Poet shares what's good in her 'hood'

BY LAURA MACDONALD
Last updated 11:20 28/05/2013
28-KPNspeaking2WEB

SPEAKING UP: Victoria University student Moe Nainai is using spoken word poetry to try and change the negative image of Porirua.

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A 21-year-old student has become a bit of a local legend, after a video of her reciting a poem about Porirua ended up online.

Moe Nainai, from Waitangirua, read her poem What's in a name at a Pacific Inspirational night at Victoria University recently.

She wrote it in response to negative things people said about her town when she first made the transition from Porirua to university life.

"It was only a 20-minute train ride but it was a whole different world.

"I encountered stereotypes [and] different perspectives that I had been sheltered from my whole life."

She got sick of her town being the subject of jokes and hearing the saying 'only someone from Porirua would do that'.

"I am not going to deny there is a high crime rate but that's a self-decision, not a town's. We have all these positive things around us.

"We have national barbershop champions. We have a rugby club where All Blacks come from. We have Creekfest."

Ms Nainai is studying English literature and theatre and has always loved writing, but this was her first spoken word poem.

"It's like hip-hop but without the music. You have to picture yourself saying it when you write it."

Sitting in her religious class one day, Ms Nainai started writing.

"Instead of writing notes on Jesus Christ, I was writing my poem on Porirua.

"At first it was for myself but in the long run it's for the youth of Porirua and people in town that don't understand the true essence of Porirua."

Ms Nainai says spoken word poetry appeals more to her generation than a written poem would. She finishes university this year, and hopes to become a teacher, as well as writing poetry and screenplays. "I plan to travel, just to see the world but I don't think I could ever leave this place. Porirua will always be home to me."

Search 'original Porirua poem' on YouTube.

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