Wayfinding and Wayfinders by Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i


Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i reads her own poem Wayfinding and Wayfinders, written in response to the exhibition Te Wheke: Pathways across Oceania at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

John Pule Not of This Time (Dreamland)
Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū; purchased 2019

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My ancestors voyaged across an ocean:

One third of the earth; One blue highway; One Sea of Islands*

Navigating mindful memories, apprenticed to the wind, the swells and the heavens.

And so, I am born a daughter to this legacy, the house of the foaming ocean,

Scientific genius transferred to each generation

Until wooden desks and blackboards replaced our canoes

Yet tomorrow those same stars will rise

To new eyes and minds seeking solutions

And design-thinking models in Wayfinding philosophies.


A way that teaches see the island, leave your Thomas doubts behind

To know yourself, your knowledge and your skills, the abundance and the lack;

To know your crew, both present and future, to uplift and guide;

To read the cultural, political and economic weather; feel the environmental pulse;

To know you cannot control the wind, only which way your canoe is facing;

To learn life is a multiple tack; that A to B only exists in the English alphabet;

And once, you are provisioned, pull up the anchor, choose courage over fear,

Feel the wind on your face; submit to the journey, to the island in your heart.

Realise that earth and home, friendship and love

Make a more certain compass than north and south, east and west.