Australian (Eora/Sydney) lifestyle, with a solid foundation of Māori culture riveting through our Whanau. We were raised to know where we come from, no matter where we are. This was implemented to sustain the importance of grounding the mind when life’s paths inevitably try to take control. Remembering the spiritual awakening every aspect of myself experiences when in Aotearoa.
Progression has somewhat been present within Australia’s understanding and acceptance for culturally ethnic and LGBTQI+ identifying people, but the room for improvement is still large… The last time I was asked “Where Are You From?”, it was in referral to where I live in Sydney – of course with confusion, trying to guess the belonging of my creative expression in my outfit and where that would be acceptable. This was delivered through a basic, restricted mind set – making it evident in the difference of understanding.
I experience a daily difference between the cis-normative perspective and myself. The difference is also the joy of being unique. Diversity remains alive when belief is imminent. And beliefs are the seeds that were planted in the palms of my hands by my Tūpuna. Intentionally used to guide me. Intentionally used for survival, strength and love.
I have and will always hold my head proud and focused. I carry the powerful roots of my culture every moment through every life experience. I flow with the Moana through my bones and identity, I am the Moana.
I am Jamaica Moana.
I’m a Rapper • Artist • Writer
I’m a proud Māori-Samoan-English Hāwhe-kāehe, physically experiencing life in Australia while culturally replenishing my being in Aotearoa.