I was the 8th child in a family of 13 I was bought up in Opape a maori community on the Road to the Eastcoast of the Nth Island. I attended Omarumutu Native School, then Opotiki College. I left school half way through my 2nd year of College, I struggled with school, the invalidation by the school and the teachers, who implemented the system, put in place to assimilate/ integrate maori into main stream. I became interested in writing my story to leave my moko’s, after reading my great grandfathers diary about his journey. Joining the military in England, eventually coming to NZ to fight and take part in the New Zealand land wars. (These wars were classified in our history books as the Maori wars when I was growing up). After reading his diary he came alive for me. I felt I would like to be able to leave my generations with the same sense of me. My story is yet to be finished, a work in progress. I began writing poetry when my husband became terminally ill, to help me overcome emotions it bought up for me and to deal with the deep sense of anger and loss I was feeling. Behind each poem is a story. (eg Whanaungatanga was written when two year Delcia Whitticker was murdered by her stepfather). I needed to write how being Maori was for me, not the negative publicity that was defining Maori through the actions of one man. I have six children, nineteen grandchildren, seven great grandchildren. They are my inspiration and my world.