I often think about the fact that fourteen of the sixteen last remaining official colonies in the world - which are all a part of the United Nations Decolonisation List - are islands located in the Atlantic, Carribean or the Pacific. The island from which I come from is Te Ika-aa-Maaui, or the North Island in the settler colony of New Zealand. My tuupuna travelled across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa 700 years ago following Maahutonga , the southern cross. The great ocean was deed the name ‘Pacific’ by the Spanish coloniser Magellan describing it as, “making or desiring to make peace; peaceable, desiring to be at peace, free from the disposition to quarrel; peaceful, in a state of peace.”
In this text I engage with a number of the works for Issue 24 of Runway Journal, which is centered around Islands. I wish to expand upon questions and ideas raised within Islands and hopefully fill in some gaps I feel should be addressed, as well as unpack the editorial by Jasmine Powell. My intention is to write with urgency, to unpick our relation not to islands but to the water that surrounds them.
Maybe it’s time we actually did work that focused upon better ways of sharing the world, rather than making work that does not quite do enough to give agency to those who are affected and those whose activist work is on the front line.
I often think about the different ways in which we share the world with others, as an Indigenous person this is a distinct way of viewing the world and of “being”. Growing up online I have always been interested in the parallels between the Pacific and the internet being a giant wheke (octopus). Both are a giant body connected by the ocean. While watching Pacific Island Life Record(ing)s by Lucinda Dayhew (2014) in the Islands issue I thought about the ways in which we share parts of ourselves online and the way in which images become commodified. The video consists of Dayhew screen recording her research of ‘Pacific Islands’, ‘Island Life’ etc. It also had videos of the artist from photobooth dispersed throughout. A lot of personal details about the artist, including advertisements on Facebook are blurred. It feels personal yet impersonal. While watching this I remembered how in Europe people responded to me being from the Pacific with this idea of it being a tropical paradise filled with Hobbits. When I google ‘The Pacific’ an image of Denarau Island comes up. Denarau Island is a fake island off the coast of Fiji, known for its luxury hotels, golf course, and resorts. It was developed using land ‘purchased’ in 1969 by an American developer.
 Please refer to Nourin Binte Saeed’s Colonial Representation in Robinson Crusoe, Heart of Darkness and A Passage to India, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/61803058.pdf
 Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War. Semiotext(e): LA, California, 2010, 124
 Amita Kippalani “How to be” in ARTSPACE 25: Every cloud has a silver lining, ed . Caterina Riva. Everbest printing company: China, 2012, 19
 Shaun Wilson, Research is Ceremony:Indigenous Research Methods. Fernwood Publishing: Canada, 2008, 15 Guterres, António, ‘Climate change, natural disasters and human displacement: UNHCR Legal and Protection Policy Research Series, August, 2009 http://www.unhcr.org/4901e81a4.html (accessed 18/6/13)
 Jackie Wang, Oceanic Feeling and Communist Affect. Riga Biennale, https://rigabiennial.com/en/riboca-2/programme/event-dreams-jackie-wang?dm_i=56G9,AC2W,32JF2X,160IB,1
 Greg Dvorak, “S/pacific Islands: Some Reflections on Identity and Art in Contemporary Oceania”, E-Flux, Journal #112 - October 2020, https://www.e-flux.com/journal/112/352069/s-pacific-islands-some-reflections-on-identity-and-art-in-contemporary-oceania/
 Phillips, A.A. The Cultural Cringe, Meanjin, 1950. In Powell, Jasmine. Editorial, Runway Journal Issue 24: Islands.
 Bevacqua, Michael Lujan. Their/our sea of islands: Epeli Hau'ofa and Frantz Fanon [online]. LiNQ, Vol. 37, Dec 2010: 80-92. Availability: <https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=201103902;res=IELAPA> ISSN: 0817-458X. [cited 17 Nov 20], 81
 Hau' ofa, Epeli. We Are the Ocean, Selected Works. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008, 28
Hana Pera Aoake (Ngaati Mahuta, Ngaati Hinerangi, Tainui/Waikato) is an artist and writer based on stolen Kaai Tahu, Waitaha and Kaati Mamoe whenua in Waikaouti, in the settler colony, New Zealand. Hana co-runs Kei te pai press, has edited a number of other journals like Tupuranga and founded the now defunct art collective, Fresh and Fruity. Hana has published and co-published a number of different essays and prose, including on Granta, Overland, Un Magazine, Running Dog, and the ACC-CCA. Hana just published their first book, A bathful of kawakawa and hot water with Compound Press. Hana enjoys defacing colonial property, eating kaimoana, collecting junk and swimming.
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