Marina Alefosio performs at the Dawn Raids Apology (Image: Screenshot)
Marina Alefosio performs at the Dawn Raids Apology (Image: Screenshot)

BooksAugust 5, 2021

Raiding the dawn

Marina Alefosio performs at the Dawn Raids Apology (Image: Screenshot)
Marina Alefosio performs at the Dawn Raids Apology (Image: Screenshot)

A spoken word poem by Marina Alefosio.

Who is worthy of the first light?

The break of day?

A new beginning?

If our value is measured by the pigment of our skin or the origin of our story – who gets to decide how that story is analysed? Captured in text? Bound in history books? And resold to generations and generations?

Citizenship is a process, but people are not products.

Our value is not in the factory hand gripping the pen, signing the immigration paper, breaking the border or picking up the new language.

We broke borders with broken accents to break the chains of fear, a fear of the future.

We worked and we work in these factories, these systems with values seamed into our pockets, written in the tablets of our hearts with joy because we had the future in our foresight.

We signed the papers with the faith of tomorrow.

And we woke up

And we wake up everyday with the promise of that first light for our children, our grandchildren, the children of our neighbours, of our hosts, our brothers and sisters – tangata whenua.

The livelihood of a nation is found in our waking.

So when the dark moved in and the light moved out and we were faced with another separation, we became like soil – marred by the dirt written and campaigned about us – stigmatised for daring to dream – daring to voyage – daring to wake up next to our loved ones.

Again citizenship is a process, but families are not products.

So when our dawn was raided and the blue hues and the red hues came in and that palette in the sky was shaken by the sounds of cracked eyes, heart palpitations, a brother hidden there, a pregnant woman waiting in the cells over there with no milk to feed her child, a cousin looking for coins to call his family to tell them he was found out and waiting at the departure gate, ready to go back while the Papa hiding in the room praying,

We went back to those values seamed in our pockets, pulled out our roots and remembered who were were

And we went back to work, we went back to serve, to do the thing that we came here to do

And if you ever measured our value by our service, you would be amazed at the stars you cannot count like the nations Abraham in the Old Testament could not account for with his human eyes or his servant heart

Who is worthy of a quality life?

Who gets to determine what that looks like?

Let it be known that healing is a process and forgiveness is not a product – it’s a promise.

We are looking for a true Genesis

Standing at the arrival gates,

Taking back our dawn

Handing it down to our descendants

Along with our values

Our servanthood leadership

Warm housing

A higher education

Life abundant

Village on the hills

Valleys no longer drying us up

Of our Moana

We are all worthy of that first light

We are all worthy of that first light

We are all worthy of that first light!

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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