Who are you, where are you: Hana Pera Aoake

Hana Pera Aoake is the curator of Fresh and Fruity and writer/artist in digital residence with Lokal Stories alongside Jordana Bragg during July to October 2016. This interview between Sophie and Hana marks the end of the project’s research and the beginning of the physical creation phase.


Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 14.23.53

Photograph by Sophie Giblin, Lokal Stories

Who are you?

I still haven’t really figured that out yet. I’m a māori and pākehā woman living in Aotearoa who is desperately trying to decolonize my brain.

Where are you?
I’m in the reading room at Artspace using their space to work in. Love u artspace xo I love u Karangahape road xo.

What are you thinking?
I’m thinking about gentrification as a form of colonisation. I’m thinking about how there aren’t enough resources on the dawn raids. I’m thinking about Karangahape road and whether i’m complicit in the current iteration of gentrification. I think I am. I’m thinking about gentrification and globalisation. I’ve been thinking about how the president of Taiwan apologised to the indigenous people, but didn’t offer any tangible solutions like reparations. What does an apology do? The Taiwanese president has indigenous ancestors but it just feels like political performance.

What scares you?
I’m really scared by what’s happening in the world. It’s terrifying. I’m scared of my family dying or being hurt in any way. I’m afraid of heights. I’m afraid of not being loved or not having romantic intimacy again. I’m afraid of social climbers.

How can we practice self care?
I think doing simple kind things for yourself like remembering to drink water, reading something that’s interesting, listening to Mariah Carey and eating are my main ones. Trying to get more sleep. Showering. I think exercise helps even if u just go for a walk outside. Basic things that are so much easier to suggest, but can be such a struggle to actually do.

What does digital togetherness mean to you?
Finding and offering solidarity with other people in safe online spaces. I also like the idea of having critical or intellectual  intimacy online. I have friend in Berlin who I email and message online who I’ve never met IRL and being able to learn from them and speak to them freely is really relieving and supportive for me.

How can we be a good ally online?
Being able to acknowledge your positionality and learning when to shut the fuck up and listen. Recognising that we are all unlearning, so it’s important to be patient, check yourself and have empathy.

What does the ocean and water mean to you?
The ocean makes me think about the internet. I think about my ancestors migration across the pacific following the stars. I think about our geographical isolation. Water makes me think of swimming, of rhythm, meditation and of drowning.

How does this collaboration feel?
Very natural and organic

What do you want to do next?
Right now? I need to have a cigarette.

What will you take on our digital-less retreat?
Lots of books, thermals, toilet paper, percolator, toiletries, tinned food, cooker, cooking supplies, paper, pens, water, wine, cigarettes, togs, towel, blankets, my medications and a pillow.

What do you want to achieve during this collaboration?
Personally I would like to having a better knowledge of tikanga, how to self care and position myself and to feel more connected to Te Whanganui-a-Tara as a community both IRL and URL. I want to use this opportunity to learn and unlearn. I want to be a better listener. I want to amplify critical voices and to give space to people with less privilege than me. I want to empower others and empower myself. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Jordana in this way so I want to work with her and create work that challenges us and subverts hierarchies of power.

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