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Here are a few windows to peer through to see into The Poi Room brand - who we are and where we have come from.
I was bought up by my solo mum Angela, in a time when single parenting was not the norm. Mum had linkages to England, Ireland and possibly Portugal. My father’s bloodlines were Maori, Scottish and English.
My mum always said that you could do anything in life if you worked hard for it. She wanted me to be a doctor, but I felt nauseous at the sight of blood and needles, so of course became a lawyer. Growing up, Angela was my number 1 supporter, and I, hers.
My nana and grandad were also a big part of my life growing up. I spent many a weekend at their place in Raumati eating plums and apples off the trees and trying not to fall down the outside long drop. Savaloys, kerosene heaters and gardening are vivid rosy memories.
My Maori nana on my father’s side (Kathleen) had been adopted as a child and was fostered out. She had a bloody difficult life in her early years. She herself had three children and adopted a fourth child.
My memory of Kathleen was with poi. I loved the beating of them, the sound that they made.
The choice of name for our business came from these moments of time…..Now evoking a living business moving, evolving, changing. Our circular logo represents the spinning poi. The Room is the area that holds the business….they are rooms in Newmarket and in Ponsonby to step into…to come into our home and be embraced.
Later on, connections with family members led to a marae visit on the East Coast. We created new bonds and learnt from the elders about the ways of old, the history of the area, and how we all linked together. We slept together in the wharenui, we prepared food, sang waiata, danced, walked up our mountain, swam in our river and exchanged contact details.
Those ties still pull us together today.
Our experiences in life create who we are. They are ongoing. We are on a journey together. We carve our own pathway in life and are the creators of our own future. We can also look back at that history we have chiselled out and decide whether or not we want to remain on the same path or take a plunge and change our ways.
Our family tree, our whakapapa with its branches and veins intertwined are so intricate, they are fascinating. Our history, the verbal stories handed down through the generations, the certificates, the passenger lists, the waka, all provide us with navigation towards the future. Our ongoing journey through life.
Ko Hikurangi te maunga,
Ko Waiapu te awa,
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi,
Ko Te Aitanga a Mate te hapu,
Ko Hiruharama te marae,
Ko Pekama Waiti raua ko Apikara Mangaone oku tipuna,
Ko Melanie-Jane toku ingoa.